How Does the Weather Affect My Windshield?

Road debris, small pebbles, rapid changes in temperature, oh my! All these and more are common reasons for your windshield to crack. But how does the weather affect your windshield? What can you do to protect yourself and your vehicle?

Hail and Ice – Not so Nice

Don’t worry about rain – all it does is provide a nice, free pre-wash for your vehicle. However, frozen rain is a different story. Whether it’s hail during a storm, or a gorgeous, yet treacherous icicle crashing onto your windshield, both can cause serious damage to your vehicle’s exterior.

Unfortunately, this is not just a winter problem. Hail and ice storms are more common in the winter, but as we know, Kansas weather likes to keep us on our toes. So, don’t be too shocked if – or when – we have a sudden drop in the temperature and pressure, leading to a summer hailstorm.

Sudden Changes in Temperature

Not only can sudden temperature changes yield hailstorms, but they can cause other issues, too.
If you have been cruising around with a small chip, hoping it will just go away on its own, unfortunately, the only likely change is for it to increase in size, not decrease.

What Happens to Windshield Chips and Cracks in Cold Weather?

The colder it is outside, the more likely it is that your windshield’s chip will develop into a long, unsightly – and dangerous – crack. Cold weather causes glass molecules to draw close together, making your windshield brittle and more prone to chips and cracks.

Furthermore, water and snow can collect inside chips and cracks, refreeze, and do some serious damage when expanding inside the glass.

What Happens to Windshield Chips and Cracks in Hot Weather?

Warm weather can pose issues, too. However, we’re not talking about mild, sunny days in late April. It’s the extreme heat of July and August that typically causes issues for drivers in Kansas and Missouri, namely with cracked windshields.
Think of how water reacts to temperature. Believe it or not, glass reacts in a similar way. When glass molecules get hot, they tend to move around at high speeds. As a result, the space between its molecules increases, causing the glass to expand.
If your windshield has no cracks and was properly installed, you shouldn’t have any issues even during severe weather conditions.
However, if you find yourself in the middle of extreme cold or heat with a windshield crack creeping and crawling each day, be sure to get it inspected by a trusted repair shop like Auto Glass and Tint Shop.

Powerful Winds and Natural Disasters

Heavy winds can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable. In the event of a tornado, your first thought won’t be about protecting your windshield; instead, you’ll be seeking safety and shelter for yourself and your family. But once the chaos has cleared, be sure to have an expert inspect your windshield for cracks or structural damage that may have occurred during the storm.

Protect Yourself and Your Windshield from Extreme Weather Conditions

In a perfect world, everyone would have the power to just snap their fingers and create a protective bubble around their vehicle during extreme weather conditions. (Or perhaps, if it’s a perfect world, there wouldn’t be extreme weather… but we digress). Unfortunately, we do not live in a science fiction movie, so all we have are standard, moderately sturdy garages, which are not always accessible depending on our physical location or living circumstances, so we have to flex our resources accordingly.

If you find yourself out on the road during an intense storm, take proper precautions, depending on the weather conditions. The best thing you can do is to be situationally aware and always be prepared. This means checking the forecast daily and keeping emergency supplies in your vehicle.

The National Safety Council recommends keeping the following in your vehicle at all times:

  • A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod jack
  • Jumper cables
  • Tool kit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
  • Compass
  • First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, non-latex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers, and instant cold compress
  • Nonperishable, high-energy foods, such as unsalted nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy
  • Drinking water
  • Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help
  • Car charger for your cell phone
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Duct tape
  • Rain poncho
  • Additional items for cold weather include a snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction, and blankets

The Weather Channel recommends the following advice for staying safe during a tornado if you’re away from home and in your car:

  • If you can safely drive away from the tornado, do so.
  • If there is a sturdy structure available, go inside.
  • If no building is available, it might be better to pull over, stop the car (but leave it running so the airbags work), and crouch down below the windows. The airbags and frame of the car will offer some amount of protection, but certainly not absolute safety.
  • A long-standing safety rule has been to get out of the car and into a ditch. If you do that, you should get far enough away from the car that it doesn’t tumble onto you. Being below the prevailing ground level may shield you from some of the tornado wind and flying debris, but there is still danger from those.
  • Do NOT get out of a vehicle and climb up under the embankment of a bridge or overpass. This often increases your risk.

Request a Free Quote Today!

At Auto Glass and Tint Shop in Kansas City, we are experts on fixing vehicle-related issues caused by Kansas weather. From repairing minor chips, to replacing entire windshields – and everything in between – we’ve got you covered. Don’t wait for that minor chip to grow into a huge problem; request a free quote today and you’ll be driving safely and in style faster than you can say, “tornado alley!

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