Summer is here, the sun is shining and the weather is incredibly warm, which is a great excuse to take the car out on a day trip.
However, whilst most damage that requires the use of windscreen replacement services tends to happen in the winter months as the result of snow, ice and temperature changes, extra-hot summers can actually cause damage to your glass as well, which can be very dramatic in nature.
The most major, and thankfully the rarest example is when a windscreen will dramatically crack into many pieces when exposed to direct sunlight.
This is caused by a phenomenon known as a thermal fracture, and it is less about the overall heat of the glass but that there are dramatic differences between different points of the glass. The heat makes the glass expand from the central point of the heat outward to the edges.
Once it reaches a certain limit the glass simply breaks and shatters. If you have ever tried to use boiling water to thaw out a windscreen and caused a gaping crack on the glass, it happens for the same reasons direct sunlight damages the glass.
What can intensify the effect is the black ceramic that surrounds the seal holding the glass in place. Black absorbs heat, which transfers to the glass.
Typically it is rare for a British summer to be hot enough to cause this. However, with temperatures that have hit over 30 degrees Celcius, prolonged sunlight can be very bad for the car’s glass.
As well as thermal fracture, it can also warp the glass, which can itself cause cracks once it reaches a certain level.
To avoid this damage, try to park outside of direct sunlight whenever possible. Whilst being out of the sun is desirable anyway in order to stop the interior being unbearable, it will also reduce the damage to your glass.
As well as this, try to cool the interior of your car gradually. The glass changing from cold to hot and then back to cold again can cause extra stress and strain on the glass and risk it cracking.
Set the air conditioner to low at first and gradually build it up as you drive along. As well as this, avoid slamming the doors as the extra stress can also cause what would be a harmless slam to crack the glass as well.
As well as this, it is important to watch for other potential causes of windscreen damage such as chips, gravel and extreme wind and weather conditions.
Once a crack appears on your windscreen, the structural integrity of it is compromised, and heat and sun damage can exacerbate the damage a crack can cause quicker than if the chip occurred during a cooler season.
It can also cause issues with attempts to repair the crack, due to the deep level of damage caused by solar absorption, which may require a wholesale replacement of the glass.
Driving with a broken windscreen is against the law, as windows and windscreens need to be clean, clear and free of obstructions.