So here is something that I cannot figure out, and I will let the car talk community speculate as to what caused this. The attached pictures show what looks like melted plastic on the window frame to the right side rear passenger door. I noticed the damage after running errands one morning. Any ideas as to what might have caused this? Any thing electrical inside the car or external? Any suggestions are appreciated. I am completely stumped.
External. I noticed bikes in the background. Perhaps one of the kids will know how it happened.
Any chance you parked outside next to a VERY reflective building? Or some other possible source of external heat?
Sun reflection was one of my suspicions, but that would mean I parked in an extremely unlucky spot.
It is possible if there is a concave reflective surface nearby, but the temperature at which the polymer reaches plastic state is probably in the hundreds of degrees F. I say this without knowing what type of plastic is used, but it’s a safe bet.
There have been a few cases of reflective buildings causing this, but it’s VERY rare.
Are you sure the plastic is melted? It almost looks like someone tried to pry on the door. Plastic will deform if you try to pry on it too hard.
When I looked at the photo, my thoughts were the same as missileman’s comment.
I think there is a real possibility that somebody tried to break into the van.
Look inside the door and see if the rubber seals show any sign of a pry bar damage.
If you look at picture 2 you can clearly see there is a lot more going on than a pry bar attempt. Very definitely looks heat related.
I had a little incident yesterday, a propane torch I was using evidently kept burning after it was turned off, I had set it behind the seat on top of some papers, that lost an inch size hole in the middle, so with propane torch on my brain any chance the car got an accidental swipe with one, recent shop work, or any enemies with torches?
Freaky reflection as posted above my second guess.
It looks like a hot plate or hot bar was placed on or near the door. A reflection should have circular symmetry and not appear a a straight line. I suspect vandalism. The torch is another possibility. I hope your insurance will cover replacement. When you talk to your insurer, just say you found it one day and don’t know how it got there. Might as well be honest. It shouldn’t count against you.
@jtsanders The reflection concept could apply, as the sun moves, the heat spot would move
Good point,@Barkydog. Still, this should have happened more than once at the same location. If the Sun’s reflection does this to a plastic, it could also burn a person. It seems like this would have been noticed before and steps taken to reduce the effect. It could be a new reflective item in the landscape, though.
Barky made me wonder… do you use an outdoor grill near where you park the car? Do any tailgating?
Pull the shoulder belt out an see if was damaged by the heat.
@Barkydog, you’re on a roll. Thanks again! Once again skepticism is trumped by facts. @BDT, check the places the car has been parked and see if there are any large buildings with a concave glass facade.
From the angle of the burn - if that’s what it is- it looks like it could have been reflected from the side view mirror.
I wonder if you shined a flashlight from the right height from the rear of the car if it would reflect to that spot?
It wouldn’t explain the cause but might narrow it down.
Thanks for all the tips. We do have an outdoor grill which I store in the garage, but not anywhere near the rear door. The picture posted by Barkydog looks very similar in shape. I think investigating the parking lots where I suspect this happened is a good idea. I like the flashlight test as well. Thanks all.