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There’s nothing like the feeling of walking out to your car and noticing a crack that you could swear wasn’t there when you left it. While it can feel like yet another way for the universe to “get” you, windshields don’t just crack for no reason – there’s always an underlying condition. Fortunately, understanding the top reasons that windshields crack may be able to help you avoid damage to your windshield in the first place. So let’s go over the issues that may have caused your crack, and how to fix it!

Flying Projectiles

Most of us have experienced the heart-stopping “thunk” of a piece of gravel flying out from under an 18-wheeler to collide directly with our windshield. Objects flying at high-speed smack into your windshield and the force exerts pressure on the glass, causing it to chip or crack. Other things that can cause cracks in your windshield this way include:

  • Gravel
  • A rogue golfball or baseball
  • A tree branch
  • Hail 
  • Washers and other pieces of metal in the road

If your windshield is damaged due to a flying projectile, it may be covered by your auto insurance. Review your coverage and your deductible information to see if you may be reimbursed for your windshield repairs!

Improper Installation

Unfortunately, we see a lot of cracked windshields that were caused by improper installation. If the glass is installed unevenly or loosely, the vibrations that come from driving can exert pressure on the glass and cause it to crack. If your windshield cracks soon after being repaired, ask your (new!) auto glass repair shop to check for signs that it was installed incorrectly. You may be able to have insurance, or the shop that installed it, cover your costs. 

Extreme Temperature Fluctuations

Glass expands when it’s hot and contracts when it’s cold. When the temperature changes too quickly, the expansion or contraction of the glass can exert pressure and cause cracking. If it’s extremely cold outside, try not to use your defroster until the car has warmed up a bit. Your windshield heats faster around the edges and the quick expansion in contrast with the cooler middle can cause cracks to appear.   

The best way to avoid these kinds of cracks is to protect your windshield from exposure. If possible, park it in a garage or another covered area to prevent sudden temperature fluctuations. It also helps to warm your car up in the winter for at least ten minutes before you start driving and blast the heat. 

Manufacturer Default

Sometimes a default in the glass can be caused by the way it’s produced by the manufacturer. When this is discovered, they will typically issue a recall so you can have a new, safer windshield put into place. If your windshield cracks, and there is a current recall out for it, you may be able to seek reimbursement from the manufacturer. 

Glass Imperfections

If your windshield has been damaged previously – chips, smaller cracks, warped by temperature, etc. – it is much more likely to crack. Windshields are designed to withstand the pressure and vibrations of driving as a solid unit. When that structure is compromised, it weakens the glass and causes cracking. 

Pressure Changes

This doesn’t happen often, but it is possible for sudden, intense pressure changes to cause cracks in your windshield. Gale force winds – such as those caused by a tornado or hurricane – can cause intense pressure changes. Sonic booms and backlash from explosions can also cause your windshield glass to crack. 

You should also avoid setting heavy things on the windshield directly. Luggage, walking across the windshield, etc., can put pressure on the glass it wasn’t designed to take. 

If you have a crack in your windshield, contact Fast Glass Service. We’re happy to give you a free estimate on repairing the damage!