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Safe driving is always important, but winter can pose unique driving hazards for Minnesota drivers with all of the extra winter precipitation and icy streets. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure your windows are completely clear of any cracks or damage. And unfortunately, the extreme temperature changes during winter tend to cause cracks to expand.

In this post from Zenith Auto Glass in Duluth/Superior, we’re breaking down some of the most common reasons for auto glass repairs. To schedule your windshield crack repair service, give us a call today.


When you think of a busted or cracked car windshield, what do you think of? Chances are you imagine a rock on the highway or a broken tree branch. However, the causes of windshield damage aren’t always so obvious, and that’s often because cracks can start off as tiny chips that are almost undetectable.

By the time you notice that there’s damage to your windshield, it can seem like it just appeared overnight with no obvious cause. To comprehend why this happens, it’s important to understand the structure of a window.

Unlike windows made from a single pane of glass, car windshields are manufactured using several layers of laminated safety glass, including both glass and plexiglass. Typically, most modern windshields consist of two curved glass sheets with a plastic layer between them. The entire windshield is then bonded into the window frame.

Although automotive windshields are made to be incredibly durable and shatterproof, exposure to extreme temperature changes can interfere with their performance. Anytime there is a drastic temperature difference between the inner and outer layers, this can cause the sheets of glass to expand and contract at different rates.

If a windshield has even a tiny crack, this thermal tension can cause it to grow and worsen significantly over time.


These are some of the most common reasons for automotive windshield damage:

1.    Window Pitting

If you’re spending a lot of time on the highway during the winter months, your windshield can end up becoming pitted. This occurs when small particles of gravel, sand, and ice regularly impact a windshield while you’re driving down the road.

Pitted windshields can cause a driver’s view to be less clear and distort your vision. But when left unrepaired, they also increase the chance that your windshield will crack or become chipped.

2.    Loose Windshield

If your windshield or window is rattling or loose, it needs to be replaced right away. This typically occurs when the vehicle has been through an impact that left the glass intact but damaged the window seal. The best fix is to remove the old glass and add a new seal.

3.    Object Impact

Small object impacts at high speeds often lead to chips and small cracks in a windshield that can worsen over time. And whether you’re driving down the road and something flies off of a vehicle in front of you, or your vehicle is damaged while parked in your own driveway, a large object impact constitutes an emergency. Luckily, we offer emergency windshield replacement services at Zenith Auto Glass!

4.    Stress Damage From High Winds

Storms can be wild in Minnesota, often bringing straight-line winds that hit tornadic wind speeds. When the pressure from these high wind speeds is significant enough, it can cause stress fractures in your windshield or side windows.

5.    Vandalism and Theft

There’s really not much worse than coming out to your car after an afternoon of holiday shopping only to find the side window completely busted out. Even if the thieves didn’t get away with much, you’re left with a broken window and a shaken sense of security.

To reduce your chance of vandalism or a car break-in, try to park only in well-lit parking lots, especially where security cameras are nearby. Keep valuable items hidden out of sight as these can make tempting targets for thieves. Finally, consider upgrading your insurance policy and installing a car alarm. If you do end up needing your side window replaced right away, give Zenith Auto Glass a call for fast mobile repair services.

6.    Car Accidents

Even if you’re the world’s most careful driver, chances are fairly good that you’ll eventually end up in an auto accident. And car accidents frequently result in shattered car windows even when driving at relatively lower speeds because of the pressure an impact can exert on your glass.

7.    Pressure from Weight

Believe it or not, we’ve seen our fair share of stress cracks from people climbing on vehicles. Any amount of pressure around the edge of a windshield can cause the window to become damaged. Photoshoots on top of car hoods might look cool, but the right pressure in the right place on your windshield can end up costing you money.


Understanding the difference between replacement and repairs is crucial to help you make the right decision. One of the most common issues owners have is to put off small cracks or chips, but when the problem with these starts to grow due to outside elements, it can turn into a much more challenging scenario.

Damage to the window can become a hazard, and one of the biggest reasons repairs are postponed due to the cost. A repair will be less expensive than a replacement, but putting off fixing the damage could result in purchasing a new windshield. There are several key things to consider in helping you determine whether you need to replace or repair the windshield, and typically some indicators for repair are:

●        The vehicle safety is not compromised by the repair

●        The damage is minor, and for a chip about the size of a bullseye and a crack less than a few inches

●        The only damage is on the outer layer

●        The damage is not near the edge of the glass

A replacement will need to be considered if:

●        There’s damage to the inner layer of glass

●        The chip or crack is large

●        Multiple damaged areas

●        Driving visibility is challenging

●        The outer glass has damage

A few other considerations to make is if the chips or cracks are superficial, most likely they can be repaired. But if you find that the glass is penetrated from the damage, it will need to be replaced. In addition, If the areas of concern are close to the edge of the windshield, this is known as the margin. Because of the location, it’s more common for bumps, vibrations, and movement while the vehicles are in motion to make this damage worse and compromise the windshield’s structural integrity.


With winter right around the corner, getting those minor cracks and chips repaired right away is more important than ever. To schedule convenient windshield chip repair from Zenith Auto Glass, give us a call at 218-275-5555 or contact us online today.