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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.

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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