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Extreme Cold Can Crack Windshields? It Happens

If you're not careful, the extreme cold can cause your windshield to crack as you're warming up the car.

INDIANAPOLIS —  An Indianapolis man is likely out hundreds of dollars after he says this weekend’s extreme cold shattered his car’s windshield.

Dave Mejean says he was sitting in his car on Sunday with the defroster on when he heard what sounded like a gunshot, followed by his rear windshield shattering.

“I hear this huge pop, bang noise. I thought someone threw something at my car,” Mejean said.

When he couldn’t find any evidence that something had hit his window, Mejean came to the conclusion that the shatter was caused by the extremely cold temperatures.

“I’ve heard of this a little bit but I’ve never experienced it like this,” he said.

Turns out, he was right.

Auto glass experts say cases of extreme temperature variances can trigger windshield breaks and shatters. In this particular case, it was the extremely cold outside temperatures, combined with the heat from Mejean’s vehicle defroster.

“More times than not you’re going to be safe and it doesn’t typically happen. But when you see those variances, and your temperatures drop below zero, or the wind-chill is bad, that’s when you have these types of problems,” said Auto Glass Connection sales director Shea Wynn.

Wynn says often times the breaks are aided by small cracks or chips in the glass that, in some cases, can be difficult to see. During times of extreme cold, Wynn says it’s often best to remove any ice on the windshield first, and then slowly introduce heat.

“Those things can be so small, just the smallest little nick that you don’t even notice, especially if it’s not in your line of vision that can cause all the problems later. And pretty soon you’re replacing a windshield,” he said.

Wynn recommends that drivers should check their windows for small cracks regularly to help prevent those larger problems, adding that small repairs are a lot cheaper and can save the need for a windshield replacement.

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