Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Why Do Car Windows Shatter When They Break?

Car Windows Shatter

Car windows, particularly the door windows, other side windows, and rear windshield, are prone to damage from many different sources. Cracks and other kinds of damage include:

  • Rocks kicked up from passing traffic
  • Stress from improper alignment
  • Stress from an object stuck in the track
  • An accident
  • Vandalism

While the front windshield is made from two layers of safety glass laminated together with a plastic layer between, the side and rear windows are made from a single layer of safety glass. Safety glass is designed in a way that, with a significant impact, it completely shatters into pebble-sized pieces. These tiny bits of glass are much less sharp than typical broken plate glass, and there are no sharp and pointy shards that form when safety glass shatters.

Safety glass is formed through a process known as tempering. The glass is heated, then cooled rapidly. The outside part of the glass is put into a state of compression, while the inside part of the glass is under tension. This process is what causes a glass impact to cause a shattered window when you hit the window.

Because the window shatters instead of cracking, a shattered window will need to be replaced immediately. Some pieces of the shattered window may remain connected and in place, and should be cleared using safety equipment before trying to drive. Also, clean any safety glass up, including vacuuming the seating surfaces and carpet, to prevent the possibility of injury or cuts if you come into contact with the shattered glass.

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

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....
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:...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...


Related questions

Q: fuses blow, check engine light on, compressor needs replacing

As far as the power window fuse, there is obviously a shorted circuit causing the fuse to pop every time. The components of the system must be inspected by an automotive electrical technician to track down the fault. The stalling...

Q: How do I use the mist feature?

The mist feature allows your wipers to wipe away a temporary amount of water, such as when you drive through a patch of mist. When you use this feature, the wipers will wipe only once. To use the mist feature,...

Q: When can children sit in the front seat?

Children can sit in the front seat when they reach a certain age or weight or height. It is important to be up to date on all of your local laws on child seats. To understand when a child can...