Have you ever put a piping hot glass pan into the sink and run cold water over it? If you’re like me, that’s happened too many times.
This can happen to your windshield; not in the exact same way, but very similarly, especially in a hot state like Arizona. Heat expands materials, like the ones in your car, at different rates. This means that the metal in the frame of your car will expand faster than the glass due to the thermal expansion coefficient being larger in metal than in glass. If the glass was put in incorrectly, it will cause the windshield to simply snap off; well, not simply, but horrifyingly. This expansion can also cause cracks to worsen, as expanding the glass essentially pulls the glass apart.
Cracks can also be created and/or expanded upon when the windshield undergoes thermal shock, a condition in which the glass is rapidly heated in some places and cooled in others. This happens when it’s a hot Arizona day of approximately 5000F and you, naturally, don’t want to bake to a crisp in your own car. The solution? You turn on your air conditioning, full blast, cold enough to re-freeze the ice caps. Your windshield remembers trauma, meaning if this happens every day, all day, every week, every summer, every year, your windshield loses some of its structural integrity. If you have a chip, you may get exploding glass in your car.
The best way to avoid this is to turn your air conditioning on slowly and, if possible, roll down your windows first or in place of the AC. This reduces the strain your windshield must endure, thus decreasing the likelihood of explosions, cracks, or chips of any kind.
If your crack is due to incorrect installation, take it to a company that can be trusted to fix the issue, or better yet, avoid the issue altogether by going to a business you know you can trust. Read reviews, do a little research, and know the guys that handle your car; it is, after all, one of the biggest investments you’ll undertake.
If you want to read more about what extreme cold temperatures do to your windshield, click here.