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

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
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...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...


Related questions

Q: Window off track

The window glass moves up and down along the tracks by means of the window regulator and motor assembly. The window regulator holds the glass steady and firm and the motor provides the moving operation. A broken connection at the...

Q: How do I use the intermittent wipes?

The intermittent wiper setting allows you to determine how frequently the windshield wipers wipe. Turning on the intermittent wipes is easy: 1. Locate the windshield wiper lever, which protrudes from the right side of the steering column. 2. Push the...

Q: How do you use the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system?

Your Altima is equipped with the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system. It’s designed to help make securing car seats (and your kids) simpler, while adding another layer of safety. Here’s how to use the system. Locate...