If you recently noticed a minor chip or crack in your windshield, it’s imperative that you schedule windshield repairs right away. While the damage might be minor now, it won’t stay that way if you don’t act quickly.
Several factors can cause even a minor chip to spread rapidly, and if the damage grows too large, it may no longer be eligible for repair. If you wait too long, you may have to get a complete windshield replacement.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common things that cause auto glass damage to quickly grow worse.
1. Moisture Intrusion
Every windshield is constructed of laminated glass — two layers of glass with a very thin layer of poly-vinyl-butyral in between. Because a windshield has multiple layers, when it develops a crack, those layers can make the glass damage more vulnerable to moisture intrusion.
When moisture finds its way into a chip or crack and in between the layers of glass, it can cause the existing damage to spread rapidly under certain circumstances. If temperatures drop below freezing and the moisture inside the crack solidifies, it will inevitably expand (it’s ice after all). When it does, it’ll force the crack to grow larger.
That’s why tending to windshield repair immediately is so important, especially throughout the winter months when temperatures can fluctuate wildly.
2. Car Washes
When you’re dealing with a chipped or cracked windshield, avoid taking your vehicle through any type of commercial car wash until you get the damage repaired. While automatic car washes present the greatest threat to compromised auto glass, even do-it-yourself car washes — with their highly pressurized hoses — present a hazard.
If you must wash your vehicle while it has damaged glass, wash it at home, by hand. But keep in mind, it’s better to let your vehicle get a little dirty than to risk further damage to an already-compromised front or rear windshield.
3. Direct Sun Exposure
If you normally park your vehicle outdoors, letting it sit in direct sun can cause existing windshield damage to spread. Glass can heat up quickly when exposed to direct sunlight, and as it gets warmer, the glass will gradually expand.
As the glass expands, it’s highly likely the chip or crack will follow suit. If you can’t schedule a windshield repair appointment right away, try to park your vehicle in a covered area or at least somewhere out of direct sunlight.
For more advice on safeguarding damaged glass, check out our tips for protecting your windshield while you wait for auto glass repairs.
4. Extreme Temperatures
The heat from your vehicle’s heater and frigid air from the air conditioner can also cause a chip or crack to spread. The same idea holds true when outdoor temperatures drop well below freezing.
When auto glass is exposed to extreme temperatures, it naturally experiences a small degree of expansion and contraction. If it expands or contracts too quickly, this phenomenon can easily stress the glass to the point that it breaks, and this is true even for completely intact glass.
If you must put off auto glass repairs for any reason, learn how to protect your glass from the dangers of extreme temperatures.
5. Everyday Driving
Driving over speed bumps too fast, hitting potholes, driving on bumpy roads, and even prolonged vibrations from normal driving can stress a damaged windshield. While minor damage may not immediately spread from everyday activities, if you put off windshield repairs too long, the crack or chip will eventually grow worse.
Plus, minor windshield damage is dangerous — probably more so than you might realize.
6. Slamming Doors
Slamming your vehicle’s doors, trunk, hatch, or hood can easily cause an existing crack to spread. And if you have a moderate chip, especially if it features minor cracks extending from the center, vibrations from door slamming can quickly further the damage.
Whether you’re waiting for your repair appointment to roll around or you haven’t scheduled service yet, be extra cautious when you close any hinged mechanism on your vehicle. If you accidentally further the damage, you’ll likely end up paying for a complete replacement.
7. Outdoor Debris
Particulate matter is the nemesis of any windshield chip or crack. When dirt or other tiny pieces of debris wiggle their way into the crack, they can get stuck in between the windshield’s layers. And once they get stuck, they’re nearly impossible to get out.
Though the debris itself may not cause the glass damage to grow larger, it will make windshield repairs difficult or even impossible. If you can’t get to an auto glass repair shop right away, find a shop that offers a mobile repair team that’ll come to you.
In the meantime, you can try to seal the crack temporarily with a bit of clear tape to prevent debris from getting stuck inside it.
Looking for Quality Windshield Repairs in the Twin Cities?
If your windshield recently developed minor chips or cracks, it’s critical that you schedule repairs as promptly as possible to avoid further glass damage. At Only 1 Auto Glass, we specialize in all forms of auto glass repair for all makes and models of vehicles.
If you can’t make it into one of our multiple Twin Cities locations, our mobile auto glass repair team can come straight to you!
To learn more or schedule an appointment, feel free to give us a call today at 651-789-1111 or request a free estimate online.