Car Visibility Problems: Main Causes and Maintenance Tips to Note

Car visibility problems occur on all car types and rank as most drivers’ nightmares. Sometimes, these issues are almost “unavoidable” as they’re caused by external scenarios. 

So, regardless of how careful you might be as a driver, you still risk facing these problems.

Visibility issues in vehicles can be dangerous and puts you and other car occupants at great risk because it’s challenging to drive when your automobile’s visibility is impaired.

Call Nationwide Report’s Car Genius™ from RepairPal at 1-877-671-3040 from 9am-6pm ET, Monday through Friday. 

Common Causes of Car Visibility Problems

1. Extreme Temperatures 

Glasses are known to exhibit some abnormal attributes at high temperatures. They expand when the weather is hot and contract when it’s cold. 

While car windshields may be designed to withstand some thermal strains, continuous exposure over a long period can form cracks due to regular expansion and contraction.

In addition, if you live in an area where the temperature changes drastically, your windshield is prone to cracks. 

If you reside in a location where the weather fluctuates, your car’s windshield and other glasses will unevenly expand and contract to suit temperature changes. Over time, these thermal stains can cause severe defects on the windshield. 

To combat weather changes, parking your vehicle in a garage or a temperature-controlled area is vital.

2. Accidents

When cars collide with objects and other automobiles, some things can happen to the vehicles involved, such as glass explosions or cracked windshields.

Besides the force of impact of the vehicles involved in the accident causing windshield breakage and cracks, other reasons (i.e., a bent frame due to the crash), may lead to a broken windshield. A bent frame puts excess pressure on the glass, which may break or crack it. 

To avoid car accidents, practice safe driving. After the crash, it’ll be best to take your vehicle to a revered auto shop for structural checks and visibility car repair.

3. Side Mirrors 

Side mirrors are among one of the things drivers check a thousand and one times as they drive, and for good reasons. They’re safe devices designed into cars to let you see vehicles and other objects behind you without having to turn your head backward, compromising your forward visibility.

When your car’s side mirrors aren’t properly positioned, damaged, or malfunctioning, blind spots can appear in your line of vision while driving. 

Until you properly position, replace, or repair your car’s side mirrors, it’ll be hard to prompt mirror angles crucial to get sight of objects and persons behind you.

4. Low-Quality Windshield 

Installing a low-quality or cheap windshield may seem cost-effective at the point of purchase, but it isn’t in the long run. Besides subpar car windshields displaying manufacturing defects, they could cause more visibility challenges.

Manufacturing defects might come in the form of small punctures or cracks in the windshield’s weak sections, which may not be easily visible. However, these small cracks can expand and impede visibility in the long run. 

So, if the need to invest in a new windshield arises, it’s best to work with a knowledgeable technician to get a high-quality and sturdy windshield. Although they might set you back a few hundred dollars, installing a top-tier windshield will save you the stress of having to replace them or prompt other visibility car repair activities in the future.

5. Rock Chips

Rock chips are another cause of poor vehicle visibility. They’re formed when small objects, like tiny pebbles or road debris, hit your windshield at high speeds. 

Although these little chips in your windscreen can be quite annoying, they aren’t a major cause of concern.

Nonetheless, many of these chips deepen over time to form spiderweb cracks on the windshield. Then, you’ll face the hard decision of changing your windshield or driving around with a vehicle with a visibility challenge, which is dangerous. 

To reduce the possibility of a rock-chipped windscreen, drive slowly on gravel, dirt, or other loose terrains. That said, it’ll be best to maintain a longer following distance when driving behind large vehicles carrying huge loads (especially debris) or cars that can churn up rocks or other loose particles in your direction.

6. Incorrect Windscreen Installation

Incorrect windscreen installation can lead to windshield damage. When a vehicle’s windscreen isn’t installed as prescribed by the car manufacturer, it’ll be loose. If this unsavory scenario occurs, a typical drive up and down the road can cause high vibrations that can crack your windshield in the long run. 

If you notice reverberating noises, whooshing sounds, or vibrations when driving at high speeds after having a new windshield installed, it’s a major sign that the new windscreen was installed improperly. 

However, you need to act immediately.

Once you identify this issue, take your car to a revered technician for proper installation. A stitch in time saves nine. If you decide to play the wait game, your car may be prone to further damage.

7. Swift Pressure Changes

Windscreen glass is stronger and studier than standard glass. Unlike the latter, windscreen glass is subjected to a rapid heating and cooling process that makes it a bit tougher and resistant to cracks than regular glass. 

Nevertheless, despite how strong windscreen glasses are, they’ll crack and experience other stress fractures when adverse conditions like extreme or swift pressure changes come to the fore. 

These changes usually occur when an object presses or suddenly falls on the windshield. On the other hand, swift pressure could happen if a car is at top speed. At that point, some external forces could act on your car, damage your windscreen, and prompt visibility issues.

8. Storm Debris

Storms are natural events and are common in the US. These unpleasant scenarios can cause cracks or chips on cars’ windshields. 

For perspective, hailstones can considerably damage a car’s windshields when they fall. High winds that come with most storms can also carry litter, debris, and tree branches to hit your car’s windscreen and side mirrors, resulting in visibility challenges.

Most times, the impacts of storm debris on your car’s windshield aren’t really pronounced. However, like rock chips, they may cause small cracks or chips that could develop into larger cracks and cause severe issues in terms of visibility.

Since most storm damage on vehicles happens when parked, endeavor to park in a garage during the stormy season. If this calamity befalls you despite taking some of our safety instructions, take your vehicle to an expert technician to repair or replace damaged areas.

9. Improper Cleaning

You’re probably wondering how improper cleaning can hamper car visibility, but it does.

So, how does this scenario happen?

Using the wrong or harsh cleaning agents might leave streaks on your windshield and other external vehicle glasses. Although you can see clearly with one streak, it’s a different ball game when many iterations form on your car’s screen. 

Multiple streaks from improper car cleaning can cause visibility problems. As such, you’d need to adopt some car visibility maintenance tips to remove them. 

However, you might need to replace affected sections if these streaks are deep.

Besides using wrong chemicals for car washing, other improper cleaning practices, such as using hot water to clear an icy windshield can lead to cracks. Thus, it’ll be best to adopt non-invasive car cleaning techniques like washing off dirt using a car wash mitt.

10. Worn-out Windshield Wipers

Worn-out windshield wipers are another popular cause of car visibility challenges. When these add-ons are not functioning well during rains, snow storms, or any other adverse weather conditions, they could wreak havoc to your car’s windshield.

For instance, exposed metal blades on car wipers can create patterned incisions on your windshield glass. 

Also, using wipers on a dirty windshield is damaging. When you do such, the wipers can act like sandpaper, causing visibility problems as you drive.

To prevent the effects of worn-out wipers, change your vehicle’s wipers once you notice the tell-tale symptoms of wear and tear in these vital car components.

11. Non-Functioning Exterior Lights

The exterior lights installed into vehicles aren’t there for beautification purposes. They’re integrated by the car manufacturer to aid visibility and protect you and other drivers from accidents. For context, the headlights and taillights help you see clearly in low-light situations, like during smog, fog, snow, or rain.

Furthermore, exterior lights let other road users know your driving intentions. For example, trafficators help to communicate the direction you want to turn to. On the other hand, reverse light indicates the reverse gear has been engaged and that your intention is to reverse.

Also, emergency blinkers let car drivers know that you parked at a particular spot and require assistance (i.e., if you have a flat tire and no spare available).

Factors like electrical, water, or collision damage, can lead to malfunctioning or damaged exterior lights. 

Thus, the risk of getting involved in a crash increases when any of these issues occur. To halt this unpleasant scenario, hire a top mechanic for quick evaluation or a replacement once you notice an issue with any of your car’s external lights.

Car Visibility: Maintenance Tips

Although the causes of some car visibility problems are unavoidable, keeping your automobile in good working condition might halt the rise of these issues. 

Here are some visibility car maintenance tips you can use to your advantage:

  • Have a Visibility Car Maintenance Schedule 

At this juncture, you should know that most car visibility challenges stem from the windshield, with some forms appearing on other vehicle parts. So, endeavor to do a scheduled maintenance check regularly to know what needs replacements and maintenance.

Although it might seem like you’d need to head to a top auto shop for these checks, you can perform some car visibility maintenance acts alone.

For example, cleaning your windshield and lubricating wipers can be part of your maintenance activities.

  • Fix Visibility Problems as Soon as You Discover Them

Besides the visibility problems that occur due to natural events like storms and hailstones, most of these issues don’t occur overnight and will show early signs. 

So, ensure you deal with problems you know will cause visibility issues as soon as you see them. If you delay, these issues will transform into bigger challenges that’ll most likely cost you more.

  • Always Use Original Car Parts

You may need to replace different parts of your vehicle at different points, such as the windshield, side mirrors, etcetera. During replacements, go for original car parts. Purchasing less-quality parts will see you dealing with the problem multiple times.

Furthermore, use authentic vehicle repair services to fix your vehicle’s visibility issues. While most of these centres charge high, your safety doesn’t have a price.

Tips to Stay Ready for Car Visibility Problems

  • Have a good visibility car maintenance or repair service at your beck and call to help you fix visibility problems as they occur.
  • Strive to practice safe driving at all times. It’s unwise to continue a journey when you’re encountering visibility problems.
  • Since some car visibility problems occur suddenly and are unavoidable, it’s best that you’re up to date with your insurance premium payments. If you’re involved in a crash due to visibility problems, having an insurance policy will be your “safety net” as your chosen insurance company settles all payments without you spending a dime.


We’ve examined the main causes and tips to prevent car visibility issues. Paying close attention to the safety tips we’ve listed is crucial as they’ll safeguard you from spending astronomical amounts for repairs. 

If you’ve been involved in a car accident caused by visibility challenges or are experiencing visibility issues caused by unavoidable scenarios like natural disasters, take action immediately. 


By heading to the nearest auto shop for repairs and full replacements, if needs be. While these actions may set you back by a few hundreds, they’re worth it in the long run.

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