It has happened to every car owner… that moment when you realize your windshield is damaged. Whether it is just a crack from being hit by a stone, or the glass is completely shattered in a car accident, you know you’re going to need a windshield replacement.
When you go to get your windshield replaced, the auto glass technician is likely to give you two choices: OEM or aftermarket glass. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufactured. When you buy OEM glass, you are purchasing the exact type of windshield that was originally found in your car. This means that every vehicle with the same make, model and year as yours was built with this windshield. Buying an OEM windshield ensures that it will fit your car exactly the way your old windshield did.
An OEM windshield is not necessarily made by the same company that manufactured the rest of the car. Car manufacturers contract with glassmakers to get made-to-order windshields for each car they produce. When a car manufacturer contracts with a glass making company, it means that this is the only company that is authorized to stamp their windshields with the car manufacturer’s logo. The glass company may produce windshields for multiple car companies, and they often also produce aftermarket windshields.
Benefits of an OEM Windshield:
- Meets vehicle manufacturer’s strict regulations.
- Certified by the Department of Transportation.
- Has identical components such as rain sensors and heating elements.
- Exact match of original windshield’s color and shape.
- Logo matches original windshield.
- Often covered by vehicle manufacturer’s warranty.
Drawbacks of an OEM Windshield:
- Usually more expensive than other options.
- Can be harder to find.
- If the original glass was low quality, your new windshield will also be low quality.
- Some insurance companies will not pay for an OEM windshield because of the higher cost.
One alternative to an OEM windshield is an OEE windshield. OEE stands for Original Equipment Equivalent. Glass companies that produce OEE windshields do research to figure out how to produce an almost exact replica of a car’s OEM windshield. They usually use the same materials, designers, and engineers that were used by the company that produced the OEM windshield. However, these companies are not authorized to use the car manufacturer’s logo.
Another alternative to an OEM windshield is an aftermarket windshield. This is a generic type of windshield. It will look similar to the OEM windshield, but it may have a different thickness and color, and it may not work with the vehicle’s windshield components. The drawback to purchasing an aftermarket windshield is that you cannot be completely sure what you are getting. Some people find that having an aftermarket windshield has negative effects on their driving experience, such as leaks, excess noise, and a lower quality of glass. Others do not notice any major difference after having an aftermarket windshield installed.
The decision on whether to purchase an OEM windshield, an OEE windshield, or a generic aftermarket windshield can be a tough one. Often, it comes down to what your budget is and what is covered by your insurance. Your auto glass repairer can help you weigh the pros and cons and decide which windshield will work for you.