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You’re driving down the road. You’ve got your family or some groceries in the back seat, and you’re headed home after a long day. AND SUDDENLY YOUR BACK WINDSHIELD JUST EXPLODES!

Of course, you may swerve around a bit on the road, but eventually, you come to a safe stop, breathing hard. After a thorough investigation, you determine that nothing at all hit your car’s back windshield. It just shattered on its own. So why did this happen?

The reason your back window seemed to shatter out of nowhere is complicated, but it essentially comes down to this: A while ago, something caused a small crack or chip in your window. This essentially turned your back window into a ticking time bomb that would explode after the right set of circumstances took place.

But why would a small breakage that happened a while ago cause your window to shatter now? Here is a more in-depth explanation of why your back window seemed to shatter for no reason:

Understanding Tempered Glass

To understand why your back window shattered as it did, it’s first important to learn about tempered glass. The side and back windows of almost every car are made from tempered glass, and there’s a reason: tempered glass is infinitely safer than regular glass.

When tempered glass breaks — such as during an accident — it disintegrates into millions of little balls that do not have jagged edges to cut you. This also makes it easier to clean up. You can just vacuum up the tiny balls of glass sleet. No worries.

Another reason automotive manufacturers prefer tempered glass is that it is four or five times stronger than standard glass panes. Tempered glass may be referred to as “safety glass”. It has become the ideal automotive glass choice for many manufacturers and consumers.

Why Tempered Glass Explodes Suddenly

Nothing hit the glass right before it “exploded” into all of those tiny glass pellets. The key phrase there is “right before”.

At some point in the life of your auto glass, it was struck by something, somewhere. Tempered glass withstands a lot of abuse in its life, and it holds up to a lot more than standard glass panes. The thing is, it’s not impervious. It may hold up while we need it to, like when that wood-chip truck was barreling down the highway and flinging bite-sized tree-based missiles at your car.

However, tempered glass expands and contracts with changes in temperature — just like any other glass does. When the glass is whole and intact, this expansion and contraction is completely harmless and unnoticeable. But when there’s a chip or crack in it, the glass gets continuously more damaged with every expansion and contraction. Eventually, this causes it to shatter as though it had just been struck by something large. Oftentimes, this will occur on the road since the vibrations from you driving can exacerbate the problem.

Now, with all of that being said, Tempered glass is still the best option for vehicles on the road today. It usually does not cause damage to people or possessions because of its breakage pattern, and it usually does not break at the moment of impact, which keeps you safer in a wreck or other dangerous situation. A few hours of vacuuming up tiny glass BBs is not that big a price to pay, all things considered.

Investigating the Cause of a Shattering Car Rear Window: Can It Break on Its Own

Are you concerned because the rear window in your car has shattered? You might be surprised if it shattered without anything striking it. Can it break on its own? The answer is that it is possible for the rear window in your car to shatter unexpectedly. There are several possible reasons why this might have happened. They include:

  • Damage to the edge. There might be some chips, cracks, and other issues around the edges of your glass window that you might not have seen. Gradually, other stressors from the environment can place a tremendous amount of stress on areas that have already been damaged, eventually causing them to shatter.
  • Stress from temperature changes. If you live in an area where the temperature can change quickly, it could cause your rear window to shatter. If you are exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures, it can cause the class to expand and contract. Eventually, the glass’s strength could drop, and the rear window could shatter.
  • Changes in the window frame. If the frame of the rear window has changed due to damage, it could impact the cushioning your rear window gets. Then, driving vibrations, heat transfer from the frame of the vehicle, and excess pressure being placed on the frame could eventually cause your rear window to shatter.

These are just a few of the biggest reasons why you might have a rear window that has shattered. What do you need to do in this situation?

What to Do When Your Back Windshield Shatters Unexpectedly

If your rear window shatters unexpectedly when you drive, it can be shocking and surprising. It is important for you not to panic. Instead, pull the car over to a safe location, reach out to the authorities for help, and start documenting what happened immediately. You should also take some pictures of what happened and where you are located.

You may also want to reach out to your insurance company, as there is a chance that the cost of replacing your rear window could be covered by your insurance policy. Of course, you also need to find someone who can work with you to repair your rear window and replace the glass, and that is where our team can help you.

We can help you figure out why your rear window shattered, and we can help you replace it. Count on our experts to assist you.

If your car window is broken or chipped and you want to get it replaced, visit Advanced Auto Glass today. We have two locations — one in Fort Worth and one in Weatherford. And if your car is unsafe to drive, we can even bring the replacement glass to you. Contact us today to learn more about our auto glass repair and replacement services.

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