Windscreen chips and cracks are one of the most common problems that car owners face. Some windscreens don’t show any immediate signs of a chip or crack, but the next day, the crack may become lengthened across the entire screen and distort the driver’s view.
Table of Contents:
Here is a list of the top causes of windscreen cracks and chips that every car owner should know about.
Let’s explore them in more detail.
Changes in temperature can expand and contract the windscreen continuously, so much so that small cracks appear on the length of the glass.
Moisture can also cause large cracks to expand at a faster rate. If the inside air of the car registers 20 degrees Celsius and the outside temperature is 40 degrees, the glass contracts and causes distortion.
This can happen, for instance, when and icy windscreen is defrosted using hot water. In fact, any small defect in the windscreen can cause chips or cracks.
Direct sunlight isn’t one of the most common causes of windscreen cracks, because we don’t very often experience extreme high temperatures in England, but when we do the intense heat can fracture the windscreen or distort the shape of the glass.
To avoid this from happening, either park your car in the shade, or place a sun shade inside the car in order to block the direct sunlight from causing damage to your windscreen.
One of the most common causes of cracking in windscreens is little stones that are thrown in front of the driver. This happens when roads are under construction and have loose stones on the motorway, or big trucks are passing and drop little stones as they drive ahead.
The stones bounce off the ground and hit the screens of cars behind car. In order to avoid this, it is important to reduce your speed, especially when another vehicle is overtaking.
Remember that even the tiniest crack can easily expand, and before you know it, you will end up having to replace the entire screen.
Adverse weather is another cause of windscreen chips. Thunderstorms can blow the debris from the road and send them flying.
Hail or chunks of ice can also hit your car’s glass and create chips. Hurricanes cause weather-related damage so it is advisable to avoid driving in a storm and park your car in the garage or a covered area in order to prevent it from getting damaged.
Windscreens play a vital role in a vehicle’s safety systems. They support the roof in case of an accident, as well as deflect the airbags in the passenger side upon an accident. This is why windscreens are installed using a strong adhesive, however, structural pressure can cause them to crack.
It also depends on the quality of the glass and the manufacturing process. When a glass is heated and then cooled down, the residual impact is often found along the perimeter. This is why the edges of the windscreens are always the weakest and more prone to breakage.
Direct impact is another likely cause of cracks. This is often unpredictable and difficult to avoid. Accidents can happen at any time, and depending on how severe the crash is, your windscreen may get shattered or cracked as a result. Another direct impact can be from animals on the road. A flying bird or other wildlife hitting the car can be responsible for cracking your vehicle’s glass.
Around 40,000 deer are killed on UK roads every year, and the collisions are often very grisly and potentially traumatic for those in the car. Deers are heavy creatures, and when they collide with a car at speed, significant force is generated which can completely destroy a windscreen. In fact, there have been cases where cars have been written off by insurance companies as a result of deer collisions.
Millions of birds are killed through windscreen collisions every year. These birds can range from sparrows to birds of prey, and the damage will of course vary depending on the size of the bird in question. A small bird hitting your windscreen at speed may cause a crack, but a larger bird – such as a pheasant – could cause more significant damage.
If the car in front of you has a loose number plate, it could fly off and hit your windscreen. You’d have to be very unlucky for this to happen to you, but the solid plastic of the number plate may well chip or crack your glass if there’s a direct impact.
Despite being a crucial part of vehicle safety, windscreen wipers can actually damage our windscreens in certain circumstances. The primary cause of wipers damaging windscreens is the wiper blades being worn down – once this happens, the metal edge of the wiper is exposed and begins to scratch the glass whenever the wipers are activated.
More importantly, damaged windscreen wipers will hamper your ability to see the road clearly, putting yourself and others at risk. If you notice a problem with your windscreen, whether you know the cause or not, contact a professional windscreen company as soon as possible – the problem will only get worse if it’s not rectified quickly.
For many people, there may be a time where a windscreen chip or crack appears seemingly out of nowhere. However, windscreens don’t crack without reason – as we’ve detailed here, there are plenty of things that pose a risk to the integrity of the glass. A stray stone may strike the glass as you’re driving on the motorway, and you may not notice for a day or two; your windscreen wipers may exacerbate a weak point on your windscreen and cause a crack; or the glass itself might be of poor quality.
The cause of the windscreen damage isn’t as important as getting the damage repaired. If you notice a crack or chip, whether you know the cause or not, contact a reputable windscreen repair company as soon as possible.
Once you analyse your windscreen after driving on the motorway, you may come across small chips or splits on the glass. Not repairing a damaged glass right away can potentially work out more expensive later on. It could also potentially get you in trouble with the law.
Although prevention is better than cure, there are times when you have done your absolute best to take preventative measures and something still damages your windscreen. If this happens, make sure you refer to an auto glass specialist immediately.
The Windscreen Company are experts when it comes to windscreen repairs and our team will to offer you the best advice to make sure you get the most cost effective and suitable type of repair.
If the damage is too extensive and you need a windscreen replacement to ensure your safety, we will go directly to your insurer to make sure your don’t pay more than you really need to. Contact our experts if you need your windscreen repairing or replacing!
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