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Summer is probably the most exciting season for most Americans. Our kids get a break from school; we take to beach and road trips. However, extreme heat and drought can also cause a lot of fear and heartbreak. Extreme heat is also hard on our cars. A recent reminder of the power of summer weather is the many drivers who woke up to shattered car windows and cracking roads. 

Can extreme heat hurt your car? 

This past week and weekend, many areas of the country saw an oppressive triple-digit heatwave. According to CBS News, one WCCO viewer named Emily reported that she came out to her car to find her rear windshield shattered yesterday morning. 

According to CBS, Eli Padilla with LaMettry’s Collision in Inver Grove Heights in Minnesota says extreme heat, wind, and pressure can sometimes do that to tempered glass.

“Lots of times, even if you have a small crack or rock chip on the glass already, it’ll have a starting breaking point that way,” Padilla said. 

Heat and humidity cause many materials to expand. This expansion is fine for more flexible materials like cloth, wood, and metals. However, harder materials such as glass struggle with these fluctuations. Making matters worse, the heat also expands moist air inside the car. This can build pressure, which eventually must escape. 

What should you do to keep your car safe from the heat? 

Extreme Heat Settles Over California
Extreme heat settles over California | Mario Tama/Getty Images

Of course, parking indoors or at least in the shade, when possible, when not only combat the shattering car windows but will also keep your car’s paint safe, soft parts like hoses and bushings working longer, and cut down on expanding and contracting fuel in your lines and gas tank

Keeping our cars’ temperature relatively consistent is a strong way to keep your car nicer for longer. Of course, we can only control that so much. However, some tricks can help keep your car safe from heat waves even if you don’t have a garage. 

Small things like parking in the shade can go a long way in keeping your car cooler. Another easy tip is slightly cracking a window if your car is sitting in direct sunlight. This will allow for the expanding air out of the car to cut down on the pressure. Another way to bypass the need for a garage is using a car cover. Lastly, products like sunshades and car seat covers can also cut down on heat and keep interior pieces from fading and cracking. 

Are heatwaves cracking the roads? 

Road To Calico
Road to Calico | (Jim Heimann Collection/Getty Images

There is another problem that extreme heat can cause drivers; cracking roads. The Minnesota Department of Transportation shared photos this past Friday on Twitter of extremely buckled roads and sidewalks. Massive road slabs began expanding due to the extreme heat. Once they couldn’t press into each other any further, the only way to go was up. 

Minnesota locals interviewed by CBS News bailed on various outdoor plans or driving altogether last weekend in exchange for the cool, dark solace of the movie theater. 

“Absolutely don’t want to be out in this heat at all, so I went from my air-conditioned apartment, walked down to the theater, now I’m gonna go back to my air-conditioned apartment,” said Sunderta Kaur. 

“Our actual plans today were to head to Stillwater and sit outside, but the heat just kiboshed that,” Jennifer Barrett said. “Too hot.”

Police in the area mentioned that reports of road damage flooded in over the weekend. Local police recommend trying to avoid damaged roadways, and that damage should be reported to local police.