Why Do Some Car Windshields Have Small Black Dots On Them?


The car is composed of different parts and components that serve different purposes or functions. One of the most underrated car parts that are often overlooked is the windshield, which is the window that is located at the front of the driver and the passenger next to him or her. As the name of the specific car part suggests, the windshield is mainly used to shield the body of the driver and the front passenger from the wind, which can sometimes cause distractions that lead to accidents and injuries.

While windshields are often overlooked by a lot of drivers and car owners, some of them would often notice the black dots and borders that are found at the edge of almost every windshield in vehicles? What are these black dots? And do they actually serve a purpose? Let us find out as we take a look at some details regarding car windshields.

What are the Black Dots Called?

windshield frits

The black dots, as well as the thin black border found next to or on top of it, are called “frits,” and they serve various purposes for windshields, although these purposes are mainly focused on providing durability for the windshields’ edges. The first purpose of frits is that they can help in distributing temperature on the windshield evenly in order to reduce “lensing” or the optical distortion that can often affect how well you can view the road while driving.

The second purpose of having frits on a windshield is to secure the contact point between the edges of the windshield to the front frame of the vehicle. There are adhesives added to the edges of the windshield to make it stick to the car frame, although there are still some gaps between the connection, and with frits, those gaps would be filled up with ceramic paint, which is the material used for frits.

The third purpose of the windshield’s frits can help in making the adhesive between the windshield and the car frame last much longer. The material used to make the frits (ceramic paint or enamel) can help in blocking ultraviolet rays, which can often melt the adhesive (urethane sealant) of the windshield.

So, with frits, you don’t have to worry about the windshield falling out or suddenly detaching itself from the car frame. However, proper maintenance of the windshield and other car parts is still essential in prolonging the lifespan of your vehicle, so make sure to check the frits and the edges of the windshield every now and then to see if it still has a secure connection on the car frame.

The fourth purpose of the frits is that they improve the overall appearance of the windshield. From afar, you would notice that there is a gradient effect found at the edges of the windshield, and for many people, this looks appealing since it creates a perfect transition from the color of the car frame to the windshield.

When Were Frits First Used?

windshield of a car

Before the 1950s, the windshields in vehicles didn’t have frits, so the windshields didn’t really stay long on the car frame for a long time since their adhesive would just wear away or melt quicker compared to modern vehicles today that have windshields that have adhesives that can be lost almost forever. In addition, the adhesive materials used for windshields and other car parts that need to be glued to the car frame don’t look pleasing to the eye, as they would just look like translucent goo that is stuck on the edges of the windshield and other windows.

So, in order to hide the adhesive while also making it more durable, car manufacturers added frits on the edges of the windshield in the 1960s, and these frits are made from ceramic paint that is lightweight but strong. What’s interesting about frits is that they are baked into the window, which means that they are heated in order for them to stay in place on the windshield.

Importance of Frits

The baking process also increases the adhesive strength of the frits, as they won’t be detached from the window easily. The strength of the frits would also help improve the durability of the adhesive beneath it, as the frits serve as the second adhesive or a layer that can protect the inner adhesive of the windshield against the outside elements that can damage it or make it deteriorate faster. The frits are also there to distribute temperature evenly, which would then prevent the glass of the windshield from warping due to excessive heat.

Car manufacturers can choose to just add a solid black border on the edges of the windshield, but they opt not to as the solid black border can reduce how much the driver can see on the road. Instead of solid black borders, car manufacturers just added black dots that are getting smaller as they go further away from the edges of the windshield.

The pattern of the black dots that are gradually getting smaller in size is called the “halftone pattern” and is primarily used to make most of the edges of the windshield to still offer visibility from the perspective of the driver inside the vehicle and on the driver’ seat. Furthermore, the black dots would also be less jarring or distracting to the eye compared to solid black borders.

And these are all the simple things you need to know about the black dots or frits on the windshield of your car. Despite only occupying a small space in the exterior of your vehicle, frits are very important for your windshield, as they can improve the windshield’s resistance against damage caused by various elements found outdoors. So, before you buy any vehicle, make sure that you check if the windshield has frits.

If ever the frits of your car’s windshield are peeled or stripped due to an accident or improper placement, you can easily install a new set of frits by visiting your local automotive service center, which would also offer you checkups and inspections to see if there are damages in other parts of your car.

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