Your windshield is a delicate combination of sand, sodium carbonate (soda ash), and calcium carbonate (limestone). It’s beautiful, but also incredibly fragile – especially in the winter. Here’s why some windshields crack during the cold weather, and how important it is to have those cracks fixed.
Cold weather and glass
The cold is hard on pretty much everything, but glass is especially susceptible. This is because glass is already brittle and the cold only exacerbates that quality. Chilly weather causes the molecules in the glass to contract. When you combine this with your car’s heating on a cold winter day, you get uneven expansion and contraction of the glass in different areas. This difference in temperature usually happens most around the edges (because those warm quickest) and causes those long cracks that seem to magically appear.
If your area is experiencing inconsistent weather that frequently oscillates between warm and cold, your windshield is feeling the swing. The more expanding and contracting it has to do, the more stress it undergoes. Over time, this stress creates tiny cracks that are invisible to the naked eye, but are the baby steps of large and more devastating cracks.
If you windshield cracks, how serious is it?
If your windshield is chipped or cracked, you’ll want to have it repaired as soon as you can. Mrgoglass.com – a manufacturer of quality windshields – suggests that chips 1-inch in diameter or less can be repaired, star breaks no bigger than 1.5-inches in diameter can be repaired, and a combination of the two no bigger than 1.5-inches in diameter can also be repaired. Everything else will call for a windshield replacement.
Why you need to repair a cracked windshield
Cracked glass hinders your visibility, and increases the risk of shattering the glass during an accident. It also raises the likelihood you’ll be ejected from the vehicle in a crash and even reduces the effectiveness of your airbag. The windshield is a large piece of glass that’s designed not to shatter, but it’s still glass, and it’s still very dangerous when it breaks. Take care of your car so it can take care of you.