OEM Vs. Aftermarket Windshield Glass – Everything you need to know.

Windshield replacements are extremely common in the auto sphere. For many, this is necessitated by cracks and damage caused by accidents. However, damage to windshields can also be caused by improper installation, fluctuations in the temperature, and flying rocks and pebbles, among others. 

Irrespective of the reason behind the damage, replacing a windshield can be a tough decision to make. The act of replacement is relatively straightforward, but deciding on the type of windshield, not so much.

It is because there are different types of windshields. With most of the new cars getting ADAS incorporated into the windshields, it can add to the confusion. Among them, OEM and Aftermarket Windshield Glass have been equally preferred. But between these two types of windshields, there is a lot of confusion.

So here is a lowdown about the two windshields and the differences between them. This is everything you need to know about OEM and Aftermarket Windshields. 

What is an OEM auto glass?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. As the name implies, this type of windshield is manufactured by the same company that made the glass your vehicle came with. This means that the replacement glass is almost the same as the original windshield that was put in your car as it rolled off the assembly line.

OEM auto glasses are typically fabricated along with the original batch. To make this crystal clear, let me illustrate an example. 

Let’s say; Honda placed on order for 30,000 windshields from a particular auto glass company. The glass manufacturer will produce the 30,000 windshields plus another 5,000 or so. This figure, of course, will be stated in the contract agreement with Honda.

The additional 5,000 windshields are later sold as OEM parts whenever a need for replacement comes up. Companies typically produce the extra number of windshields during the initial production for two reasons:

  • One, windshields are not invincible, so they will require a replacement one time or the other.
  • Two, production costs for an extra batch is much lower when the setup is in place than to initiate a setup from scratch. 

There seems to an argument about the correct definition of OEM parts. Some are of the opinion that any component that is installed after the car has left the assembly line is nothing but an aftermarket product. However, others are more forgiving about the OEM parts. As long as the auto glass is manufactured by the original company contracted by the automaker, it is an OEM part.

Still, others say that for a windshield to qualify as an Original Equipment Manufacturer part, it should be fabricated by the original company in the same production line. 

Irrespective of the differences in opinion about what qualifies as an OEM windshield or not, this type of windshield is becoming the recommended choice for windshield replacements. 

identify OEM windshield

How do you identify the OEM windshield?

With many auto repair companies offering different types of windshields, it can be quite tricky to differentiate a genuine OEM windshield from a knock off. Of course, if you work in the auto glass replacement industry, you will have no problem. But for someone outside the industry, this can be a challenge. 

To identify whether or not the auto glass is an OEM, look for a logo or a branding of the company that made your car. Genuine OEM auto glasses come with the brand or the logo of the automaker.

Do not confuse this with an OEE windshield. OEE or Original Equipment Equivalent auto glass is also manufactured by the same company that makes the OEM glasses. However, OEE windshields bear the logo or the branding of the auto glass company and not the car company.

Another way to distinguish OEM auto glass is to gauge the thickness, shape, and how it fits. The glass should have the same attributes as the original one. However, comparing the aesthetics of the windshields can be tricky if you are not an expert. Therefore, branding is a surefire way to confirm whether or not the windshield is OEM. 

Why is it important to certify whether the windshield is OEM or not?

For many car owners, pricing is a primary factor that decides the type of windshield that goes in their car. Most auto insurance companies can be very dramatic when it comes to OEM auto glass, and they won’t agree to pay for it. 
Unless you have very comprehensive auto insurance, you will have to pay for the OEM glass replacement. This is also the reason why a lot of car owners resort to aftermarket windshields.

What is an aftermarket auto glass?

Auto glass or windshield that is fabricated by a company other than the original company that has an OEM relationship with the automaker is called an aftermarket auto glass. Additionally, windshields that are made by the original glass company on a different production line than the first line are also referred to as aftermarket auto glass. 

In many cases, auto glass companies that fabricate copies of the original windshields do so without any consultation or relationship with the automakers. However, automakers have resorted to establishing copyright laws that prevent manufacturers from producing the replicas of the original windshields. 
Aftermarket windshields typically differ with the original or the OEM part in tint, thickness, UV protection, and durability. This is the main reason why windshield replacement using an aftermarket auto glass is a cheaper option.

Some of the aftermarket windshields can be of excellent quality, primarily if they are produced by the same company that had a contract with the carmaker. However, they may not be an ideal choice if your car’s windshield is equipped with ADAS. 

differences between OEM and Aftermarket windshield

Differences between OEM auto glass and aftermarket auto glass

By now, you would have gathered the fundamental differences between the two types of windshields. Let’s dig deeper and look at the differences.

➡OEM auto glasses are manufactured by the same company that produced the original windshield in your car. On the contrary, aftermarket auto glass may be produced by the original company in a different production line or by a different company. 
➡OEM windshields bear the logo or the branding of the carmaker. Aftermarket windshields do not come with an automaker’s logo. 
Auto insurance policies rarely cover OEM windshields. However, aftermarket windshields are typically covered by most insurance companies. 
➡OEM glasses meet and sometimes even exceed the highest safety standards set by the car company. This makes OEM windshields excellent in terms of safety. Aftermarket glasses also meet the safety standards set by the department of transportation, but they are just about the bare minimum. Suffice to say; aftermarket windshields do not take the forefront in terms of safety. 
➡OEM windshields have a fit, durability, and aesthetics similar to the original windshield. This is not the case with aftermarket windshields as they are copies of the original product. 
➡OEM windshields come with a premium price tag, a deterrent for many car owners and insurance companies. On the contrary, aftermarket windshields have a budget-friendly price tag, which makes them a top choice. 
➡OEM windshields are the recommended replacement choice for cars that have ADAS windshield. Aftermarket windshields are more versatile as they are suitable for most types of vehicles. 

Does this mean OEM windshields are safer than aftermarket windshields?

➡ The question of whether OEM windshields are safer and vice versa is an ongoing debate in the auto glass industry. Those who favor OEM glasses argue that a windshield plays a vital role in the structural integrity of the car, so aftermarket parts simply do not measure up. 
➡ In addition to the structural integrity, most car companies require OEM replacement which justifies the safety requirements met by this type of auto glass. 
➡ To be fair, a growing number of established car manufacturers require an OEM replacement. Some of the top car companies that require this specific requirement include:

• Subaru 
• Honda 
• Nissan 
• Mercedes-Benz

The main reason why these car companies are making OEM replacement a requirement is because most of the cars have Assisted Driver Assistance System or ADAS. 

OEM Replacement

Since OEM auto glass can function almost as good as the original windshield, using it for replacement enhances the safety as well as the seamless use of technology in the car. Using anything other than the OEM windshield can tamper with the technology and reduce its efficacy. In worst cases, the use of substandard auto glass can even render the technology useless, which compromises your safety in a significant way. 

The requirement for OEM glass replacement is not limited to windshields. In some cases, such as the LX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD from Honda, OEM replacement is a requirement even in the side glass. In the car models, such as the one mentioned above, the glass has acoustics incorporated into it for sound isolation. Therefore, OEM glass replacement is a necessity to keep the car noise-free. 

On the other hand, proponents of the aftermarket auto glass argue that these can be as good as the original windshield. This is true if the original company contracted by the car company produced the aftermarket windshield. 

In most cases, these windshields are fabricated in the same factory using the same machinery. The only thing is that these are produced in a different production line. These categories of windshields can indeed hold the fort as good as an OEM auto glass.

However, this cannot be said if a different company was involved in the making of the windshield. It may have the same appearance as the original windshield, but it has reduced quality and durability. 

Ultimately, the choice of whether you need OEM replacement or aftermarket comes to a number of factors:

  • If you have a newer car that incorporates technology such as blind-spot detection, lane-keep assist function, and rear cross-traffic alert, among others, OEM replacement would be best.

However, if your car’s windshield does not have a lot of technology incorporated into it, aftermarket windshield replacement would be just fine. 

  • If your car company requires you to make OEM windshield replacement, then it may not be negotiable, especially as it concerns your safety. 
  • If your insurance company does not cover OEM’s costs and cannot afford to pay for it yourself, an aftermarket auto glass is an ultimate choice. 
aftermarket autoglass and OEM
Automobile glaziers workers replacing windscreen or windshield of a car in auto service station garage

What do industry experts think about OEM and aftermarket auto glass?

➡Experts in the auto glass industry also seem to have differences in opinion when it comes to the integrity of OEM and aftermarket windshields. Some think that the aftermarket parts will no way meet the specifications of the original windshields. Since the aftermarket arena is pretty much out of control, the safety standards and quality can be either a hit or a miss.

➡Experts in the auto glass industry also seem to have differences in opinion when it comes to the integrity of OEM and aftermarket windshields. Some think that the aftermarket parts will no way meet the specifications of the original windshields. Since the aftermarket arena is pretty much out of control, the safety standards and quality can be either a hit or a miss.

➡Some experts, on the other hand, have noted that OEM and aftermarket windshields are relatively equal across the board. This is because both categories of glasses are manufactured by the same companies in a lot of cases. Since the companies use the same raw materials as well as machinery to fabricate both the glasses, they can look and perform the same. 

➡This, however, is not the case when the glasses are manufactured by two different companies using different materials and in different production lines. Auto glasses, whether OEM or aftermarket that are imported also tend to come with substandard quality. Some experts, on the other hand, have noted that OEM and aftermarket windshields are relatively equal across the board. This is because both categories of glasses are manufactured by the same companies in a lot of cases. Since the companies use the same raw materials as well as machinery to fabricate both the glasses, they can look and perform the same. 

This, however, is not the case when the glasses are manufactured by two different companies using different materials and in different production lines. Auto glasses, whether OEM or aftermarket that are imported also tend to come with substandard quality. 

Conclusion.

The final decision to use OEM auto glass or aftermarket auto glass should be a joint decision between the car owner and the insurance company. However, seeking out the advice of an expert technician is also a wise decision. He or she will be able to give you expert advice but, most importantly, what is best for your car. 

After you make a decision about the type of glass to use for replacement, you should also consider getting it done by a qualified technician. Even if you decide to use the most expensive windshield, incorrect installation can result in the faulty operation of the technology in the glasses. In some cases, it might also result in the windshield breaking which can be hazardous.

20% OFF Only for SEPTEMBER!!

Get a Quote today!
647-371-1544