how fast does a windshield crack spread

How Fast does a Windshield Crack Spread? Unraveling the Velocity!

Though the windshield was initially built to protect the driver and passengers from wind and rain, it has evolved to serve many purposes. A modern windshield acts as a safety barrier, providing up to 45% and 60% of the structural integrity of the vehicle’s cabin, respectively, for a front-end collision and rollover. A modern windshield will not break into pieces like regular glass and further damage the people in the cabin in an accident. But still, a windshield can get cracks, and they will spread across it very quickly. This article explains how fast windshield cracks are spared.

What Causes a Windshield Crack to Spread?

Usually, a chip or a crack can appear on the windshield due to a piece of debris hitting it. Whatever the crack type and how small the crack is, this should not be ignored as a crack can spread quickly for the following reasons.

  • Changes in Temperature – once there is a crack in the windshield, expanding and contracting will further unbalance the structure and weaken the glass in the area of the crack or chip. A severe temperature change can also crack a windshield for no other reason.
  • Rough Roads – The chance of spreading a crack is very high when driving on gravel or through potholes. The vibrations transferred from the body to the windscreen can quickly spread the crack.
  • Moisture – The two or more glass layers are fixed together by polyvinyl butyral to form a windshield. When there is a crack in the windshield, water reacts with this chemical and further reduces strength making a cloudy effect.

How Fast does a Windshield Crack Spread?

Modern windshields are built with two or more layers of specially treated laminated glass with plastic layers between them. Because of this feature, a windshield will not break into pieces like regular glass and further damage the people in the cabin in an accident.

Windshield damage is usually in the form of chips or cracks. Due to the safety precautions in manufacturing, the windshield will not shatter and fall, but it will form a star break, bulls-eye, partial bulls-eye, crack chip or pit.

The crack might be tiny, but there is a perfect chance of spreading it rapidly. Changes in Temperature, rough roads and moisture will fuel this process.

Anyhow the spread of a crack will take its own sweet time from immediately to a few days or months. The most advisable thing in a situation like this is to get a windshield repair center without delay.

Why is My Windshield Crack Spreading So Fast?

As explained earlier, there are many reasons why a windshield crack is spreading fast. A cracked windshield should not be exposed to immediate temperature change.

If the vehicle is parked in the hot sun for a couple of hours and puts water on the windshield for washing, there will be a good chance of spreading the cracks quickly or immediately.

If the vehicle is driven carelessly on a bumpy road with potholes, there is a good chance of spreading the crack immediately or quickly due to the vibrations transferred from the body to the windscreen. And if there is more than one crack on the windshield, the spreading possibility of the crack will be high even with low impact from the Temperature and vibrations.

How to Tell If a Windscreen Crack Will Spread?

There are no specific ways to predict whether a windshield crack will spread. But the more minor cracks caused by small stones or other debris are not likely to spread, and the larger cracks to the middle of the windshield are more likely to crack. A crack due to a severe temperature change is more likely to spread.

Another way to determine whether a crack will spread is to examine the microscopic cracks, which will give a good idea of whether a crack will spread. The best way to evaluate whether a windshield crack will spread is to get an assessment from a professional mechanic or auto glass technician.

There are ways to delay the crack spread, which have been discussed in this article in previous chapters.

Can a cracked windshield break when driving

Can a Cracked Windshield Break When Driving?

A windshield can brake while driving as a crack could spread due to further impacts (debris, potholes, Careless driving etc.), Temperature variations and moisture. But it will not shutter as ordinary glass do.

As explained, modern windshields are built with two or more layers of specially treated laminated glass with plastic layers between them.

The plastic layer is a Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) glue layer. Even if the glass brake, they will stick to gather. But glass layers will break into tiny bits, blocking the complete visibility.

How Long Can I Drive with a Crack in My Windshield?

How long a vehicle can be driven depends on various reasons.

  • Crack size & Type – If it is a small crack to the edge of a windshield, it will probably hold on as much as some hrs. to days, even months. But if it is a large crack rapidly spreading, it will grow to a point of no visibility.
  • Exposure Temperature Differences – if the windshield is exposed to temperature differences, the cracks will spread, limiting the driving time.
  • Rough Roads – If the roads are rough (Gravel Roads, Potholes, etc.) or driving carelessly on a rough road can put extra pressure on the vehicle body, which will cause the crack to spread and eventually limit the driving.

Do Windshield Cracks Spread in Heat?

A crack in the windshield is where the structural integrity is lost, and due to an increase in heat, the glass will get expanded, and since the heat cannot be evenly distributed, the windshield will start to spread the crack.

Severe heat conditions will make cracks in the windshield and will quickly spread. This happens especially when the glass layers are not heated evenly, resulting in a different expansion. The same things will happen when the windshield is exposed to low temperatures.

This scenario worsens when the vehicle is cooled (Using Air Conditioning) from the inside when there is a high temperature outside.

Is It Possible to Stop a Windshield Crack from Spreading?

A windshield crack can be stopped from spreading even if repaired successfully, depending on the size of the crack. The repairs include some home remedies as well as professional jobs.

  • Using Super Glue or Nail Polish – Supper glue or nail polish should be only applied after thoroughly cleaning the crack, and you should take necessary care not to apply any cleaning liquid directly into the crack where it can react with the chemicals within the glass layers.

This solution will prevent further damage to some extent but will fully support the harsh conditions the windshield has to undergo due to temperature variations and vibrations.

  • Applying Tape – This will not help spread the crack but will prevent further dirt or debris from finding its way inside.
  • Using a Repair Kit – There are special windshield repair kits in the market which are manufactured especially for this purpose. A professional-level repair can be done by following the instructions in the letter.

Watch this one,

Video Credits – sixtyfiveford

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