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Man driving car in rain weatherFall is finally here! The leaves are beginning to change, children have returned to school and the evenings are beginning to feel cooler. But what’s the downside of this beautiful season? Out of each of the four seasons, fall is easily the most damaging to your vehicle’s windshield. While you may not realize it, the fall conditions are perfect for a damaged windshield. Whether it’s a brand new chip or crack or the expansion of an existing one, fall can really do a number on your vehicle’s glass. That’s why we’ve put together this article to help you understand the  hazards that fall presents to your windshield and why you should act now before the weather continues to cool.

Fall Worsens Existing Damage

Many people experience windshield chips or cracks while driving long distances. Oftentimes, windshield chips are the result of flying debris or rocks on the roadways. For that reason, you’re very likely to get a chip or crack in your windshield during the summer months when long-distance travel is more frequent. While a small chip in your windshield may not seem like a big deal, it can cause a lot of damage in the long run and can even cause your vehicle to fail state safety inspection, especially if it worsens.

Seasonal changes in weather are gradual. That’s why some days in fall can be very cold while others can feel as though summer hasn’t yet ended. Mother Nature’s temperamental temperature changes will do a number on your windshield, especially if you already have a chip or crack in the glass. While your windshield is designed to be durable to the elements, it is still susceptible to damage due to extreme temperature changes. For example, when your car is parked in the sun on a hot day, the glass expands ever so slightly. If you already have a chip or crack in your windshield, this can cause it to worsen. The same thing can happen in cold weather too. If your car is parked in a very cold location, the glass will contract. This can also lead to growing cracks in the glass. Because your windshield is susceptible to damage in extreme hot or cold, you can see how the temperature swings of fall weather can further damage even slightly chipped glass.

Fall Can Cause New Damage

Another reason fall can be particularly damaging to your windshield is the increase in likelihood of inclement weather. Here on the east coast, the time period between the end of summer and the start of fall is peak hurricane season. That means large tropical storms roll in from the Atlantic ocean bringing high winds, heavy rains and inevitable property damage. While storms can leave behind immense damage to your vehicle, many people return to their vehicles after a storm to find a chip or crack in their windshield.

Storms cause damage to windshields in three primary ways; flying debris, falling trees and hail. When a strong storm comes to the area, high winds can send small items like pebbles, loose garbage, or lawn ornaments flying. If any of these items happen to make contact with your windshield, you’ll be lucky to escape with just a windshield chip. High winds from storms can also cause tree branches to fall. If a branch lands on your windshield, it could be chipped, cracked or shattered, depending on the size of the limb. Another common way that end-of-summer storms can damage your windshield is with hail. While hail does not occur with every storm, it is particularly dangerous when it does. Hail is a solid form of precipitation that occurs during intense storms. In better words, hail refers to ice falling from the sky. Just this year, the Richmond area has seen all of these things. We’ve seen everything from end-of-summer storms to hurricane warnings and even a few tornadoes, causing quite a bit of damage to vehicles throughout the region.

Fix Windshield Damage in Fall

While fall can be the most damaging season for your windshield, it’s also the most important time of year to fix any damages to your vehicle’s glass. Many drivers find that as the weather cools and the bitter cold of winter sets in, their windshield damage grows exponentially. More often than not, that small negligible chip in your windshield will grow into a full-flown crack when winter hits. One of the main reasons windshield chips grow into cracks is due to a combination of moisture and freezing temperatures. When moisture gets into the small chip or crack in your windshield, it can freeze and expand. This inevitably causes your windshield chip to grow seemingly overnight. By the time this occurs, you’ll need a full-blown windshield replacement which is far more expensive than if you had fixed the crack or chip early on.

No matter what caused that chip in your windshield, it’s extremely important to have it fixed immediately. Oftentimes, a vehicle will fail its state safety inspection due to windshield damage, especially if the chip or crack is in the driver’s line of sight. Whether you encounter inclement weather, changing seasons or simply a pothole on the road, that crack on your windshield will grow into a larger issue with time so it’s crucial that you get it fixed as soon as possible. Learn more about how to avoid windshield damage here.

Whether you just noticed a small chip in the glass or you need a full windshield replacement, Smiley's Glass has a team of experienced auto glass repair and replacement specialists that can help with all of your glass repair needs. We offer the safest and finest services when it comes to windshield repair or replacement. You can rest assured that we use only quality, manufacturer approved products as prescribed by the Auto Glass Safety Council’s AGRSS program. For more information on our expert auto glass repair or replacement services, you can contact us by dialing 804-320-7172.

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