Can extreme cold crack glass?

It’s a common question – and concern – during the winter months: will extreme cold and bitter temperatures affect my windshield or automotive glass? The short answer is no – low temps or cold conditions alone do not cause windshields to crack. There are, however, certain conditions or actions that can result in that very thing, and if the damage is severe, repair or replacement of your auto glass could be necessary.

It’s important to remember – and follow – a few vital steps when dealing with the cold. Most of all, don’t develop bad habits just because you’re in a rush – shortcuts that seem easy are often the very things that can crack the glass of your windshield, or cause existing damage or chips to expand into a dangerous crack.

First and foremost, never use hot water to defrost your windshield – it can very likely cause a crack. Give yourself a few extra minutes and use your car’s defrost system; it’s the best and most effective option for removing ice from your windshield. This is easier with new cars that are equipped with remote starters, as you can start the process from inside the warmth of your home while your car is still locked. Even without remote start, you can always use your spare set of keys to run the defrost while keeping your vehicle safely locked. Given enough time, this is usually all that is needed to fully defrost your car windows and windshield.

If time or temperatures don’t allow for the defrost system to do its job properly, then scraping is also an option if done correctly. Work by scraping the glass close to its surface; never try to clear ice by hammering it with a scraper in the hopes that ice chunks will just splinter and fall off. Repeated striking a windshield can cause minor cracks to get much bigger, especially in the cold. Hammering your auto glass with the edge of a scraper can also easily cause a chip or small break.

Throughout the winter, remember to check your windshield for existing cracks and chips – even minor damage can be vulnerable to expansion when the temps drop. With the extreme cold we’ve already experienced in Ohio, it’s not uncommon for those to expand into something larger or more severe. If you see any cracks or chips in your auto glass, have it inspected by a professional to avoid more serious damage or expensive repairs.

Jack’s Glass has excelled in glass repair, replacement and design for more than 65 years. Jack’s Glass provides repair and replacement for auto glass and custom solutions shower and tub enclosures and many other residential glass items. We also do custom glasswork for businesses, and proudly serve Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with locations in Elsmere, Covington, Alexandria and Dry Ridge.

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