Understanding Sandblasted Windshields

At first glance, your windshield may seem perfectly fine. But if you closely inspect the glass under direct sunlight, you’ll see dozens of small holes on the surface.

What you are looking at is a sandblasted windshield – a term that is relatively unheard off among motorists. Even though it is rarely used, the problem is more common than you think.

In this guide, we’ll help you understand what sandblasting is by answering four common questions:

  • What is a sandblasted windshield?
  • What causes sandblasting?
  • Is a sandblasted windshield repairable?
  • Why does a sandblasted windshield need to be replaced?

You’ll also learn tips on how to avoid a sandblasted windshield.


What are sandblasted windshields?

A sandblasted windshield results from exposure to dust, dirt, road debris, and sand. Though tiny, these particles pack a punch when a significant amount of them hits glass repeatedly. They can damage the windshield and leave pits which are barely remarkable. By the time you notice them, it might be too late – the pits would have already progressed into actual holes.


What causes a sandblasted windshield?

Cars typically kick up road debris with their rear tires. If you tailgate them, the dusty particles are kicked up into your windshield and cause sandblasting. The closer you follow vehicles, the worse the effects.

Besides tailgating, parking your vehicle outside without any covering is another common cause. So does driving across dirt roads and sandy places such as farms, quarries, and construction sites. Frequent exposure to the elements increases your car’s risk for a sandblasted windshield.


Can I still repair a sandblasted windshield?

No, you can’t repair a sandblasted windshield. Sandblasting results in holes which are too many and close apart. Patching them up makes no difference. Your windshield will eventually give in and crack.


Why do I need to replace my windshield?

The obvious answer is that you don’t really have a choice. But apart from the obvious, there are other reasons why you should replace a sandblasted windshield.

  • It limits your view. Severe pitting can make it difficult for drivers to see the road clearly.
  • It is no longer structurally sound. Damage caused by sandblasting makes your windshield weak and prone to breakage with the slightest impact. The windshield is made of safety glass but it can only protect you if it’s intact.
  • It’s bound to get worse. Vibrations from your car will cause the sandblasted pits to form into larger, more visible cracks.
  • It simply isn’t safe. A sandblasted windshield endangers everyone on the road – from the passengers of the affected vehicle to other motorists and pedestrians.


How to avoid a sandblasted windshield

Sandblasting is a common but preventable type of windshield damage. Here are the best practices for avoiding it:

  • Park your car in enclosed spaces. Keep it in a garage when you’re at home so you don’t expose it to the elements.
  • Cover your vehicle outdoors. If you park your car outside, protect it with a car cover to keep dust and dirt away.
  • Do not tailgate. Always keep a safe distance from cars in front of you. That way, the dust coming from their rear tires wouldn’t hit your windshield.