Weather

Friday, July 25, 2014

Spontaneous destruction of vehicle window a head-scratcher

Back window of Meghan Burke's RAV4
Toni Lucas

Meghan Burke had a rude surprise at work on a gusty Wednesday, July 24.  She works at the Co-op Gas Bar, and at about 2:00 pm one of her co-workers told her that she had better come outside.  "By the time I got out there, there was a big hole in my back window."   When she looked the damage she noticed that the glass had bubbled outward and that there was broken glass both outside and inside her car, a Toyota Rav4.  "It looked like someone had tried to kick the glass out, from the inside."



Burke has been told by friends since the incident that it may have been a combination of factors that created the situation.  The difference in air pressure from the inside to the outside of the car, with high winds possibly throwing some object at the car such as a small rock may have been enough to cause the damage.  One possible way to avoid this is to leave a window slightly open.  The idea is that with the window slightly open the car will have equal pressure both inside and out.

Meghan Burke photos

A Google search reveals an abundance of similar stories, with high temperatures, rapid shifts in temperatures (thermal shock), heavy winds, the Venturi effect, manufacturing defects, a small unnoticed defect/damage, rising internal air pressure, and a multitude of other possibilities suggested as potential causes.  Auto glaziers we contacted for this story refused to comment on-record.  However there are plenty of (often differing) opinions from glaziers in the links below.

According to www.windfinder.com wind was measured at 52 km/hr gusting to 83 km/hr at 2:00 pm on July 24, as measured at the Oldman River Dam.  Gusts hit a peak of 91 km/hr later in the evening.

Related links:
Rav4 rear window shatters
Wind Blows Out Car Windows At New Ulm Dealership
Car Windows Smashed in Shirlington: Storm Damage or Vandalism?
Top 10 Reporters vs. Mother Nature

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