Hot weather affects everything, even your chipped windscreen. It’s no secret that summer in Australia can reach soaring temperatures. But can the sun cause your windshield to crack?
The reality is that the sweltering sun rays beating down on a car window crack, chip, or scratch could potentially lead to bigger problems. Here’s everything you need to know about hot summer weather’s effects on your vehicle’s windscreen.
The Difference Between a Chip, Scratch and Windscreen Crack
Car windshields are usually made from laminated glass. Two glass layers are added together, separated by only a thin adhesive vinyl layer. Minor chips or windscreen cracks will primarily affect the outer layer of the glass, leaving the interior layer intact.
What is a Chip on a Windscreen?
A chip refers to a minor groove of damage on a windshield. It’s not usually a cause for panic as, depending on the location and size of the chip, you can generally get it repaired relatively quickly, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
What is a Windscreen Scratch?
A windshield scratch could result from ill-fitting windshield wipers or dirt and debris. Light and shallow scratches won’t generally affect the structural integrity of the glass, and you can repair it without needing to replace the entire windscreen.
What is a Windscreen Scratch?
A crack refers to a distinct line running across the windshield. Cracks can quickly worsen the structural integrity of a vehicle windshield.
What is a Stress Crack?
A stress crack refers to a crack in a vehicle’s windshield explicitly caused by a fluctuation in temperature. Heat causes windshield glass to expand, while cold causes it to shrink rapidly. This places stress on the glass and may very well lead to an eventual crack. Stress cracks are different from other chips and cracks since there is no obvious point of impact, like debris.
Similarly, heat from direct sunlight will warm up both the metal and glass of your car—the metal, however, will heat up faster. Consequently, as the metal frames of your windshield heat faster than the centre of the glass, the glass experiences stress, which leads to cracking.
Can Hot Weather Cause Windshield to Crack?
So, does heat make glass crack more? Yes, and while heat may cause a stress crack, it can also worsen the state of your windshield if the damage is left unattended.
Why a Crack in a Windscreen is Dangerous, Especially in Summer
Here are just some of the reasons why you should never turn a blind eye to windshield damage, especially in summer.
When you drive with a chipped windscreen in summer, you risk the danger of sun dazzle. Sun dazzle describes what happens when the sunlight catches the edge of a chip in the windshield, sending beams of bright light bouncing around the inside of your car. And although this may sound magical, it can be very dangerous while driving as it can temporarily blind and distract you from the road ahead. Police officers can also fine you for driving with a cracked windshield.
A cracked windshield damages the structural integrity of your vehicle. For example, in a rollover accident, the roof is more likely to cave in, increasing the chance of injury or even fatality.
How Do You Know if it’s Time to Repair or Replace?
So, you’ve been driving around with a damaged windscreen for a while, but will a windscreen chip get worse?
When considering the dangers of driving with a cracked windshield, it’s highly advisable to consult professionals for a windscreen crack repair as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your vehicle, getting fined or causing an accident. Repairs are usually affordable and done quickly.
As long as the windshield chip or crack is small, not contaminated by debris, and located away from the windshield’s edge, it should be easy to repair. However, if the crack on your windscreen spreads longer than 7cm, you may have to look at replacing your entire windshield instead.
On the other hand, stress cracks are longer and usually originate from your windshield’s edge. In that case, you will also need to consider replacing your windshield. We highly recommend that you get a chipped windscreen fixed, regardless of how small and insignificant the damage might look like to you.
Under Pressure: How to Avoid Stress Cracks
Here are some ways to prevent the hot weather from further damaging your windshield.
1. Regulate Your Car’s Temperature and Keep Out of Direct Sunlight
To keep your car nice and cool while you’re not using it and to reduce the stress of hot air, keep your car parked in a garage or at least out of direct sunlight.
2. When Sunlight is Unavoidable
Keeping a window slightly open in your car, especially when parked in direct sunlight, will help release some warm air, putting less pressure on the windscreen. Also, consider using a sun reflector to keep as much heat out as possible.
3. Keep Aircon Cool, Not Blasting
Avoid blasting the air conditioning. By adjusting your A/C to cool the car more slowly, you avoid the extreme temperature fluctuations that put stress on your windshield.
4. Wash Your Car with Lukewarm Water
Don’t use hot water. Instead, use lukewarm to wash your car, especially the windows.
How to Slow the Spread of a Windshield Crack
Here are some tips to slow the spread of a windshield crack until you can get it fixed.
Apply Superglue or Clear Nail Polish
First, clean the windshield with an auto glass cleaner and paper towels. Then, as a temporary solution only, apply clear nail polish or superglue to the chip. Allow the polish or glue to dry, placing a piece of clear tape over the area to keep it clean until you can have the chip repaired.
Use a Windshield Repair Kit
Windshield repair kits are available at local hardware stores. This will require making a small hole in the top layer of glass with a 1/16-inch drill bit. Next, the specialised resin from the repair kit is poured into the hole to seal the glass, reduce stress on the windshield, and stop more cracks from forming.
Call in the Pros
Can All Windscreen Chips Be Repaired?
Unfortunately, not all chips and windscreen cracks can be repaired. Therefore, you must act quickly!
Fix That Cracked Windscreen Today: Your Specialists in Perth
Contact us today for all your car windshield repair needs in Perth.