Few things can be more disappointing than noticing a cracked windshield when you pull into a campsite or get back to the trailhead after a weekend in the woods. Unfortunately, driving on gravel trail access roads can put your vehicle in harms way. This, combined with the temperature fluctuations the windshield is exposed to at some higher altitude camping spots can all cause a miniscule chip to become a larger crack. The following tips can help you minimize the damage until you get back to town.
Tip #1: Turn Off the Defrost
Blasting your window with hot or cold air can make a crack worse. This is because the rapid temperature change can cause the glass to contract or expand, leading to a large crack. If your windows are icy or fogged up, turn the heat on low but do not turn it to defrost. Gradually increase the fan speed as the temperature rises. If this isn't enough to thaw out the windows or unfog them, you can then turn on the defrost to the lowest setting, but turn it off as soon as you can see through the windshield.
Tip #2: Keep Moisture Out
This tip works especially well if you notice the chip before setting off down the trail. Moisture can get into the crack and freeze, causing it to expand and create a bigger crack. Many hikers carry duct tape as an all-purpose fix it in their packs. Pull out the duct tape and stick a small piece over the chip to keep the moisture out. You can even use a piece of medical tape from your first aid kit if that is all you have. If the tape doesn't obstruct your view, feel free to leave it in place until you can get a repair.
Tip #3: Insulate It
Sometimes the problem isn't cold, but heat. If you are worried about the differences in the hot car interior and cooler outside air temp, then try and mitigate the issue. Your first option is to cover the windshield with a reflective sun shade. Place it on the outside of the car and use your windshield wipers to hold it in place. If you don't have a shade, you can use anything else you happen to have – such as a towel, extra camping pad, or even a sheet of cardboard from a box you had in your trunk. It's also a good idea to park so the windshield isn't facing the rising or setting sun.
For more information, contact Martin Glass Company or a similar company.