Dear Mesa Auto Glass,
While I was sitting at a stop light the other day, I noticed some small lines on my windshield. I realized after a second look that they were actually small cracks near the edges of my windshield. I have no idea what they could be from though. They seem too small for something to have hit and break the glass to create them. I have heard this thing called a stress crack though. I was wondering if one of your skilled technicians could explain to me what this is and how I should fix it. I mean, is this something that every car gets and you just have to deal with it or is it a serious problem that I need to get fixed by a professional? I would really appreciate any information you could give me. I do not want to spend money on a new or repaired windshield if it is not needed. Thanks so much for all of your help.
Dear Fractured Glass,
We actually know exactly what you are talking about on your windshield without even having to see it. What you probably have are stress cracks. This probably sounds a little strange, but these cracks actually occur without anything ever hitting your windshield. There are many ways that these stress cracks may come about.
One of the most general ways of stress cracks occurring is from extreme temperature change. For instance, you live in Arizona which has extreme heat during the summer. Most likely, when you enter your car you turn on your air conditioner on high and as cold as possible. Due to this, there is uneven distribution of forces on the windshield which causes the edges of the auto glass to start cracking. You could get these types of cracks fixed, but it will most likely just occur again. Once these stress cracks appear they will most likely come about again even after you try to repair them.
These stress cracks usually occur along the edges of the auto glass. They are usually in a straight line or sometimes just slightly bent. It will also show no sign of impact like a small starburst for instance. This is because it was never hit by anything like we mentioned previously. One great way to figure out if you have a stress crack or a real crack is by doing the pen test. You should simply run a ball point pen against the crack. If the pen dips at any point in the crack it means that a small piece of glass has actually chipped off. If this occurs, then it is not a stress crack and needs to be replaced or repaired immediately.
We hope that all of this information has helped you. We suggest you try the pen test at home. If they are stress cracks then you can either just deal with them or you can have your windshield replaced for it to be safer.