Car windshields take quite a beating from the elements. Whether you live in the cold, snowy mountains or the searing heat of the desert, our car’s protective glass can quickly wear down and become damaged.
While we can’t avoid weather that may damage our windshield, there are steps we can take to keep the worst from happening while out on the road.
In our guide to windshields and weather, we will take a look at how various weather conditions can impact your windshield – and the practical steps you can take to prevent damage that requires a windshield replacement.
Hot & cold: How temperatures can affect your windshield
The impact of extreme cold on your windshield
As the temperature outside plummets, the metal around your windshield contracts. The change in structure puts stress on your windshield, and if a tiny chip or crack is already present, sudden temperature change can cause that minor blemish to escalate into a significant problem quickly.
Just think about that annoying little stone chip you’ve neglected to repair. During a cold snap, a chip can turn into a large, spreading crack almost overnight.
So, how do you protect your vehicle’s windshield from the ravages of winter weather? Here are a few tips:
- Always clear ice and snow off your car before setting out – never pour hot water on a frozen windshield, as the sudden change can cause thermal shock and generate cracks.
- Park indoors or under a carport to avoid the worst cold weather elements.
- Use a high-quality windshield washer fluid that contains antifreeze, as the fluid will prevent freezing in the winter months.
- Repair small chips and cracks as soon as they appear to prevent them from growing larger in the cold weather.
The impact of extreme heat on your windshield
Contrary to popular belief, heat can be just as damaging to your windshield as cold. As temperatures rise, your windshield expands. Thermal expansion, especially when uneven due to the hot sun shining intensely on one part of the windshield, can cause stress fractures in the glass.
Want to make sure your windshield holds up to the elements? Here are some hot weather tips:
- Try to park your vehicle in the shade whenever possible.
- Use sunshades on your windshield to minimize direct sunlight and heat build-up.
- Don’t crank up the air conditioning when you get in the car. Gradually cool down the car to prevent shock to the windshield from sudden temperature changes.
The impact of storms and hail on your windshield
When it comes to the impact of storms and hail on your windshield, the danger seems fairly obvious. Falling limbs and debris can quickly damage your car, but the main culprit is hail.
Hailstones, ranging in size from tiny pellets to golf balls (and sometimes even larger), can wreak havoc on a windshield. From cracks and chips to complete breakage, hail can cause a lot of damage.
The good news is that new technology has made it possible to reduce the amount of damage caused by hail. Windshields with stress fractures are designed to help disperse impact energy throughout the glass, reducing the risk of breakage or major damage.
Here’s what you can do to help protect your windshield from storm and hail damage:
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast. If hail is predicted, try to park your vehicle in a garage or under other protective cover.
- If you’re caught driving in a hailstorm, seek shelter under a gas station canopy or highway overpass until the storm passes.
- Consider investing in a car cover with padding that can help protect against minor hail damage.
The impact of humidity on your windshield
Humidity might not seem like a significant threat to your windshield, but it can play a role in windshield damage. High humidity levels can cause the metal parts of your car to expand, putting additional stress on your windshield.
Moreover, the adhesive that holds your windshield in place can deteriorate faster in high humidity, leading to wind and water leaks.
Here are some tips to help protect your windshield from the effects of humidity:
- Keep your car in a climate-controlled garage, if possible.
- Regularly check the seals around your windshield for signs of wear or damage.
- Get your windshield professionally inspected at least once a year to spot and address any potential issues early on.
Comprehensive care: Preventive measures and maintenance tips for all weather conditions
No matter the weather, consistent care and timely maintenance are critical to safeguarding your windshield from damage. Here are some key preventive measures and maintenance tips that can extend the life of your windshield and ensure your safety on the road.
Regular cleaning: Your first line of defense
Keeping your windshield clean, both inside and out, is one of the simplest and most effective preventive measures.
Dust, dirt, and road grime can scratch the glass, weakening its structural integrity and making it more susceptible to cracking. Use a high-quality glass cleaner and a soft microfiber cloth to clean your windshield at least once weekly.
Remember to clean the inside of the windshield as well, as the oils and dirt from your fingers or other sources can build up over time, reducing visibility and potentially causing damage.
Wiper blade maintenance: The unsung hero
Windshield wiper blades play an essential role in maintaining clear visibility while driving, but they can also unintentionally harm your windshield if not properly maintained.
Worn-out or damaged wiper blades can cause streaks and may scratch the glass. Wiper scratches affect visibility and can turn into larger cracks under extreme weather conditions.
Make a habit of checking your wiper blades every three months for any signs of wear. If they leave streaks or make noise while moving, it’s time for a replacement. Choosing high-quality wiper blades can also help prevent unnecessary windshield damage.
Professional inspections: The expert eye
Even with consistent cleaning and maintenance, some issues are best spotted by a trained eye. Regular professional inspections are essential to catching early signs of damage or potential problems.
Certified technicians can spot minor chips, cracks, or issues with the windshield’s seal that might be overlooked. By catching issues early, they can often be repaired before becoming more significant problems requiring a full windshield replacement.
When it’s time for repair or replacement
Recognizing when it’s time for a windshield replacement or repair is critical for maintaining your safety on the road. Weather impacts, road debris, and even time can lead to damage that, if left untreated, can compromise the structural integrity of your vehicle and impair your visibility.
Small windshield chips or cracks caused by debris or extreme weather can be repaired. Address them promptly to prevent more extensive, dangerous cracks from obstructing your view and posing safety risks due to temperature fluctuations.
Extensive cracks, damage obstructing the driver’s view, or damage at the windshield edges may require complete replacement. The same goes for damage penetrating both glass layers or puncturing the inner laminate. Such cases demand urgent attention as they compromise the windshield’s structural integrity, potentially affecting roof support during rollover accidents.
Always rely on professional, certified professionals to fix your windshield. myWindshield network of certified auto glass service providers can assess the damage and recommend whether a repair or replacement is the best course of action. Using cutting-edge tools and industry-leading techniques, our experts ensure high-quality service, restoring your windshield to its optimal condition.