This study evaluated the effect of creating a glide path and apical preparation size on the incidence of apical cracks during canal preparation in mandibular molar teeth with curved canals. One hundred and forty extracted teeth were used. The teeth were randomly assigned to one control group or six experimental groups (n=20 per group) for canal preparation. No preparation was performed on teeth in the control group. In three of the six experimental groups, a glide path was not created; a glide path was created on the curved mesial canals of all teeth in the remaining three experimental groups. All teeth in experimental groups were then instrumented with the following systems: Reciproc, WaveOne (WO), and ProTaper Next (PTN). Digital images of the apical root surfaces of these teeth were recorded before preparation, after instrumentation with size 25 files, and after instrumentation with size 40 files. The images were then inspected for the presence of any new apical cracks and propagation. There was no significant difference between the experimental groups during canal preparation using size 25 files (p>0.05). Reciproc and WO caused more new apical cracks than did PTN during canal preparation using size 40 files (p<0.05). However, canal preparation using size 40 files did not cause propagation of existing cracks (p>0.05). Performing a glide path prior to canal preparation did not change the incidence of apical crack during preparation. Additionally, increasing apical preparation size may increase the incidence of apical crack during canal preparation. SCANNING 38:585-590, 2016. (c) 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.