Ah, summer is finally on its way. No longer do we have to equip our mittens to scrape piles of snow off of our cars. We are almost there, I promise. But with raging heat and prevalent rays comes the fear of the windshield. Sure, ice and snow can damage your auto glass, but can windshields crack from the heat?
Long story short, yes. Excessive heat and sunlight can affect your windshield negatively. It may not be as brutal as you’d expect, though. Here’s how the heat affects your windshield and how to deal with it.
Windshields and Heat: The Science
Firstly, let’s note how strange the weather is. Temperature whiplash exists across the entire country. For example, if you live in Denver, you experienced a 30-degree temperature shift in a single day. That is not something to balk at.
Just like our sinuses and skin (especially mine), glass is affected by crazy weather swings, too.
If you are unaware, let’s break down the science of your windshield. Basically, your windshield is made of two panes of extremely durable glass with a resin in the middle. This resin holds the two sheets of glass together. When a layer of the windshield breaks or cracks, the resin holds the broken pieces in place, saving the integrity of the other pane.
How Heat Affects Your Windshield
Only the top layer is technically affected when your windshield is damaged or chipped from the outside. Unfortunately, extreme weather like heat or cold can make matters worse. Heat increases the temperature inside the car, causing the inside layer of glass to expand. This pushes against the middle resin and outside layer, making the outside damage worse.
Furthermore, direct sunlight can cause the car’s metal to heat up around the glass. The metal then heats up faster than the glass, causing stress. This can lead to stress fractures around the edge of the windshield.
Luckily, the latter is much less common than the former. Unless your windshield is in direct, extreme heat every day, you are fairly safe from stress fractures. If there is already a chip or crack on your windshield, heat can exasperate it immensely.
So, can windshields crack from heat? Not exactly, but it’s still not great.
Ways to Avoid Windshield Cracks From Heat
While damage from heat is rare, it is still possible. Consequently, damage from heat when there are pre-existing cracks and chips is also possible. Luckily, avoiding both of these things involves the same steps.
All in all, care for your car. Keep an eye out for any damage. But, when all else fails and you have some type of damage, follow these tips to avoid making it worse.
- Avoid direct sunlight: This goes without saying. If the temperature outside is climbing to an alarming rate, make sure to place your car somewhere without direct sunlight. While shade will suffice, garages are preferred. Also, this will keep the rest of your car safe from sun damage.
- Use windshield covers: Windshield covers not only protect the inside of your auto glass from heating up and expanding but also protect your dashboard and other easily-damaged parts of the interior. If you have to park in the sun, this is always your best bet.
- Do not use cold water: Avoid using cold water when you wash your car during the summer months. The extreme shift in temperature can cause rapid expansion, making windshield cracks much worse.
- Avoid cranking air condition: Much like cold water, a rapid change in interior temperature can cause pressure on windshield cracks. If using AC, try and make the transition more gradual than a complete cold blast. I know it sucks to sweat, but it’s better for your car.
- Tint can help: While tint does not cover the windshield, it can cover other windows. This will ultimately reduce the heat inside the car, causing less pressure on the inside glass.
Fix Your Auto Glass Sooner Rather Than Later
Firstly, if there is underlying damage to your windshield, you can never be 100% positive you are not making it worse. Temperature changes can be a fickle thing. They can sneak up on you. Heat can cause a crack in windshields to expand, even if you are unaware of it.
The easiest way to avoid windshield problems is to get cracks and dents fixed as soon as you notice them.
Now, we have all heard the myth of windshield expenses. Why pay for a chip fix if it’s going to cost the same as a new pane, right? Why not just wait till the crack is larger?
Let’s reiterate. This is a myth. Every chip is different. Resin injections can fill small cracks before they become detrimental to the whole windshield. At the end of the day, it will always be cheaper to get the problem fixed before it gets bigger.
It’s going to be incredibly difficult to avoid stressful heat if you are cruising into the summer with a crack in your windshield (regardless of size). Get the problem fixed to save money in the long run.
Repairs Are Costly
Firstly, repair companies like SLP Auto Glass will help you fill out your insurance claim before working on your vehicle. Not only do some insurance policies cover replacements, but windshield claims usually have little-to-no effect on your insurance rates.
Secondly, despite the ever-growing strength of windshields, the price is more efficient than you may believe. SLP Auto Glass will also come to you to work on your car. No need to leave the couch.
Looking to Get Your Windshield Repaired Before the Summer?
At SLP Auto Glass, we are committed to excellence in everything we do. We are passionate about ensuring that your vehicle is in a much safer state with a new windshield designed and installed with safety in mind.
As a full-service and locally-owned auto glass company, we care about our friends and neighbors. You can count on us for fast, efficient, reliable and affordable auto glass services that are customized to meet and exceed your needs.