Winter Auto Glass Care: Preventing Windshield Chips and Cracks



Winter brings a slew of challenges for drivers, not least among them is the increased risk of a windshield crack in cold weather. Glass, when exposed to frigid temperatures, becomes less flexible and more brittle. This means that when a chip in the windshield is present, the cold can cause it to quickly turn into a significant crack. The key to preventing such damage lies in understanding the factors that contribute to windshield cracks in winter and how to mitigate them.

Windshield crack in winter

Let’s start with the basics. Windshield glass is designed to withstand a great deal, but like all materials, it has its breaking point—literally. A scratched windshield, for instance, may seem like a minor nuisance, but it can actually be a precursor to more serious damage when winter arrives. The small grooves or indentations from scratches can collect water, which then freezes and expands in cold weather, causing the windshield to crack.

How to prevent windshield from cracking in the winter?

To specifically prevent windshield from cracking in the winter, you should consider the following:

Immediate Repairs

Address chips and scratches immediately. Small chips can expand rapidly in the winter, so having them filled by a professional as soon as they are spotted can save you the cost and hassle of a full windshield replacement later.

Smart De-icing

In winter, windshields often need de-icing. However, using boiling water for this task can result in a thermal shock, leading to a windshield crack. Always use cold to lukewarm water or, better yet, a commercial de-icing agent and a proper ice scraper. Defrosters are also a safe bet, but give them time to gently warm the glass.

Quality Wiper Blades

Wiper blades can degrade over time, leading to a scratched windshield if they are not replaced when worn. Make sure to use wipers that are in good condition and appropriate for winter use. Frozen wipers can also stick to the glass, and forcing them off can cause damage, so it’s essential to defrost your windshield thoroughly before using them.

Proper Cleaning Tools

Always use a brush designed for snow and ice removal instead of random objects that can scratch the glass. Scratches can quickly turn into cracks when the temperature drops.

Avoid Temperature Extremes

Try to regulate the temperature of your windshield gradually. Heating up or cooling down too rapidly can cause stress cracks. When using your vehicle’s heating system, increase the temperature slowly.

Windshield Covers

Consider using a windshield cover overnight to protect from frost and ice accumulation, which can cause stress to the glass.

Safe Parking

If possible, park your vehicle in a garage or under a carport. Shielding your windshield from the elements can greatly reduce the risk of damage.

Driving Distance

Keep a safe following distance when driving behind other vehicles, especially on highways or roads where debris or gravel could be thrown up and cause a chip or crack.

Professional Installation

If your windshield does need to be replaced, ensure it is done by a certified professional to guarantee that the seal is correct and the glass is the proper type for your vehicle.

Use Quality Glass

When repairs are needed, opt for high-quality glass that is more resistant to temperature-related stress.

Insurance Check

Make sure your auto insurance policy covers glass damage. This will allow you to deal with chips and cracks quickly and without additional financial stress.

Avoid Rough Roads

When possible, avoid roads that are in poor condition. Uneven terrain, potholes, and gravel can cause chips that are exacerbated by winter conditions.

Regular Inspections

Schedule regular checks with your mechanic to assess the condition of your windshield as well as the integrity of its seals and molding.

Windshield cracks in winter can create significant problems beyond just the cosmetic. They can impair the driver’s visibility, compromise the structural integrity of the vehicle, and in some cases, lead to legal issues if the crack obstructs the driver’s field of vision. Therefore, taking the steps to avoid windshield cracks is not just about maintaining your car’s appearance, but also about ensuring safety.


By taking care of chips and scratches promptly, you can often avoid the conditions that lead to a windshield crack in cold weather. Regular maintenance, combined with a few winter-specific habits, can extend the life of your windshield significantly.

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Schedule Your Glass Repair Today

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