There are year-round conditions that definitely impact the way in which we should drive on roads and highways. It was common for windshields to only provide basic protection against wind and rain in the past, but a slew of modern developments have made it possible for us to defrost windshields, repel rain and enjoy other forms of convenience so that we may continue to drive in the worst of weather. It’s important to also note that windshields provide plenty of strength to the vehicle in the event a roll-over or major accident occurs. Because of this, your windshield and auto glass are important features for safety and convenience while on the road.
Windshields are designed to withstand a lot of elements, but there are plenty of examples in which a windshield’s effectiveness can be compromised – debris being one notable example, requiring a windshield replacement. Quite a large number of drivers do not understand the risks that hot and cold temperatures, along with humidity, can present, however. These elements can play large roles in how effective our auto glass will be under stress, especially if there is already existing damage to the structure. In the following article, we’ll discuss how these elements can affect your windshield and what can be expected in each circumstance.
Cold weather is arguably the single-worst form of temperature or weather that can cause complications for drivers with damaged or weakened auto glass. Even if you’ve had a small chip or crack in the windshield for some time that has not worsened, cold weather may present the perfect storm scenario for that to change. The glass will morph, bending and flexing as the temperature drops. These processes will in effect cause the glass to fracture bit by bit, until all of a sudden a huge crack forms. You know how quickly this process can occur if you have ever been driving down the road, hit a pothole and suddenly see a huge crack in your windshield has formed. The colder season of winter is the number one seasonal cause of damage to auto glass.
Just because cold weather is rough on glass doesn’t mean that warm weather does not do damage as well. Horizontal cracks are very common in auto glass damage that forms during winter months, but vertical damage is the more common scenario when dealing with warm weather damage. From the time the windshield or auto glass is formed, the key processes that lead to its reinforcement explain why these cracks form the way they do. Since glass will expand under heat, these cracks can be pushed out and cause surrounding glass to weaken, exacerbating the process. The use of climate control options within the car – air conditioning and defrost – can actually speed this up by putting more stress and contrast on the windshield.
Ice, Snow, Hail
Cold weather in and of itself can be a bad thing for your auto glass, but frozen precipitation takes the threat to an all new level. Cold air temperatures will cause the glass to contract and can result in increased damage, but frozen precipitation has additional effects on damaged glass. As liquid enters the areas of damage, it will ultimately refreeze and can cause expansion of the glass in these areas. When this process occurs over and over again, it may compromise the windshield or auto glass to the point that a complete replacement is required. There is also the threat of hail – a form of frozen precipitation that can occur year-round – which causes damage due to its velocity and mass.
The first six months of the year tend to be windier, and this too can affect the auto glass in your vehicle. Existing damage to your auto glass can be impacted profoundly by the pressure of wind into the damaged areas as you drive. When you add to this the amount of dirt and dust that is in the air, moving about and making contact with your vehicle at high speeds, then the effect can intensify the erosion and encourage more rapid damage. This is a key reason why auto glass damage must be repaired when it is first noticed.
Whether your auto glass is already damaged or still in good shape, there are numerous seasonal factors that can cause damage to worsen or form in the first place. With damage already on the windshield or auto glass, we recommend parking in a garage or interior space to minimize temperature fluctuations when not driving. Waterproofing and de-icing methods for the glass are also good ideas to prevent any liquid from accumulating in these areas in the winter months. If you ignore or put off the necessary repair job for your auto glass in the here and now, then it is very likely that your negligence will lead to costlier requirements in the future.