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Your windshield protects the interior of your car from precipitation, extreme temperature changes, and the effects of traveling at high speed. Ideally, this piece of glass would remain seamless and unnoticed as you travel. But nothing puts your windshield at top of mind like chips, cracks, and other damage. Sometimes the cause of the damage is obvious – like a rock being flung at your windshield by the semi in front of you on the highway – but other causes can be a little less predictable.

So let’s take a look at the most common causes of windshield damage and when you need to consider auto glass repair.

1. Accidents

When you tell people your windshield was broken in an auto accident, they usually picture an explosion of glass shards. While this is possible – especially if you’re in a head-on collision – windshields are designed specifically to avoid this kind of intense shattering to avoid driver and passenger injury.

More often, the damage is more minor. Small cracks, bullseye chips, bent frames, and stress fractures are most common. To minimize the risk of damaging your windshield, conform to safe driving best practices and always have an auto glass repair tech check your windshield after a collision, even if you can’t see any cracks on the surface.

It is possible that even very small chips and cracks can weaken the integrity of your windshield and lead to much larger and more dramatic damage in the future.

2. Extreme Temperatures

Glass contracts when it is cold and expands when it is hot. While your automotive glass is designed to minimize the strain of thermal shifts, exposure to extreme temperatures over long periods of time can cause cracks to form.

You’re also more likely to experience cracks in your windshield if you live in a climate where the weather shifts suddenly or rapidly, such as in a desert climate where it’s extremely hot during the day and freezing at night. While it is possible for sudden temperature changes to cause cracks (never, ever, ever, try to defrost your windshield with hot water), the kind we’re talking about are more likely to occur due to long exposure and consistent contracting and expanding.

When possible, park your car in a climate-controlled or covered environment to help limit periods of temperature fluctuation

3. Incorrect Installation

When your windshield is installed incorrectly, you can end up with a loose fit. If the fit of your windshield is too loose, even normal driving can cause high levels of vibration which can lead to a cracked windshield. If you notice visible vibrations or hear reverberating noises after you have a windshield installed, you likely need to have the fit adjusted by an auto glass repair expert.

Make sure that you are using a reputable professional when it comes to auto glass repair. You want to make sure your glass is safe on – and off! – the road.

4. Rock Chips

Small chips are aggravating – especially if you just detailed your car or you’re an otherwise very safe and cautious driver. And there is nothing more infuriating than watching a semi lurch into your lane and immediately kick a rock up onto your windshield.

While most chips are not a major concern, they do weaken the glass in your windshield and they can deepen over time, causing spiderweb cracks in the glass surrounding them. It is much more cost-effective to get a small chip filled than to repair a crack – or an entire windshield for that matter. So it’s best to call a local auto glass repair shop and go ahead and get it taken care of as soon as you notice it.

To reduce your risks of getting rock chips, keep a longer distance than usual between your vehicle and any larger trucks or vehicles carrying loads. Two car lengths are usually sufficient to keep you from the worst of the damage.

If you have any questions about auto glass repair, contact Fast Glass Service and we’ll get you fixed up! We also offer no-contact home visits if you prefer to leave your car in the driveway and find it repaired at the end of the day!