Cars Vehicles

The Difference Between OEM and Aftermarket Windshields

OEM (original equipment manufacturer) windshields are fabricated by the same company that provided the glass in your car when it came off the production line. They adhere to the strict standards that automakers set for their products.

This ensures that your replacement windshield will fit perfectly and retain all the embedded technology your vehicle rolled off the production line with.

Quality

The carmakers’ original glass manufacturers make OE windshields. They’re fabricated considering your vehicle’s specifications and regulations and designed to match the original windshield in terms of durability, thickness, color, shape, and fit. They’re also stamped with the carmaker’s name and logo to let you know that your vehicle has original equipment manufactured auto glass.

Alternatively, aftermarket windshields are fabricated by any glass manufacturer with no relationship to the original car maker. They’re usually fabricated to the size and proportions of your vehicle’s original windshield, but they can differ in their tint, durability, and other features. Regardless of their quality, they’re still certified by the Department of Transportation and should be safe to use.

The low price tag and quick turnaround of aftermarket windshields lure many customers in. However, they don’t realize that choosing the wrong type of windshield can affect their safety and even damage their ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) functionality.

The difference in quality between a branded aftermarket windshield and a generic version is significant. If you go with an aftermarket windshield instead of a branded OE version, the windshield will be thinner and may not be cut as perfectly. In addition, the edges of aftermarket windshields tend to be rougher and more prone to cracking than the smooth edge of an OEM windshield.

Moreover, aftermarket windshields are often sold with anti-reflective coating that isn’t used on branded OE windshields. This anti-reflective coating can reduce the clarity of your windshield and make it more prone to cracking.

When you choose an aftermarket windshield, you’ll also have to worry about the attachments that are used to connect your ADAS features to your front-facing camera (FFC). These attachments have very strict tolerances, and any deviation in their design can cause them to fail during calibration or lead to the failure of your ADAS features. This is why we recommend that you always opt for an OEM windshield if possible.

Safety

Depending on the car you drive and your insurance policy, either type of windshield is a good choice. It’s best to consult with educated auto glass personnel to make the most informed decision for your vehicle.

Generally speaking, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) windshields are better quality than aftermarket glass. This is because they are fabricated by the same manufacturers that provided the original glass that came in your car when it first rolled off the assembly line. This ensures that the replacement windshield will match your car’s windshield in terms of color, width, tint, durability, and shape.

However, some purists believe that only a windshield branded with the original car maker’s name on it can be considered an OEM windshield. Other glass companies fabricate OEE windshields that are made to the same standards as OEM glass but don’t have the original car manufacturer’s logo on them. These windshields are then sold to consumers, auto glass wholesalers, and repair shops.

In a time when many newer vehicles come equipped with advanced features such as auto-dimming headlights, lane-keeping assist systems, and forward collision warning, it’s important to choose the right replacement windshield to preserve these ADAS benefits. OEM windshields are recommended because they have been designed to be compatible with the sensors and cameras found in these vehicles.

Non-OEM windshields may be of lower quality and could shatter more easily than OEM windshields. They may also not be able to withstand the same level of impact resistance that an OEM windshield is capable of.

If you aren’t sure if your windshield is OEM or aftermarket, simply reference the DOT number on it. This will give you a lot of information about the manufacturer and where it was produced. You can also refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for further information on your car’s windshield requirements. Many reputable auto glass wholesalers and replacement shops carry OEM and aftermarket glass, and most offer warranties. These warranties should cover the installation process, so you can be confident that your new windshield is being installed correctly for safety purposes.

Durability

The durability of your car’s windshield is vital. It supports the structural integrity of your vehicle in a rollover situation and plays a crucial role in your safety. Houston alone experiences 184 automobile accidents daily, and many of these are caused by cracked or chipped windshields. Choosing a replacement windshield that matches your car manufacturer’s specifications is a must to ensure the durability of your vehicle.

Insurance policies vary in what they cover when it comes to auto glass, so it’s important to speak with educated professionals who can help you make the right decision for your unique situation. They will help you understand what options are available for your specific insurance policy and how that affects the cost.

During an insurance claim or repair, you will typically have the option to choose OEM or aftermarket replacement glass. Your car manufacturer makes OEM glass that meets or exceeds the industry standard for impact resistance. While this is a good choice for most consumers, it does come at a higher cost. This may be why some consumers are interested in aftermarket windshields.

Aftermarket windshields are made by regular glass companies that don’t have an OEM relationship with the original car company. This means they aren’t able to create exact copies of the windshield that went into your car at the factory. This can cause differences in thickness, color, tint, and UV protection. The fit and shape can also differ, which could mean that options attached to your windshield may not function properly.

One of the reasons that OEM glass is considered a better option than aftermarket is that it’s more likely to be durable. Aftermarket windshields are more likely to crack, chip, or break due to the lower-quality materials. This is why it’s best to stick with the glass that was originally installed in your car, especially if you’re considering getting a windshield replacement that will support the advanced technology that comes with your vehicle.

OE windshields are also more likely to be safe for your ADAS features, as these systems depend on the clearness of your windshield for proper operation. Nissan recommends only using a windshield that meets the manufacturer’s specifications to “ensure structural rigidity and ocular clarity for the ADAS system.”

Appearance

OEM and aftermarket windshields look similar, with each one delivering the same aesthetic qualities to your car. But when it comes to safety, the differences become starker. OEM glass is fabricated to the exact specifications set by your vehicle’s manufacturer, ensuring it will fit perfectly and meet all the necessary quality standards. Because of these high standards, a genuine windshield can better absorb the forces of stress and pressure in case of an accident or any other incident.

In contrast, aftermarket windshields are fabricated by any glass company that has no relationship with the original car dealer. Because of this, they might not be as quality centric as the OEM windshields made by the original car dealers. In addition, because of the different materials used by aftermarket windshields, they might not be as durable. The difference in appearance is also noticeable because the aftermarket windshields are often darker and thicker than the OE windshields.

When it comes to ADAS features, you must use a windshield manufactured by the original car dealer. As the industry started to see a rise in the number of windshields that were failing during calibration or weren’t functioning properly, it was soon discovered that aftermarket windshields weren’t able to meet the precise specifications needed. This was because the aftermarket windshields were not manufactured using the same CAD drawings as the OE windshields.

As the car industry became aware of these issues, OE windshield manufacturers stepped up their quality control to ensure that the new windshields would be able to fully function as intended. This was done by requiring a more rigorous testing process to ensure that the new windshields would work with car ADAS systems.

Ultimately, the decision between an OEM and an aftermarket windshield will be dictated by a variety of factors, including price, quality, and warranty coverage. If your customer’s insurance policy covers the cost of an OEM windshield, then that’s the right choice for them. However, if they are on a tight budget or their insurance doesn’t cover the full costs of an OEM windshield, then the aftermarket option might be a better fit.

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