How Air Temperature Can Affect Your Windshield
Glass is a sensitive material. It’s affected by heat, cold, and force, can shatter or break instantly if you’re not careful. Auto glass is different than most glass you come across. It’s made through a chemical heating process which makes it more resistant to all of these forces, but still, it’s not infallible. Windshields, like all glass items, expand and contract when the temperatures get hotter or colder. Sudden changes in temperature can cause it to shatter, creating a very dangerous situation on the road.
Why Do Windshields Crack When Air Temps Fluctuate?
The science is fairly simple. Hot air causes your windshield glass to expand, which is already a stressor on the glass. Cold air causes the metal around the windshield to contract, also putting pressure on the glass. Normally, most drivers want to cool their car when it’s hot outside and heat their car when it’s cold outside. However, changing the temperature too quickly, or creating an environment where there’s one extreme temperature outside and a different one inside, causes these things to happen too quickly, cracking the windshield.
Thunderstorms and hail storms are also something to worry about if you’re driving. The sudden changes in temperature come as the winds shift, putting too much pressure on the windshield. Plus, these storms kick up debris, like rocks and twigs. One of these hitting your windshield when it’s already expanding or contracting due to the weather can cause more damage than it should.
How to Prevent Weather-Related Windshield Cracks
Your best bet is to stay aware and take precautions to ensure that your windshield doesn’t break or crack in extreme temperatures. Here are our tips:
Change temps slowly - Heat or cool your car gradually to avoid fogging up the glass or cracking the windshield from extreme changes.
Repair chips and cracks before the winter - If you already have a small chip or crack in your windshield, it’s recommended to repair it immediately. The winter weather can cause any imperfections to expand, which can impede your ability to see properly while driving. Avoid pouring hot water when the windshield is frozen - In VA, the winter temperatures wreak havoc on cars, freezing both glass and engines. The worst thing you can do is pour boiling water to defrost. Instead, use gradual and proper defrost functions in your vehicle and an ice scraper made for windshields.
Avoid driving during storms - Of course, it’s hard to let the weather keep you from adventuring, but it is best to avoid driving when temps are fluctuating and the wind is throwing around debris.
Keep your AC pointed away from the windshield - Cooling your car in hot temps is important, but you don’t want it to affect your windshield. Let your car cool gradually, and most importantly point the AC vents away from the windshield, as blasting the glass with cold air from the inside while there’s hot air outside will create vulnerabilities.
Local Auto Glass Repair
Smiley’s Glass has served the Richmond, VA area for decades and is happy to help you with quick and easy auto glass repairs and replacements. Call us at 804-320-7172 or contact us online and schedule a time to bring in your vehicle. We specialize in windshield repair and replacement, quarter glass and rear window replacement, and can accommodate pickup trucks, vans, and even road tractors and some specialty vehicles.