Keeping your vehicle’s windshield protected and intact is an essential piece of auto maintenance every driver should practice. When a hailstorm is forecasted, many drivers worry about their windscreen, but can hail crack or chip a car’s windshield?
Can Hail Damage My Windshield?
Yes! Hail can cause damage whether you’re driving in it or the vehicle is parked outside. A hailstorm can cause cracks in a windscreen, compromising its integrity and requiring repairs or a complete replacement.
Safety Tip: Never try to drive through a hailstorm. Pull over, stay in the car, and wait for it to pass.
Typically, hail has to be about one inch in size or bigger to crack or chip your windscreen, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Once hail causes one crack, the windshield is compromised and becomes more likely to splinter entirely, which is why you should never drive with a cracked windshield.
When Is Hail Most Likely?
If you’re unfamiliar with hail, you might think that it’s most common in winter since it’s frozen rain. However, hail requires moist air conditions, which are rare in wintery and frigid conditions.
Summer, spring, and fall are much more likely to present the conditions necessary for a hailstorm, like humid air conditions and rapid temperature change. If there’s a heavy summer storm in your area, keep an eye out for hail reports!
How Can I Protect My Vehicle from Hail?
The best protection is a covered parking space, like a garage or other covering. If that’s not available to you, a natural barrier such as a tree can help, but only if the wind isn’t strong enough to cause branches to fall on your vehicle.
If there’s no building or trees you can park under, your next best bet is to cover your vehicle with thick blankets. The older and thicker the blankets, the better—don’t forget to weigh or tie them down so they don’t blow away!
What Weather Conditions Can Crack My Windshield?
Unfortunately, a hailstorm isn’t the only type of weather that can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s windscreen if you’re not careful. Any sudden and volatile temperature change in the air can make your vehicle’s windshield more susceptible, so be careful when defrosting the windscreen and never throw hot water on your car to melt ice on the windshield.
High winds are also notorious for causing cracked and chipped windshields. Not only do high winds toss debris like branches, trash cans, and rocks around dangerously, but they can rattle a windshield that’s not correctly installed and cause cracks.
Now you know that hail can indeed crack or chip your windshield and how you can better protect it from damage. Summer in the Midwest is when hailstorms are most common, so keep an eye on the weather forecast and stay safe!