Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Can Extreme Cold Temperatures Break Car Windows and Windshields?

Extreme Cold Temperatures

Your windshield and other windows are extremely important parts of your vehicle’s structural integrity. They provide rigidity in the body and prevent vehicle sway, much like the sway bar does underneath. But once your windows are compromised, they can crack or shatter. The following situations can lead to cracked or shattered windows:

  • Stone chip in one of the windows
  • Crack in the glass
  • Stress from an improper installation
  • Pressure from misalignment

No matter what it is, if there is a flaw in your window it can crack or shatter when the temperature drops.

How extreme cold affects the glass

Extreme cold temperatures cause everything to contract. Metal, rubber, sealant, and even glass are subject to expansion and contraction in any temperature difference. When your glass is exposed to extreme cold, there won’t be a problem if your glass is in good condition and installed correctly. Even though the glass will contract at a different rate than the metal, the sealant that holds the window has enough flexibility to allow the windshield to maintain its integrity. There is more stress on the glass, but its structure is able to withstand the pressure.

If your glass is chipped or cracked, the extra pressure on the glass can cause your window or windshield to crack or shatter, though it is more common for cracks to form than for the window to shatter. The crack will typically form from the point of weakness and extend towards the edge, but not always.

If the windshield is improperly installed, such as being replaced when the car is not on level ground, there can be stress on the window already, even without factoring in the extreme cold. Once the window is exposed to cold temperatures, the extra stress can crack the window. This type of crack usually forms from the outer edge and stretches into the center of the glass.

Because your window can break in extreme cold weather, it is very important to have any damaged windows replaced as soon as possible.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....


Related questions

Q: Why headlights shouldn't be touched with fingers

He was telling you the truth. What happens is, are hands can be very oily without us noticing. When that oil gets on the bulb glass, those bulbs get super hot. Then that oil starts to burn to the higher...

Q: Convertible top doesn't work

Hello. If these both stopped working at the same time then you may have a bad connection. I have had the top on this vehicle end up causing some broken wiring due to contact with the harness. I typically have...

Q: My car want start when cold Without acceleration

On a car of this age, make sure all engine maintenance (plugs, wires, filters) is up to date and change the fuel filter. If the difficulty still persists, a hard starting diagnostic, performed by YourMechanic, would identify the issue. Possible...