One of the most critical aspects of a vehicle that often gets overlooked is the windshield. It not only provides a clear view of the road but also protects the occupants of the vehicle from the elements and debris. However, windshields are susceptible to damage, which can result in different types of cracks. According to recent statistics, around 13-14 million windshields are replaced each year in the United States due to damage. This post aims to provide detailed information about various types of windshield cracks and their causes.
Understanding Different Types of Windshield Cracks
Broadly speaking, there are several types of windshield cracks. Each type has unique characteristics that distinguish it from others. It is essential to understand these differences for effective and timely repair or windshield replacement, which contributes significantly to your safety on the road.
Bull’s Eye or Partial Bull’s Eye Cracks
The Bull’s Eye crack is one of the most common types often seen on vehicle windshields. It gets its name from its resemblance to a bull’s eye target. This damage usually occurs when a high-impact object hits the windshield directly. The result is a circular, bowl-shaped break on the outer layer of the glass, leaving the inner layer intact. A Partial Bull’s Eye crack is very similar but is not entirely circular and has damage on only a part of the glass.
A star crack is another typical type of windshield crack that can be identified by the small cracks spreading outwards from the point of impact, much like rays emanating from a star – hence its name. These breaks usually happen when something sharp, rather than blunt, hits your windshield.
Crack Chip or Ding
A crack chip or ding is a small crack that appears on the windshield. It is generally a single crack, but it may also appear as a small pit in the glass. This type of damage usually happens due to the impact of small stones or debris, especially while driving on gravel roads or behind vehicles transporting construction material.
Long cracks are serious problems and can extend over more than half of your windshield. They often start from an edge of the windshield and extend towards the other side. If left unattended, these cracks can spread and lead to a significant safety risk.
Causes of Windshield Cracks
Now that we have discussed various types of windshield cracks, let us look at some common causes. Understanding these causes can help you take preventive measures and avoid potential damage.
The most common cause of cracks in windshields is impact damage. This can happen due to various reasons such as flying debris when driving, hail, or even something as simple as a bird hitting the windshield. The degree of damage generally depends on the speed at which your vehicle is moving and the size and weight of the object causing the impact.
Sudden changes in temperature can also lead to cracks in your windshield, especially if there are already tiny chips present. Rapid heating or cooling causes the glass to expand or contract, leading to stress and eventually cracks.
A poorly installed windshield can easily get damaged under stress. If the glass is not correctly fitted, it may not be able to withstand regular driving conditions like bumps or potholes, leading to cracks over time.
Aging cars or those involved in accidents might have structural weaknesses that make the windshield more prone to cracking. The weak point in the windshield can eventually lead to the development of cracks.
To conclude, various types of cracks can occur on your vehicle’s windshield, each with unique characteristics and causes. Whether it is a Bull’s Eye crack from a direct impact or a Long Crack due to stress over time, each needs immediate attention for repair or replacement for the safety of the vehicle’s occupants. Understanding these differences and causes can help you take the necessary preventive actions and quickly identify when it is time to repair or replace your windshield. Remember, the health of your windshield is integral to your safety on the road.