2013 Dodge Dart: Mysterious Windshield Crack
June 6, 2013
The crack was staring me in the face when I climbed behind the wheel of our 2013 Dodge Dart to drive home. After mouthing a wordless medium-potency swear I dabbed a fingerprint onto the end to track how much it would grow during my outbound commute, if any.
But I couldn't see the impact point from the driver's seat, so I climbed out and looked things over.
Oddly, I found no impact point, not even under the edge of the molding when I peeled it back.
A closer look (that probably won't show easily in photographs) showed that the crack lives on the inner layer of glass, not the outer one. That's not how it usually goes.
Not following me? Car windshields are a two-layer sandwich with a thin transparent sheet of plastic in between that bonds them together. Laminated safety glass, they call it.
It's rare to see a crack on the layer of glass facing the inside of the car with no corresponding sign of impact on the outside. I don't think I've ever seen it before, in fact.
To me this seemed like it could be a defect in the glass itself instead of road damage. So I wheeled in to Glenn E. Thomas Dodge (Ram/Chrysler/Jeep/Fiat) on my way home for an opinion. By the time I arrived the crack had extended three inches past my fingerprint.
Frank, my service writer, was perplexed, too. He explained that glass issues have to be approved at the district service manager level. A regular cracked windscreen wouldn't be covered. Fair enough.
But he seemed to agree this wasn't the usual cracked windscreen. So he took pictures, wrote notes. He and another staffer examined it closely. In the end they came to the same conclusions I had.
The verdict: It'll probably be covered by warranty, but we need to hear back from the DSM at HQ to be sure. If so they'll order the glass and call me back in to have it replaced. Stay tuned.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 10,430 miles