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

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...

Related questions

Q: How do I use the power windows?

The power windows allow you to roll down and roll up the windows with just the press of a button. Each door has a power window switch on the door panel, and the driver door panel has four power window...

Q: How do I use the windshield wipers?

The windshield wipers provide much needed visibility in rainy and snowy conditions, by wiping the moisture off of the windows. To use the windshield wipers, first locate the wiper lever, which is on the right side of the steering wheel....

Q: How do I choose the Uconnect language?

The Uconnect voice-activated system is available in English, Spanish, and French. Switching languages requires a few easy steps. Press the Uconnect phone button, which looks like a phone, and is located on either the center console or the steering...