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Subaru Forester Windshield Cracks

dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
edited February 2014 in Subaru windshield is cracked again, the second time in five months of ownership.

[rant to follow]

I posted a complaint back in January that my 06 FXT windshield seems to attract flying rocks better (or worse, depending on how you look at it) than any car I've ever driven. I get hit at least once a week, on average. For the most part the rocks just bounce off.

I had my first windshield replaced back in January after a rock cracked it on December 31st. Today coming home from work I heard a small stone hit the windshield but didn't think anything of it because it wasn't that loud so I figured all was ok. Wrong. Five minutes later I noticed a crack spreading from the bottom of my windshield, directly behind the drivers edge of the hood scoop - the EXACT same place it was hit cracked the first time - and DIRECTLY through the heating element in the glass.

Two cracks in five months - at this rate I'm looking at 4 windshield replacements per year. And Subaru glass (esp with the heating element) ain't cheap. Fortunately my insurance company covers the entire cost of replacement, but I can't imagine they won't start asking questions after a few of these each year.

With all the flying rock action you'd think I have chips and dents all over my hood as well - but that isn't the case. There's only one chip on my hood - everything seems to hit the glass. And this is on the interstate, not a gravel road. I'm sure that I was going 80+ when it happened didn't help, but c'mon.

Sorry for the rant, but as you can imagine this is frustrating.



  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059 this rate...

    I'm sure it is simply a statistical anomaly. Even if the probability of having your windshield crack is 1 in 1,000 over 3 months it becomes a virtual certainty that of 100,000,000 drivers on the road someone, somewhere and sometime will have it happen twice. It just happened to be you this time.

    tidester, host
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    I understand that at this point it's easy to pass off as an anomaly... but I'd wager that it cracks again within the next six months. :sick:

    I wasn't surprised the first time it cracked (like I said, it gets hit relatively often), and I'm not really surprised that it happened again.

    Maybe it's an anomaly. Then again, maybe some unfortunte combo of the mediocre aerodynamics of a boxy SUV shaped vehicle, mixed with the in-between ride height, make it more prone to this sort of thing. My brother for instance drives the taller, even boxier Pathfinder and says that most stray rocks hit his front fascia or the hood.

    On the other hand I haven't heard too many Forester drivers lament about this, so I could just have s*** luck. :confuse:

  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 221
    especially trucks and motorcycles. Those guys are usually the worst offenders.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    It may not be entirely scientific, but you may try asking the folks who replaced your windshields whether it's a common problem with Foresters.

    tidester, host
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    Since both windshield cracks have resulted from a rock striking the glass down low, on the wiper heating element, it may be due to a weakness in that area of the glass. I'm not sure exactly how the element is constructed, though, to know whether this is a legitimate theory.

    I'm no physicist either, but I've also been considering the fact that the dash/console sits flat up against the bottom few inches of the windshield where these breaks have occured - would this make the rock's energy more difficult to transfer through the glass (as it might if there were only the open cabin on the other side of the glass), resulting in the glass taking the brunt of the force? :confuse:

    I'm analyzing too much. One thing I know for sure is I need to stop thinking and get back to work!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Stew, get back to work! (just kidding!)

    Seriously, yes, there may be some systemic problem resulting in extraordinary stress on the glass. I only offered the "statistical anomaly" hypothesis because I haven't heard of any unusual incidence of windshield cracks in the Forester. Of course, that does not exclude the possibility of "real" problems.

    tidester, host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bummer, but my guess it's a combination of:

    * the Forester sitting relatively low
    * an upright windshield
    * bad luck

    Mine is still original, almost 9 years old. Knock on wood.

  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    I think you're right, Juice. The angry villagers hurling stones at me certainly isn't helping, though... :P
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I'm analyzing too much

    Bingo! Between my two Foresters I've driven over 100k and while I've had two chips repaired, I've not had to replace the windshield. Most of my miles are hwy miles in heavy traffic doing 70-80mph so it's not like my windshield glass doesn't take a lot of abuse either!

    Does your commute include a lot of trucks hauling dirt, gravel etc? For sure I avoid following behind any type dump truck and always try to keep at least one lane between us when passing (obviously not an option on a rural 4-lane hwy).

  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    Does your commute include a lot of trucks hauling dirt, gravel etc? For sure I avoid following behind any type dump truck and always try to keep at least one lane between us when passing (obviously not an option on a rural 4-lane hwy).

    Both times the guilty rock was kicked up by either a passenger car or SUV, if I remember right. Divided interstate, three lanes on each side, relatively straight and clean. In fact both happened on the same two-mile section; part of my daily 11 mile commute.

    For now I'll pass it off as bad luck. If it happens again soon, rest assured I'll be back to let you all know about it. :)

  • jtm4jtm4 Posts: 60
    We've had our '98 Forester for almost eight years, over 100k, with very few problems. Two weeks after we bought the Forester the windshield cracked. I had it replaced with a PPG windshield and haven't had a problem since. I've heard different theories as to why the Forester windshields are more susceptible to cracking...bug guards, angle of windshield, etc. If it was the windshield angle you would think we would have had another issue since the replacement. We used to have a bug guard but don't use one anymore. By the way, if anyone needs a bug guard for a '98 Forester let me know.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The irony is that we have had three windshields crack - but it was never my Forester.

    My wife's 626 went through 2 of them. We replaced the original, then the new one cracked. We sold it and gave a credit to the buyer to replace it. The original was Carlex and the replacement was PPG, so that didn't make any difference.

    Our Legacy has a crack now, too, and that's a Carlex.

    I think she follows too closely!

  • quigllquigll Posts: 2
    I think there is a problem with the Forrester and windshields. In Oct 2002 I bought a 2001 Forrester. Two weeks after, my first large crack in the windshield. Should have been replaced. I soon got another crack. I went a year and finally replaced it. 3 days after my first replacement...again...crack, the size of a CD along the bottom. I ignored it for over a year (Dings here and there) After a year, I woke up one morning to find it had spiderwebed along the bottom.....time to replace AGAIN!!! One week after the replacement I bought a 2006 Forrester. Exactly 14 days later a ding which has now become a crack along the entire width of the windshield. In 3 and a half years I have gone a total of 4 weeks without a cracked windshield in my Forresters. I don't know what to do. I am sick about getting this fixed. Thankfully I have glass insurance but once you replace a windshield, the part where the inside of the roof and glass meet is never the same.
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    Four weeks in 3.5 years of ownership without a cracked windshield? Wow. I've been patient with fixing my latest crack - it's been there a month and stopped spreading at about 16 inches - but I'm not sure I could be as patient as you've been.

    I haven't gotten mine fixed in large part because I knew I'd be driving over 2000 miles in April (a normal month for me is about 1200) and with that kind of mileage didn't want to risk cracking a new windshield.

  • pretzelbpretzelb Posts: 64
    think there is a problem with the Forrester and windshields.

    As someone who may buy an 06 X I really hope this isn't true.
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    If there was a problem, then every Forester windshield would be breaking (or there'd be more reports of them breaking), and that is not the case. The Forester windshield is fairly vertical, so it much like other fairly vertical windshields will be subject to more debris that can cause cracks.

  • higwenhihigwenhi Posts: 1
    This is a very interesting forum. I have a 2006 Forester--I got a small chip on the lower driver side window from a rock thrown by a car--very small. This was soon after buying it. Today I was driving on the freeway and heard a noise--you guessed it--another rock spewed by either one of the two mid-size trucks ahead of me (in the slow lane yet!). I now have a 7" crack on the lower passenger side front window. Went right to my insurance man and having this fixed soon--I have NEVER in all my years had a cracked windshield, and now I have two chips/cracks. I bought the Forester for safety!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    Interesting. I have owned three Subarus (96, 07, 08) and while rock chips are an almost daily occurrence here, non of the chips ever developed cracks. My cars were never garaged, which does reduce the likelihood that the chips will form cracks, but the development of cracks mostly depends on the stresses on the windshield. chips near the edges will tend to crack easier than those in the middle. The size of the object and force of the impact will affect the chances of cracking, etc.

    It sounds to me like the windshield did its job just fine. When you start getting pelted in the face with rocks, then you have a serious problem with your windshield.... :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, at least you got the 2nd crack before you replaced it. Imagine if you had replaced it and then got the crack on the brand new windshield.

    Make sure you're not following the car in front of you too closely, as this has happened twice. Even if the rock doesn't crack the windshield, it could scratch your paint or damage your radiator.

    I suggest a 2+ second following distance, no matter the speed.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I've got 3 chips in my 04's windshield (plus numerous pits & scratches). I just drove it across country and was half hoping for it to get hit by something big enough to cause a crack so I'd have an excuse to replace it ;) However, I heard recently that if you had multiple chips the Insurance company will replace rather than repair. Anybody else heard that?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not sure.

    I've heard ads for a local place that will replace any chip or crack smaller than a credit card. They even say most insurance covers the whole cost.
  • onoffroadonoffroad Posts: 17
    08 Forester ! First two chips {small rocks} ! As I wash auto,more chips ! Weeks later,more chips ! Looks like "popcorn" windshield ! I think it's thin or faultee and even bugs or chipen it !
  • diznjdiznj Posts: 1
    I bought my forrester brand new a month ago. While my car was parked for 2 days in my driveway a stress crack appeared. It starts on the bottom on the driver side where you can no longer see the window comes up and makes a turn toward the passenger side. The crack is inside the glass, you cant feel anything. I figured no big deal subaru will replace the windshield. Of course I was wrong. The service manager kept digging a pen in the crack until he finally made a mark then said something hit my windshield. I am now worried that subaru warranty is just a peice of paper. I think there is definately a windshield problem as I saw alot of similar storys and Im very discouraged that subaru dont take responsibilty and honor their warranty. It is obvious on my car that it is a stress crack, a defective windshield from the manufacturer.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    He couldn't have started a hole with a pen - that's just to check if there is indeed a "pit" where the crack may have started.

    If you don't trust him, ask a SafeLite glass expert to inspect it again. They'll do the same thing with the pen.

    If there is indeed a pit mark there, it was indeed caused by a rock or something, and only spread later, when the temperature changes caused expansion/contraction.

    If they observe no such pit mark, ask them to put that in writing and see if they can put in a warranty claim on your behalf.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    Yep, most likely it was a small rock that caught the extreme edge of the glass. If any weakness is introduced right along the edge, it will lead to a stress crack (most likely the next time the temperature changes). The fact that it occurred overnight after the chip is no surprise at all. It's just bad luck - we all have it now and again. :cry:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • sflorasflora Posts: 35
    Got a windshield chip yesterday. Actually saw it coming as I drove on the highway, a small object came curving in off the port bow and hit my windshield dead center with a really loud "Thwack!" I generally keep my distance when following but it didn't help this time. I was sure the windshield would be damaged beyond repair, but it was just a tiny chip. Took it to the glass man today and it was fixed 30 mins. later. I had put a small piece of masking tape over the chip to mark it for repair and keep it clean, the guy said that was a good move.

    It was a little surprising how some noises are much louder in this type of car than my previous one (a coupe with a raked-back windshield.) I've had things hit the windshield and make such a noise I was sure there was damage, but never found any. It was a bit startling at first but I'm used to it now. Rain on the big flat roof is much louder too!
  • rrenorreno Posts: 1
    :cry: 2004 Forester. Love the car but Oh, my. Anything hits the car and it's off for a new windshield. Number 7 this a.m. Also, When I now step on the gas peddle, I hear a sign that either sounds like hair escaping or a scraping sound????
  • That's the very same thing that happened to my forester and my friends outback. I took it to the dealer It's a 2010. They said it had been hit by something but there's no sign of that. It's started on the driver's side by the inspection sticker and then went all the way across to the passenger side.
  • jomaeprujomaepru Posts: 1
    My first subaru and my last! I have taken a couple Chysler minivans and a Toyota Rav4 over 110,000 miles without a windshield crack it's not 'my driving distance'. It's a problem with poor glass +/or design! There was no 'pit' until the guy at the dealership dug his pen into it...and anyway, the size of the minuscule pit should NOT have caused the problem of a cracked windshield! My thoughts are poor glass quality combined with design and the heat from the black dashboard on a cold day. Came out to the crack while parked for the day in a parking lot on a cold, snowy day in MN... and they market these as tough cars---what a laugh!! Subaru is NOT accepting any responsibility...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I doubt a pen could dig into a glass windshield to create a pit, FWIW.
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