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

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: Tailgate glass off track

Hello. If the rear window comes off track it will usually be due to a faulty window regulator. Some parts of the regulator are made of plastic and the plastic parts will deteriorate over time. If the parts are deteriorated...

Q: Power windows not working.

It is possible that you have a blown the fuse for the power windows. If it is possible for you to easily replace this fuse, it will be shown in the owner's manual of your vehicle. If you are uncomfortable...

Q: Car starts weak and rumbles

As a general rule, car engines do not like cold weather and do not do operate as well in cold weather. When you start your car in the morning and turn the key to on, the coolant temperature sensor immediately...