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Common Causes of Windshield Damage

One of the frustrating aspects of vehicle ownership is the inevitable windshield repair. If you’ve been driving for more than a minute, you’ve been there. You are going the speed limit, and then there’s a loud pop that jolts you out of your reverie. After your heart slows back down, you realize something has hit your windshield. And then the crack starts to spread.

This phenomenon isn’t just irritating; it can be dangerous. Your windshield provides 34% of your vehicle’s structural integrity. What can cause the kind of damage that requires windshield replacement? You might be surprised at all the ways your carefully maintained vehicle can sustain glass breakage in Phoenix, Tucson, and beyond. Read on for some of the most common causes.

Road Debris

By far, the most common cause of front windshield damage comes from rocks and gravel thrown up from the road surface by other vehicles’ tires. They gain surprising velocity and hit with enough force that they can break or chip your glass instantly. However, stones aren’t the only debris to be wary of. There is inevitably loose pavement that can be broken down as cars drive over it when there is road construction. Particularly with large trucks, the tires can send those chunks of pavement through your windshield.

Other debris to watch for include items carried in open truckbeds or trailers. Tools, machinery, furniture, appliances, or other items can hit the road and bounce into your windshield before you even have time to react. Unfortunately, even if the car in front of you hits fallen debris first, you may still not escape if it bounces off of them and hits you. If you find yourself behind an uncovered truck or trailer with a load, take your first opportunity to position yourself elsewhere.

Sudden Temperature Changes

When you live in Tuscon and Phoenix, you know all about our hot, sunny days and cool nights. After a while, those temperature changes can take their toll on your automobile glass. The glass is designed to expand and contract with the temperature, but it can only handle so much. If the fluctuation is extreme, such as throwing hot water on a frozen windshield, a sudden cool rain shower, or a powerful air conditioner blowing frigid air during 100+° summer days, your windshield may crack.

Car Accident

Many parts of your vehicle are designed to break away in a collision to absorb or minimize the impact. Windshields are no different. If the impact is significant enough to damage the structure of your vehicle, the windshield will shatter. However, tempering and protective coatings keep the glass from breaking into dangerous shards. To maintain safety and integrity, if your windshield is damaged in an accident, your insurance company will probably want to replace it.

In minor accidents, flying debris may chip or crack your glass. If so, you may be able to safely have it repaired rather than replaced. It is important to pay attention to even the smallest chips and cracks, as they can expand with time, temperature, and vibration from the vehicle’s movement. If left unresolved, your potential repair can turn into a full replacement.

Low-Quality Glass

There is a good reason for the saying, “Let the buyer beware.” If you see prices that are significantly out of the average for windshield replacement, you need to ask questions. The high-quality auto glass must meet safety standards. Unscrupulous businesses may try to pass off the glass that doesn’t meet original equipment manufacturers’ requirements. Ask what kind of glass and adhesives they will be used to repair and replace your car glass and whether it conforms to industry standards.

Very rarely, even OEM glass can have a defect. A reputable and attentive shop should identity any quality issues that slipped past the manufacturer’s notice before installing the glass. However, if they don’t and you see ripples, waves, blurry areas or other distortions in the glass, return to your installer immediately for a replacement.

Improper Installation

If your windshield replacement technician is improperly trained, doesn’t have the right equipment, or uses it improperly, you could have a big problem. Improperly installed windshields create a huge safety issue. There are a few telltale signs that your windshield has been improperly installed:

  • It has gaps between the frame and the glass

  • It rattles, vibrates, or makes cracking sounds

  • New cracks develop

  • Water leaks around it

  • You can feel or hear the wind rushing through

  • The glass appears wavy or blurry

  • If you see any of these signs, call your installer immediately. The presence of any of these symptoms means that your windshield does not protect you and needs to be immediately corrected.

Call Clear View Glass & Tint For Your Auto Glass Needs

Clear View Glass & Tint will tell you that windshield replacement isn’t always the only answer. Modern techniques and products have given us the option for windshield repair under the right conditions. If the damage is a chip, doesn’t go all the way through the glass layers, and isn’t located at a structurally strategic point, you may be able to get by with a repair. We take great pride in helping our customers with the best option to maintain structural integrity and safe driving conditions. Call us today at 480-656-0432 in Phoenix or at 520-393-3930 in Tuscon.

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