How Seasons Can Impact Your Auto Glass
Regardless of the season, weather can play a huge role in how we drive and our safety while on the road. In the past, windshields were only designed to block wind and liquid from entering the interior of the automobile, but advances such as windshield wipers have made it possible for anyone with a car to continue plowing through the elements on their way to their destination. In addition to offering these conveniences that allow driving in almost any weather, windshields and auto glass also help reinforce the vehicle in the event there is a rollover or collision. It should go without saying that a structurally sound windshield and auto glass are vital for road safety in this day and age.
Unfortunately, windshields can suffer from various forms of damage while out and about. From stray rocks and pebbles that fly off of other vehicles and into our trajectory, to inclement weather like hail, there are plenty of obstacles we have to be aware of when operating our vehicles. Many are not aware, however, of the effects that changes in temperature and moisture can have on auto glass. Especially vulnerable if there is existing damage, warm and cold temperatures can play a huge role in how much life can be expected from our car windows and windshields. Below, we will discuss what to expect from seasonal changes and how that can impact your auto glass’ strength and performance.
The number one danger that any piece of auto glass may encounter when it comes to seasonal changes is the effect that cold temperatures can have on auto glass. While you may not be too worried about a small speck or chip in your windshield, cold weather can create serious problems and make a proverbial mountain out of a mole hill. As temperatures drop, your auto glass can bend and flex under the changing climate. This can make even the smallest cracks and chips suddenly break loose, resulting in bigger damage to your windshield. For those who have been driving down the road and suddenly see a large crack form after hitting a pothole, you know how quickly damage can spread. This type of seasonal weather is the number one cause of aggravated damage to windshields and auto glass.
While the cold weather can create issues with cracks and chips, so can warm weather. In cold climates, cracks are more likely to run horizontally along the glass; with warm weather, vertical exacerbations are more common. This is due to how the windshield is formed and the effects that heat can have on the glass (in this case, expansion). There are many videos on YouTube that detail how this process occurs and how dangerous it can be. As the glass expands, it results in cracks and chips being augmented in size and severity. To add to this effect, the use of air conditioning and climate controls within the automobile can pump cold water onto the surface of windshields and auto glass, which create even more favorable conditions for cracks to form.
As if cold weather weren’t enough to deal with, frozen precipitation is another huge consideration when dealing with seasonal changes. While the cold, ambient air can have an effect on your windshield and any existing damage, so too can ice, sleet and snow. These elements can work their way into your windshield’s damaged areas, refreeze and ultimately cause expansion of damaged areas. If this process is allowed to occur several times before the damage is treated, you may have to have a complete replacement of your auto glass, as opposed to a simple repair. In addition to this, year-round frozen precipitation (most often in the form of hail) can create new damage if your vehicle is exposed to the elements when it strikes.
It is common for wind to be more pronounced throughout the winter and spring, but how can this affect your auto glass? When there is existing damage to a windshield, wind can work its way into cracks and chips, slowly exposing additional weakened areas and allowing cracks to form more easily. As if this weren’t enough, dust and dirt can be whipped about by the wind – particularly when driving down the road at several dozen miles per hour – that can work its way deeper into those cracks and chips. The grittiness of this dirt and dust can act as an irritant, causing damage to rapidly increase in just a short period of time.
There are many seasonal worries to consider when determining the best course of action for auto glass maintenance and repair. If you have existing damage to your windshield or windows, then it is recommended that you park in a covered (preferably, interior) space to reduce the likelihood of temperature variance. You may also wish to apply de-icer and other solutions that can repel moisture from cracks, so that potential risks of damage while driving is minimized. Ultimately, any damage discovered on your glass needs to be repaired by a qualified auto glass technician as soon as possible. If not, it may lead to far costlier remedies in the near future.