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2017 Chevy Volt...

Car is parked all day in an underground parking garage. After work I get in and close the door and hear a noise similar to ice crumbling on the rear window. I look back and see that my rear window has shattered. It looks like the glass is pushed outwards like the pressure of closing the door caused it to bubble out and pop.

Surely, a car's windows should be able to withstand that air pressure.

Any ideas on what would cause this?


 

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2017 Chevy Volt...

Car is parked all day in an underground parking garage. After work I get in and close the door and hear a noise similar to ice crumbling on the rear window. I look back and see that my rear window has shattered. It looks like the glass is pushed outwards like the pressure of closing the door caused it to bubble out and pop.

Surely, a car's windows should be able to withstand that air pressure.

Any ideas on what would cause this?


The rear window could have been incorrectly installed at the factory. Also, the cold could be a factor. Have the dealer inspect the rear glass (what is left of it) and they can help determine if this is a manufacturing defect that would be covered by the 36 month B2B warranty.
 

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Surely, a car's windows should be able to withstand that air pressure.

Any ideas on what would cause this?
Yes, they can and do handle the air pressure. The shattering can be caused by a number of things:

  • Something (lose ceiling concrete) falling and chipping/cracking the glass. Any lose concrete chunks near the car or inside the cargo area?
  • An edge nick in the glass when originally installed
  • Extreme inside/outside thermal difference
The shattering could then be triggered by a hard slam of the hatch.
 

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Look in the backseat for a small stone...
 

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There are vents in the back of the car that release any pressure inside.
 

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Long ago I worked as cargo/safety superintendent for the primary car carrier delivery company for GM in the Eastern US. We were at the plant in Tarrytown, NY (RIP). I saw rear windows implode all the time. It was nearly always in temperature extremes and was due to the expansion/contraction of the metal body the window was glued to. Slight internal glass stress and a slight misalignment of the glass can cause this. We never saw any of the other glass blow out like this---only rear windows. It should be a warranty issue and your dealer (if honest) has seen this sitting on his lot before.
 

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Holy cow, good luck with your investigation and repair. But I need to show this to my wife and caution here to more gently close the rear hatch from now on. I can have the windows open and she'll SLAM the hatch down.

Personally I think this is a result of FOD. A falling piece of the cement ceiling where you parked. I'd get a bright light and inspect the area directly about where your Volt was parked.

Good luck.
 

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I would bet money that the window was already shattered, but being mostly held together by the defrost wires.
When you got in and closed the door, the jarring caused more glass to drop.

It's highly unlikely that closing your door broke the window. I can't tell you how many times in my cop career people didn't realize a window was broken until they got in, and either the weight shift or the jarring from closing the door caused more glass to fall.
 

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Or bullet. ...

Is there something else you are not telling us?
I have also seen this happen when one of the gas lift struts hangs up and Torques the hatch.
 

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Yes Dutch, but he got in the driver's door and then heard the sound broken glass when he closed driver's door.
 

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You might also have glass break coverage on your car insurance policy, so check that before paying for a repair.
 

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Yes Dutch, but he got in the driver's door and then heard the sound broken glass when he closed driver's door.
I've had glass tweak like that and then one additional bump or vibration finishes the job (Old F body Camaro).
 

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Another cause for this is the actual heater element. Sometimes the wires on the window start to resist more at the point of connection with the heater grid. That will cause it to get very hot in that small area. Tempered glass hates this condition and the result is the glass shattering in place or popping in some cases. It's a hard scenario to prove but inspection of the wires could show evidence of the heating. If it got hot I call manufacturing defect.
 
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