The 7 Most Common Causes of Windshield Damage
Your windshield protects your vehicle’s interior from temperature changes, precipitation, and the effects of traveling at higher speeds. Ideally, this seamless piece of glass would fade to the back of your mind, unnoticed for the most part.
But nothing makes you pay more attention to your windshield than cracks, chips, and other defects. Some of this damage has obvious causes, like a foul ball at your local Little League park, while other causes of windshield flaws are less predictable.
In this blog, we list seven of the most common causes of windshield damage.
1. Car Accidents
When you picture a car accident breaking a windshield, you may imagine an explosion of glass. While extensive breakage can occur, especially during head-on collisions, small cracks often form after minor accidents.
A broken windshield after an accident could mean that the frame is bent, putting excess pressure on the glass, but most accident-related breakage comes from impact alone.
Practice safe driving to minimize your risk of an accident and always have a mechanic check the structural integrity of your windshield after any collision.
2. Extreme Temperatures
Glass expands when warm and contracts when cold. While automotive glass is designed to minimize thermal strain, extreme temperatures over long periods of time may encourage cracks to form in a windshield.
Your windshield may also be at higher risk for developing cracks if you live in a climate where the weather can shift suddenly. For example, if you have long periods of below-freezing weather, but days where the temperatures climb up to 40℉ or 50℉, the temperature change could cause damage. These defects are more likely to appear due to years of thermal strain rather than a single warm afternoon in the winter.
Whenever possible, park your car in a climate-controlled area during periods of temperature fluctuation.
3. Incorrect Installation
Incorrect windshield installation can leave you with a loose fit. If the glass is too loose, normal driving will cause high levels of vibration that could crack the glass.
If you notice reverberating noises or visible vibration after having a windshield installed, visit your technician and have the fit adjusted to prevent any damage.
4. Low-Quality Glass
Cheap and low-quality windshield glass is more likely to exhibit manufacturing defects than high-quality glass. While the defects may not be immediately visible, small weak areas can turn into large cracks over time.
When you invest in a new windshield, work with a technician who uses durable and reliable windshields from a trustworthy brand. While these glass pieces may be slightly more expensive, high-quality windshields are less likely to need replacement in the future.
5. Rapid Pressure Changes
Automotive glass is one of the strongest varieties of glass available—it has to be to survive driving conditions. However, even automotive glass can develop stress fractures in certain adverse conditions, including rapid or extreme pressure changes.
A rapid pressure change results from the forces acting on your vehicle when you drive at very high speeds, while an extreme pressure change could happen due to an object pressing or falling on the windshield.
6. Rock Chips
Small chips in your windshield can be annoying but aren’t usually cause for major concern. Unfortunately, many chips deepen over time and may cause spiderweb cracks in the glass around them. These chips form whenever any small object hits your windshield at a significant speed.
Most rock chips result from gravel, construction debris, or other road debris, such as small objects, falling off of trucks.
To reduce your risk of a chipped windshield, always keep a longer following distance behind larger vehicles and vehicles carrying loads. For example, you should always keep a little distance between your car and any 18-wheelers that could churn up rocks in your direction.
7. Storm Debris
Natural storm phenomena can cause windshield cracks or chips. While hailstones are the most common form of storm debris to affect glass, high winds may also blow tree branches, litter, and other objects into the front of your car.
Hail and high-speed debris can have the same effect as rocks hitting your windshield, specifically small chips that can potentially develop into larger issues.
A lot of storm damage occurs while the car is parked, so use covered or indoor parking whenever possible during storm season.
As you work to protect your windshield in the future, keep these common damage causes in mind so you can prevent the most likely problems.
Has your windshield developed unsightly chips or a crack that affects visibility? Schedule windshield replacement or repair through Central Glass Company today. We offer rapid, high-quality repairs so you can get back on the road as soon as possible and see properly through your windshield.