Common Causes of Cracked Car Windows | Central Glass Company

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Midvale/Sandy: 801-561-2213
Downtown SLC: 801-355-7577
Bountiful: 801-295-3449
West Valley: 801-969-1491

7 Common Causes Of Cracked Car Windows

When you think about automotive glass repairs, you likely picture starburst cracks from foul balls or deep rock chips on a windshield. However, side windows are just as vulnerable to nicks, cracks, and complete blowouts as windshields.

Automotive glass is designed to withstand the normal rigors of driving, but damaged car glass poses a safety hazard by reducing visibility and even creating a risk of injury. Side glass in particular shatters into smaller and sharper pieces than the rounded particles of broken windshield glass.

Understanding why side windows break can help you safeguard your car from this potential issue. In this blog, we discuss seven of the most common causes of car window damage.

  1. Accidents

Accidents are some of the most common causes of broken car windows. Even at a low speed, impact can potentially bend the window frame enough or exert enough pressure on the window to crack or shatter the glass.

Side and diagonal impacts are most likely to affect your vehicle glass, though rear impact can also result in window damage. Always exercise care when driving, particularly at intersections, to reduce the risk of accidents.

  1. Break-Ins

Vandalism and break-ins often leave cars with damaged paint jobs, interiors, and windows. When you leave your car unattended, choose a safe parking space to make your vehicle a more difficult target.

Would-be thieves and vandals are less likely to choose vehicles located in well-lit areas, close to crowds, and monitored by security cameras. Avoid leaving valuables of any kind, including electronic cords that suggest the presence of music players, in sight when you leave your car.

You may not be able to prevent every break-in. Consider taking precautions to offset the costs of potential break-ins, such as purchasing supplemental auto insurance and aftermarket alarm products.

  1. Damage Development

Sometimes a car window can shatter almost spontaneously, such as when the vehicle door is closed particularly hard. While these incidents can seem inexplicable, a type of unaddressed damage is to blame. This damage can come in the form of improper installation, which is why all glass services should be handled professionally.

In most cases, however, shatter incidents like this hypothetical scenario occur when a chip or small crack compromises the structure of the glass. As the damage develops during normal vehicle use, the glass becomes more vulnerable to pressure and can eventually break unexpectedly.

  1. Debris Impact

Like your windshield, your side windows can be threatened by debris kicked up on the road, hurled at your vehicle by high winds, or dropped from trees or overhead structures. Rock chips caused by gravel and other small, hard debris is the most common culprit of nicks and chips in auto glass.

Avoid construction zones when possible and always keep a generous following distance between your vehicle and work trucks to reduce the risk of debris impact. To evade other debris hazards, park in protected areas during inclement weather and away from trees or parking structures with wildlife, dead branches, and hard nuts.

  1. Heat

While automotive glass is some of the strongest glass used in any industry, all glass is subject to thermal pressure as temperatures change. Extreme heat can cause shattering in rare cases.

Heat is most dangerous to your windows if they are already damaged, as discussed in section three, and are left in a hot climate for a long period of time before being exposed to low temperatures as you crank up the air conditioner.

  1. Major Misalignment

Not all glass breakage starts with the glass itself. Some of the underlying problems that can threaten the structural integrity of your side windows may not even be visible when you look at the windows.

For example, if your car is massively out of alignment and is left misaligned for a long period of time, the twisted frame can put so much pressure on one or more windows that the glass eventually breaks. Watch for signs of misalignment, such as your steering wheel pulling to the side or your tires pointing different directions.

Have your alignment checked as part of your routine maintenance, as well as after any collision, even one with a curb or pothole.

  1. Obstructions

Like glass damage stemming from misalignment, invisible side window breakage can also start in the window track rather than on the pane. When you clean your car, check the window track for any debris.

Large debris that offers a lot of resistance and changes the way the glass fits into the frame may eventually lead to cracks.

Remember these common causes of car window damage so you can make wise choices about how you drive, where you park, and how you maintain your vehicle. If you notice a small chip or crack in one of your windows, seek repairs as soon as possible.

Prompt repairs can eliminate the need to replace your side window entirely and potentially save you the hassle of dealing with shattered glass.

For comprehensive automotive glass services, trust the experienced technicians at Central Glass Company.

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