The nice weather of summer can be great for barbecues, pool parties and more, but it can be hard on your windshield. Your windshield is more likely to crack—and cracks are more likely to spread—when the temperature changes. Temperature changes cause glass to expand and contract, which can make your windshield a bit more fragile. Likewise, many of us are on the road more in the summer as we travel on vacations, to visit family or just make runs to the local pool. All of this leads to an increase in broken windshields that will need to be replaced.
Hot Temperatures Stress Windshields
Temperatures swings can put extra stress on the windshield and make it more prone to breaks. Likewise, if the glass cools too quickly this also can cause stress on the windshield. Experts recommend that you take your time in cooling your vehicle’s interior (and therefore the glass) so that cracks are less likely to expand. This might mean turning on your air conditioner to low at first, instead of going full-steam at once when you turn on your car. Also, many say you should be careful about slamming your doors too hard, as even this type of jarring can lead to increased stress on the glass.
More Travel Means More Broken Windshields
While the sun may stress your windshield, summer time is often a time for people to de-stress themselves. More vacations mean more road travel, and more road travel means more broken windshields. Last August, U.S. road travel was up 3.4 percent over the previous year—with a total of nearly 285 billion miles driven by vehicles in the United States. So as you plan your summer road trips, keep in mind that anytime you are on the road, the probability of a broken windshield increases. Combine this with the above stress issue, and you have a recipe for a rising number of broken windshields.
Watch Your Windshield for Damage
You can’t control the temperature, so what should you do? First, keep a close watch on your windshield. Inspect it often. If you get a crack or a chip in your windshield, the hot temperatures can cause the chip or crack to expand more quickly.
As soon as you see a chip or crack appear in the summer, you will want to get it fixed. If you do so quickly enough, it can sometimes be repaired (without having to have the entire windshield replaced). In a repair, a special kind of resin is injected into the break to keep the crack or chip from spreading. The crack or chip likely will still be visible after repaired, but this will at least save your windshield—which is good for both the environment and your pocketbook.
However, if the crack or chip expands beyond the point of repair, the entire windshield will need to be replaced. This is why it’s important to watch the windshield closely and ensure that you are aware of any chips or cracks as soon as they appear, and contact an auto glass shop quickly to check out the damage.
If the windshield does break beyond repair, you will want to account for this when it is replaced. Many urethanes (the substance used to bond a windshield to the vehicle) can only be used under certain temperatures and humidity conditions. You will want to ask the technician doing the work if the urethane being used is appropriate for the hot weather, or find out if there is an indoor location at which the work can be completed.
Additionally, you’ll want to pay attention to the Safe Drive Away Time (SDAT) (also known as Minimum Drive Away Time or MDAT)—the time that your vehicle needs to allow the adhesive to cure before it can be driven after a windshield replacement. The MDAT can vary depending on the outside humidity and temperature, and your technician should provide details about this to you. (Conversely, if you are getting your windshield replaced on an extremely cold day, this can affect the SDAT as well. Any extreme temperatures, hot or cold, need to be accounted for—and you should ask your technician for details on the type of urethane that is used.)
The company you choose to replace your windshield may even ask you to come into the shop or your garage can be used so that the work can be completed indoors (and at an appropriate temperature). If an indoor bay, garage or shop isn’t available, the shop may simply suggest you wait another day or two, until the weather conditions change.
What Now?Get an Estimate
If you do find yourself in need of a summer windshield repair or replacement (or anytime for that matter), there are many quality auto glass businesses out there available to replace your windshield. Glass.com has affiliate shops all over the United States ready to replace your glass when needed. We let you compare instant price quotes from the hops in your area and book with the shop that’s right for you. You will want to make sure you get the best deal, to allow you more money for those summer vacations.