Frequently Asked Questions About Stress Cracks on Your Windshield

There are many different types of chips, cracks and breaks that can appear on your windshield. The most common type of damage to a windshield is done by flying debris. But this is not the only way that cracks can develop in your windshield. Stress cracks can also develop and appear. If you have a crack in your windshield, especially if you don't recall debris hitting the windshield, you may have many questions about stress cracks. Here are a few of the most common questions and their answers. 

What Causes a Stress Crack?

The number one cause of stress cracks in a windshield is sudden changes in temperature. If you park your car out in the sun on a hot day and then get in your car and crank up the air conditioner, the sudden temperature change can cause a small stress crack to develop. On the flip side, if your windshield is icy and you pour hot water over it, the sudden temperature shift in that direction can also cause a stress crack to develop. As such, avoid sudden temperature increases or decreases to help prevent stress cracks. 

How Can You Tell If You Have a Stress Crack? 

If you have a crack in your windshield, a pencil test is the easiest way to determine if you have a stress crack or a regular crack. Take a sharpened pencil and trace along the crack. If the pencil dips in or slides into the crack, you have a regular crack that was likely caused by debris. If the pencil does not dip into the glass, you have a stress crack. A stress crack does not extend to the outer layers of your glass, which is why the pencil will not slide or fall into the crack. 

Can Stress Cracks Be Repaired? 

Unfortunately, stress cracks cannot be repaired. There is no way to inject resin inside of a crack that does not extend to the outer layers of the glass. If you have a stress crack, the only way to get rid of it is to replace your entire windshield. This should be done quickly, as a stress crack can affect the strength of your glass. A windshield with a stress crack is more likely to shatter if you are in a car accident. Replacing it helps to ensure the windshield offers you the protection that you need. 

If you have a crack in your windshield, the windshield will either need to be repaired or replaced, depending on the type of crack that is present. When you are unsure how the crack got there or whether repair or replacement is needed, bring your car to a professional auto glass repair shop like Hoosier Glass. They can take a look at your windshield and the damage that is present and determine whether repair or replacement is needed.