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Can Summer Heat Damage Your Car’s Windshield?

June 7, 2019

High summer temperatures can be hard on your car and this includes the vital front part of your car that is the windshield. In fact, hot weather can even break your windshield such that it becomes impossible to get by with a glass repair. But how does it happen?

This type of crack happens when there is a dramatic swing in the temperature which causes the windshield glass to first expand (due to exposure to heat for the prolonged duration) and then shrink rapidly (when cooled by air-conditioning inside). As this puts stress on the glass of the windshield, it is called “stress crack”.

Stress cracks can also be caused by the singular impact of sunlight. As the direct sunlight heats up both the metal and glass of a car after some time, the metal edges heat up faster. This can cause stress on the middle of the glass and lead to cracking. These cracks often show up at the edges of the windshield and spread out onto the entire glass surface.

Stress cracks are different from other types of cracks and chips because, in their case, there is no obvious point of impact and no glass missing from the windshield. Unlike chips which happen as a result of the impact from gravel, road debris, hail, etc, stress cracks seem to appear out of nowhere. Many car owners rue that their windshield cracked out of the blue “for no apparent reason.” There is a reason, of course, it’s just not visible to the naked eye.

The good news is that stress cracks can be avoided, unlike other types of chips and dings, if you take these easy preventive steps.

1. Don’t Blast the Air Conditioning: If it’s hot outside, it can be tempting to crank up the air conditioner as soon as you get in your car. But you must try to avoid this as much as possible as it causes rapid temperature changes from hot to cold. The resultant stress can cause the windshield to crack. Adjust your AC temperature to cool the car gradually.

2. Park the Car in the Shade or a Garage: This will protect your car from direct sunlight and thereby, put less stress on your windshield. Your car will also be cooler and you’ll be less inclined to blast the air conditioning immediately after getting into the car.

3. Wash Your Car With Lukewarm Water: When it’s hot outside, the car will also be hot. Washing it with cold water would again cause sudden temperature change and possibly crack the windshield.

Furthermore, stress cracks are usually irreparable. They are typically very long and tend to originate from the edges of the windshield. Once that happens, the windshield needs to be replaced. Although windshield replacement cost is high, it is possible to find a reasonable price for quality replacement from service providers like Windshield Experts.

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