Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Mystery of the exploding window

I was driving my 2004 Astro South on I-10 about 20 minutes before Lake Charles LA, when I heard an explosion. Assuming a blowout, I pulled over to realize my rear side window had shattered! 'Trying to figure out what happened. It is hot, was facing the sun, a large truck was passing me at the time. The only other time anything like this ever happened was several years ago when a disgruntled ex-employee was using a slingshot to break our car windows in the parking lot. Not likely a small firearm from the side of the road. Has anyone ever had this happen to them?

The “large truck” probably popped a rock out of one of it’s tires and took out the window. Windshields are usually the victim of this but in your case it was a side window.

Since you heard a loud explosion, and windows don’t “explode” even when hit by a rock. I’m going with the theory that the large truck that was passing you had a blowout.

Big rig tires have a lot of pressure in them, a lot more than the 32 psi of a passenger car. When they have a blowout, it sounds like a 12 ga. I’ve had one blowout next to me on the interstate, it will make you jump.

I think a side window would/could make a loud noise and shatter when hit by a rock. They aren’t laminated glass like a windshield.

Does your Astro have ceiling-vented rear air, and is one of the vents pointing toward that window? It’s not uncommon for glass to shatter if you heat it on one side and chill it on the other. The temperature differential makes it expand differently, and it can’t take the stress. The air buffet from the passing semi could have been the final straw. It’d be somewhat unusual (usually when this happens it’s on a cold winter day when you’re blasting heat onto it) but not entirely impossible if your AC is good, especially if there was already a flaw in the glass somewhere.

A side window absolutely will explode (shatter instantly into a million bits actually) if shattered by a stone. The glass used is tempered to do exactly that.

The root cause will be impossible to determine now, unless you should find a stone in the car, but the glass did exactly what it was designed to do.

My Car Insurance Company Bought Me A New Rear Window For One Of My Cars That Was Parked In My Driveway. I Came Out One Morning And Noticed That It Had “Exploded” (Imploded) Into Little “safety glass” bits.

What a mess ! It was a mystery to me. The only thing I could come up with was that I had weed trimmed the day before with a gas powered string trimmer and possibly launched a projectile. With The noise of the trimmer and FM Stereo going in my ears from my Work-Tunes, I didn’t realize it. I never came up with a better answer.


A tempered glass window will shatter, but it does not “explode” and neither did the OP’s side window.

There’s a chance the noise made by the window giving up was interpreted by the OP to be an explosion. A window instantly disentegrating into a million pieces and creating a loud noise while doing so would be an exploded window to me even if the term is fuzzy when used like this.

Some years back I pulled away from the post office here and noticed I had not shut the drivers door completely on my Subaru. Still on the roll, I opened the door, slammed it, and this was followed instantly by a loud band/crash/what have you.

Startled a bit, after looking around I noticed the passenger rear glass was in a million pieces in the back seat. This was not caused by anyone or anything because there was nothing around at the time. My best guess in regards to my car was that it was a 105 degree day and a fluke failure of superhot glass occurred.

With the OP I’d figure either a situation like mine, rock thrown from a truck tire, or possibily wind blast from the truck caused a fluke failure on heated glass.

I had a windshield do this probably about 20 years ago and never knew exactly what happened. I was driving through the mountains of eastern TN and western NC on I-40, it was late at night and I heard something that also sounded like an explosion. When I pulled off the interstate a few miles down the road the passenger side of the windshield was broken. All I can figure out that may have happened was a rock fell from the mountain side and hit the windshield, but it was definitely a noise like an explosion.

Didn’t people jump all over a woman here recently for describing a sound as “like an explosion”? It’s good to see that the lesson was learned and no one’s doing that in this case.

I guess its a matter of degrees. I have heard explosions (20 years in the Navy) and I have had windows (side and windshield) shatter on me and a shattering window does not sound like an explosion to me. A high pressure tire like a truck (or aircraft tire) does sound like an explosion, I’ve had both experiences up close and personal.

I had a truck tire blow out next to me on the interstate once, it was loud. I had an F14 tire blow out as I was doing a prelaunch inspection while it was rolling up to the catapult, I had both ear plugs and mickey mouse ears on and it still liked to stopped my heart. I was lucky, blowouts on these tires at 350 psi have been known to rip off limbs of people nearby.

I have had a couple of side windows shatter when closing the door, the sound of closing the door was louder than the glass shattering. I have had more that a few rocks hit the windshield and crack it. It sounded like a crack of a whip more than an explosion.

I have also spent a little time on the bombing range and I was near the 5" gun last fired from an aircraft carrier. The guns were removed shortly afterward, not really much use for a 5" gun on a ship that can deliver 2000 lb. bombs 500 miles away.

A bicycle tire blowing out can sound like an explosion, if you’re filling it up at a gas station pero no es muy macho.

The rear window on my mothers car exploded one day. I remember it was a hot day. We removed the groceries from the trunk and closed the trunk. My mother then grabbed her purse from the front seat and then slammed the door. That’s when the rear window exploded and the pieces fell into the back seat. Scared the hell out of us! So windows do explode under the right conditions.


The rear window of a car I had “imploded” on a warm fall day. I heard a pop, then kind of a crackling sound…looked in the rear view mirror and saw the window break apart and fall into the back seat. There were no cars passing by at the time so I thought maybe someone shot it out… did I mention that I was driving through downtown Flint, MI at the time? hmmmm…

I’ve also heard the tires on tractor trailers blow out and the noise my windshield made was about the same intensity. I’ve also had trucks pick up rocks and throw them at windshields and crack them which was a different sound.