Can Cold Weather Make a Crack in Your Windshield Worse?

Smashed Windscreen

Whether you have a small crack starting or a larger crack you’ve been watching slowly spread, windshield cracks are a serious concern. Windshields provide approximately 30% of a vehicle’s structural support and they play a huge role in protecting you and your passengers in the event of a rollover accident. Although these types of accidents aren’t very common, they account for 35% of passenger fatalities – so a sturdy, structurally sound windshield is vitally important. Unfortunately, cold temperatures can make cracks worse and decrease the safety of your vehicle.

How Does Cold Weather Affect the Glass?

Windshield glass is affected by changes in temperature – it expands and contracts. So if it’s really cold outside, the glass in the windshield will become more concave, which puts stress on damaged areas, like chips or cracks. This can lead to cracks in the windshield expanding horizontally. The Motor Industry Research Association found that once the temperature drops to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a windshield is 60% more likely to spread. If the temperature reaches 14 degrees Fahrenheit, the chances of the crack spreading go up to 80%.

To make matters worse, using your defroster on a cold winter day can add additional stress to the glass (and increase the chance of the crack spreading) because of the drastic difference in temperature between the outside of the glass and the interior.

Can I Get the Crack Repaired?

A repair may be possible if the damage isn’t too deep and the crack is less than three inches long. It’s best to address cracks as soon as possible because that increases the likelihood that you’ll only need a repair, rather than a complete windshield replacement. Waiting until a crack is so large that it affects your visibility isn’t only unsafe; it’s more than likely going to cost significantly more than taking care of a small crack – and you may be at risk for a citation, too.

If you’ve noticed cracks or chips in your windshield, contact Lucky Dog Auto Glass at 253-569-9403 for a free estimate! We’re happy to evaluate the damage and let you know whether it can be repaired or if a full replacement would be the safer option.

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