Have you noticed a crack in your windshield and have no idea how it got there? At Centennial Glass, we fix cracked and chipped windshields every day and have observed several common reasons why our customers’ windshields break.


Below, we’ve outlined the top X causes of windshield cracks, so you have a better idea of how your crack got there, as well as what you can do to avoid future windshield damage. And as always, if you have any further questions or need immediate windshield repair, give us a call!



Hail storms can occur in almost any season in Minnesota. Hail the size of golf balls or even baseballs can impact the front or rear windshield of your car and cause small chips, which can lead to cracks over time. When hail strikes your windshield, your best option is to bring your vehicle to our auto glass repair center to keep the cracks from spreading.


The Windshield Was Incorrectly Installed

Although it’s rare to see a poorly installed windshield from a car manufacturer, it’s not so rare to see a defective windshield replacement. When this occurs, in most cases, a previous technician either ordered the wrong windshield or did not set it into the framework correctly. A poor installation can be dangerous at times when you need window protection during a collision.


Think you might need a new windshield because your existing one was incorrectly installed? Check out 8 Things You Must Do To Ensure Your New Windshield Replacement Lasts for tips on caring for your new auto glass.


Fluctuations in Outdoor Temperature (Above Or Below Freezing)

Temperatures can drastically change in Minnesota during the fall and spring seasons. If the temperature rises from freezing into warmer temperatures within a day, it can affect the outer edges of the window. Leaving your car outside during the summer can also affect the glass if temperatures exceed 100 degrees.


UV Rays

One of the reasons temperatures fluctuate at an accelerated rate is sunlight. The sun’s heat on metal and other materials around the glass can cause the glass edges to expand faster than the middle of the glass. This leads to cracks along the surface and eventually through the center. We recommend parking your car inside or under a shade whenever possible.


Wind Damage

When it’s windy, dust, dirt, and debris, can slam into your car's windshield. Over prolonged exposure, the particles can eventually penetrate the glass surface and cause chips. The good news is that windshield chip repair is fast and easy. Simply bring your car to a reputable auto glass repair shop, and the technicians can buff out the chips before they become cracks.


If you’re not sure what to look for in a quality auto glass service center, check out How to Find the Best Local Auto Glass Repair Shop for a few helpful pieces of advice.


Unsafe Glass De-Icing

When you live in Minnesota, you know you’ll end up removing ice and snow from your vehicle windows at some point during the year. Even if you routinely park indoors, there’s a good chance you’ll end up scraping ice or frost from your windshield at least once or twice during the long winter season.


Although the process of removing snow, frost, and ice from your windshield might not seem like a threat to your auto glass, it can be if you aren’t careful. That’s especially true if you use the wrong tools or heat up a freezing windshield too quickly.


To keep your windshield in great shape throughout every winter season, be sure to check out our top four tips for safely removing ice from your auto glass


Following Other Drivers Too Closely

Following other vehicles too closely is probably the most common cause of mysterious windshield chips and cracks there is. Other vehicles’ tires can easily kick up tiny rocks and other pieces of debris resting on the pavement, and if they do, they can fling that road debris straight at your vehicle. So even if you’re in a tremendous hurry to get somewhere, keep your distance if you want to keep your auto glass damage free.


To help minimize your risk of windshield chips and cracks while you’re behind the wheel, you’ll want to follow the three-second rule. Here’s how to do it:


  • Choose a point along the side of the road (a billboard, a street lamp, a mile marker, etc.).
  • Wait for the vehicle immediately in front of you to pass the point you chose.
  • When the vehicle passes that point, begin counting in seconds. Continue counting until you also pass that point.
  • If you can count to three seconds before you pass the point you chose, you’re giving yourself enough space. If you don’t make it to three, back off a little.


By giving yourself at least three seconds of space, you’re also giving any projectile road debris time to fall back to the pavement, so it doesn’t collide with your windshield. If you want to be extra cautious, stretch that three seconds of space out to five.

Get Quality Windshield Repairs in the Twin Cities

If you live in the Twin Cities metro area and need a cracked windshield repaired, then come by and visit us at Centennial Auto Glass. We offer auto glass replacement, windshield chip repair, and full front and rear windshield replacement for vehicle owners throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro. We also specialize in mobile repair services, so if you can’t come to us, we’ll meet you where you’re at!


To schedule an inspection and repair, call us at 651-653-1777 or request a free quote. Or, feel free to send us a message online with any questions or concerns, and we’ll get in touch promptly.