Those that log serious miles offroad or on the highway will be familiar with the scourge of rock chips. Damaging to not only paint, they'll also do a great job of ruining a windscreen, with small chips often leading to larger cracks in short order. Insurance that pays for regular replacements is one option to deal with the problem. Jeep may be going one better, with MoparInsider reporting rumors the automaker is set to introduce special Gorilla Glass windshields as an option for new Wranglers and Gladiators going forward.
The report states the windshield upgrade will cost $95 on new orders, with an unnamed dealer source quoting an internal order code of "GMA" for the new option. While MoparInsider didn't offer any hard evidence to confirm the reports, the official Mopar site already lists Gorilla Glass windshields as an upgrade part available for existing vehicles. The tougher windshields are not just limited to current-model Wranglers and Gladiators, with Mopar listing parts codes for the 2007-2018 JK Wrangler as well. Given the parts are already available for order through Mopar, it lends credibility to reports that the option will soon be available on new factory-delivered Jeeps.
Gorilla Glass is a trademark of Corning Limited, an American-based high-tech glass manufacturer. The chemically-strengthened glass technology came to prominence with the launch of Apple's original iPhone. The first major application of Gorilla Glass, it allowed users to pocket the smartphone without worrying about the screen picking up scratches from keys or other hard objects.
MoparInsider claim the new windshields will feature a thin inner ply of Gorilla Glass, with a 52% thicker outer ply for further added strength. The aim was to create a windshield better able to resist incidental damage from small rock chips as well as impacts from hail or larger stones, according to the Mopar parts page. The Gorilla Glass parts have actually been available as a post-purchase upgrade for some time, quietly introduced by Mopar in early 2018, according to CNET reports.
It's likely Jeep was trialing the parts through Mopar as a post-sale upgrade before rolling them out as a mainstream option for new vehicles. Notably, the glass was used on the Jeep Wrangler Orange Peelz concept seen earlier this year.
New windscreens purchased for existing vehicles will come with a two year warranty from date of installation. The warranty covers "damage associated with road debris such as pebbles or other small objects which may cause initial damage larger than a US quarter (1 inch/25mm) and less than 3 inches/7.6 cm." Notably, "smaller blemishes, along with the subsequent cracking that may be caused by not repairing them," are not covered. Minor chips that do occur should be attended to promptly by the owner to avoid further damage.
No glass is impervious to attack, of course, as any iPhone owner with a cracked screen will attest. However, the chemically-strengthened glass should hold up better than the stock parts in the field. If the option proves popular, it could just become a unique selling point that Jeep relies on in future.
Got a tip? Let the author know: firstname.lastname@example.org