If you are like most vehicle owners, certain things come to mind when you think about the potential of sustaining damage to your windshield. For example, you probably envision a misguided baseball, a hurled piece of gravel or a fallen tree limb. However, sometimes, a driver discovers their windshield is damaged and they have no idea where the damage came from.
Discovering that your windshield is damaged with no obvious cause is actually a lot more common than you think, and there are reasonable explanations for windshield cracks that seem to show up out of nowhere. Take a look at a few of the reasons windshields bust, crack or break without an obvious cause like a rock or other projectile.
Drastic Temperature Differences
The car windshield is not a single piece of glass; it is actually created out of layers of glass and Plexiglass materials to prevent shattering. These layers are bonded together, but drastic and sudden temperature changes can cause major problems. When the outer glass is hot and the inner glass is cool, the inner layer will contract while the outer layer will slightly expand.
While the windshield is designed to handle thermal variations to an extent, a drastic difference between temperatures that happens suddenly could definitely cause enough stress for a crack to form. A few examples of things that can cause this kind of thermal tension include:
: Excessive heat near the outside of the windshield : in the winter time, such as close proximity to a fire or other heat source Hot water or other liquid poured or spilled over the windshield when it is cold
Extreme heat inside of the car when the weather outside is cold, such as a small interior fire or the heat turned up too high Exposure to really hot sunlight when the rest of the car is shaded or cooled. Because these types of cracks are formed by stress, they don't always show up immediately when the damaging factors affect the windshield. Therefore, you could easily find a crack later and have no idea what originally caused it.
Stress and Pressure
Windshields are made of glass and plastic components, so naturally, they can only withstand so much pressure. Too much pressure applied in any one area of the windshield's surface can be enough to cause cracks to form in or around that particular area.
Pressure can be looked at as an invisible weight against your windshield. As you are traveling down the road, for example, the wind exerts a certain level of pressure or force against your windshield. Your windshield is designed to handle this form of pressure, to an extent. Pressure and force that negatively impact your windshield can come from a lot of things, including:
: High wind speeds against your windshield, like during a storm
Traveling at an excessively high rate of speed
: Explosive reactions in the atmosphere near your car
Heavy physical weight on the windshield
Pressure cracks can definitely be unexpected, and the simple truth is, you may never know exactly what pressure or force it was that cracked your windshield if you were not present when the force occurred. Plus, the windshield may start to crack along the edge, where the crack will not be immediately noticeable even if you are present at the time.
Even though a surprise crack in your windshield can be frustrating, you should know that windshield repairs are not difficult and are often covered by your car insurance. Contact us at Capital Auto Glass if your windshield is damaged so we can talk about the best route to repairs or replacement.