How to Fix a Cracked Windshield and Other Precautions to Take During the Freezing Winter?

Winter presents numerous challenges in our daily activities. The worst-affected area on our cars is the windshield. At this time of year, the temperature begins to fall and snow can be seen in some areas. Some may believe that auto glass repairs and windshield replacements are nearly impossible in extremely cold weather. Southwest Auto Glass, however, takes great caution with every single repair or replacement job they take on. What they think about when the weather turns cold is as follows:

Glass Temperature:

Due to thermal expansion and contraction, glass needs to be gradually warmed up before a repair can be made in cold weather. Glass can shatter if its temperature changes too rapidly. For example, if you pour hot water on a cold windshield, the glass will likely crack. The use of a hair dryer is the most secure method for warming the glass from outside the vehicle. The dryer should be set to a low heat setting until the glass is warm enough to be repaired, after which it should be switched to a high heat setting as needed to achieve and maintain the appropriate temperature throughout the repair process. 

There is a widespread belief that using the defrosters on high heat to warm the windshield from the inside will cause the glass to become too hot too quickly. This is a common misconception. Defrosters can be useful in extremely cold temperatures to help maintain a constant glass temperature throughout the repair process. This is especially true when used in conjunction with the use of a hair dryer from the outside. Although heating from the outside is preferred, using defrosters in extremely cold temperatures can be beneficial. If the car had been running for some time before you started working on the windshield, the defrosters were probably already set to a high heat setting when you started, which will prevent the glass from misting up and allow you to continue working on the windshield without interruption. If the car hasn’t been running right before you start working on it, the defrosters will blow cold air at first and gradually warm up as the engine temperature rises, so cranking them up to full blast is fine.

No matter the method used, the windshield’s temperature should be raised to within the range specified by the manufacturer. In almost any circumstance, covering the area to be repaired and directing warm air inside is an excellent way to attain and maintain the correct glass temperature. Maintaining the ideal glass temperature is no longer a guessing game when a thermometer is used to track the temperature of the glass prior to and throughout the repair process. You can check the temperature of the glass without an infrared thermometer by placing your hand against it; if the glass is cold to the touch, it needs to be warmed before you continue. If the glass is too hot to handle comfortably, you should wait for it to cool down.

Measurement of Resin Temperature:

It is also important to think about the temperature of the resin you will be using when repairing something in cold weather. It’s crucial to avoid injecting either cold or warm resin into a hot or cold glass, as doing so can cause cracks. If at all possible, keep resin at room temperature, and let the windshield warm up slowly to the ideal range of temperatures for best results and to prevent cracks. If the resin is left out in temperatures below freezing for an extended period of time, the substance may either solidify or become more viscous. In the event that this occurs, wait until the resin has cooled to room temperature before attempting to use it.

It is essential that the temperature of the glass and the resin be within 10 degrees Fahrenheit (or 5 degrees Celsius) of each other in order to reduce the possibility of experiencing thermal shock during the process of injecting the resin into the glass. In order to achieve a temperature range that is within acceptable parameters, the cold resin can be warmed using a hair dryer or the defroster while the glass is being warmed. It is not a good idea to store resin in your pocket in order to keep it warm. If the bottle breaks, the resin may come into contact with the user’s skin.

Cracked windshields are no cause for alarm in the winter because professionals can take care of the problem. However, in order to keep your car in good working order and your windshield in good shape, you should follow the advice below. 

Scrape your windshield with the proper tools:

  • – Always use a windshield ice scraper when clearing your windshield
  • – Avoid using broken or homemade scrapers that can scratch windshields

Always scrape in the right way:

  • – Turn on the defroster and let it do its job; hot water is NOT a suitable replacement.
  • – The windshield should be scraped from the side, not the top or bottom.

Before you begin driving:

  • – Scrape and defrost the entire windshield. Even though you’re in a hurry, clearing out just a small section of the window won’t prevent it from blocking your view once you hit the road. 
  • – Keep your car’s reservoir of windshield washer fluid topped off at all times. Keep some in the car’s trunk in case you unexpectedly need it. It’s easy to forget about windshield wiper fluid until you run out.
  • – Always make sure your windshield wipers are in good working order and replace them if they are not.

Fix any damage to the windshield:

  • – In colder temperatures, cracks and chips are more likely to widen and become dangerous.
  • – Moisture can seep into cracks when it warms up or defrosts, refreezes, and thaws.

Despite all precautions, if you find yourself in a situation where you have a chip or crack in your windshield, call Southwest Auto Glass at 915-595-4444 to schedule an appointment in El Paso, Texas, Las Cruces, and Alamogordo, NM. We are here to assist you with any and all windshield problems.