Why Does a Car Windshield Have Small Black Dots?

You spend many hours and days driving your car each year. You’re undoubtedly aware of its many features. However, did you ever glance at your car’s windshield and notice the small black dots? Do you wonder why they are there? These little black dots aren’t merely decorative, for they serve an important safety function. 

What are the little black dots on a car windshield — aka frits?

Butterfly and small black dots, aka frits, on a car windshield
Frits on a car windshield | Mark Putzer, MotorBiscuit

The small black dots on a car windshield are called frits, which are “black painted enamel that’s baked onto the surface of the glass,” as detailed by Richard Reina, an automotive product training director, in an interview with Travel + Leisure

Reina explained that modern cars have a windshield bonded to the frame. He described how the windshield is “bonded using a strong and long-lasting urethane adhesive, which makes the windshield a structural component of the vehicle’s body.” The frits “provide a secure point of contact between the glass, urethane adhesive, and windshield frame.”

Small black dots, aka frits, on a car windshield
Frits on a car windshield | Mark Putzer, MotorBiscuit

Essentially, the small black dots help keep the windshield in place and prevent it from moving while a car is in motion. Without the frits, the windshield could shake loose and fall out of the frame.

Also, there is an aesthetic element to the design of the frits. They are “baked in a halftone pattern, with smaller dots toward the outside, allowing for a subtle transition to the rest of the glass,” as described by Craig Campbell, an automotive repair expert.

What should I do if the small black dots on a car windshield wear off?

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If the little black dots on your car windshield start to wear off, then you should get them replaced. Campbell said, “Without it, the glass could become loose and fall out of the frame. While this is unlikely to happen, it’s still something that you should be aware of. If you’re unsure of how to replace the dots, you can always take your car to a professional for help.”

Reina seconded those sentiments. He also added that if you don’t know how to replace the frits, then you should take your car to a professional, for it’s not a DIY project. Reina said, “The windshield’s black spots are an important feature, and you shouldn’t try to fix or modify them. The frit keeps your windshield bonded to your vehicle, and without it, your windshield would not properly adhere to your car.”

Do I have to replace a car windshield if the frits wear off?

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If the little black dots wear off, you might not have to replace the entire windshield. However, there are other factors that might necessitate the need for a replacement. This includes cracks in the windshield. Even if there’s only a small crack, you should replace the windshield as soon as possible, for a crack can spread and grow. 

Another thing that could necessitate a windshield replacement is pitting. Also known as sandblasting, pitting is small marks on the windshield. Pitting is the result of repeated exposure to dirt, sand, and dust. Also, snow and hail can cause pitting, which can create a white haze at the edge of a windshield.

Are you unsure about what to do if the small black dots wear off — or the windshield has other issues, such as cracks and pitting? Take your car to a professional for an inspection of the windshield.

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