OEM Windshield vs Aftermarket: What’s the Difference?

July 21, 2020


Crack! Your windshield has just about bitten the dust, and now you need a replacement. When facing this decision, you have two choices: an OEM windshield vs aftermarket windshield.

On the surface, the type you choose might not seem to matter. Your biggest priority is getting the job done so you can get back on the road. But at Bright Auto Glass,

we know the difference really does matter, and it will matter to you, too, at some point.Here’s a breakdown of the great OEM windshield vs aftermarket debate so you can make an informed choice for your vehicle.


What Does OEM Mean?


OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This means your OEM windshield will be identical to the windshield your car originally came with.

 The glass might not come directly from the same company that manufactured the original windshield. However, it will be made according to the car maker’s specs and regulations.

This means the same thickness and same durability, too.In addition, every OEM windshield is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is a major safety signal that should help you trust its quality.


The Differences Between OEM Windshield vs Aftermarket


Now that you know what an OEM windshield is, let’s compare it to an aftermarket version.

Aftermarket windshields are made by companies that aren’t necessarily contracted with specific auto manufacturers. They have no contract with the automaker, and therefore do not have to abide by the maker’s specific regulations and requirements.

Here’s another interesting tidbit: due to copyright laws, aftermarket auto glass companies are actually prohibited from making identical components of the factory versions!Of course, the glass will need to be the same dimensions as your car’s windshield frame. Otherwise, the glass wouldn’t fit flush. However, what may be different is the thickness and durability of the glass. The tint of the glass might also vary.

If you’ve ever had an aftermarket windshield, you might notice the glass is wavy instead of smooth. Many car owners who have had aftermarket windshields have noticed an increase in noise.

Some may also be more prone to leaking.The cosmetic differences are often minor, but discerning car owners are usually unsatisfied with aftermarket glass.


Comparing the Cost of OEM Windshield vs Aftermarket Windshield


For many car owners, the windshield they choose comes down to cost. Aftermarket glass is usually cheaper than OEM glass.

In some cases, insurance companies may only cover aftermarket glass to save money. If this is the case, you may have the option to pay the difference to get an OEM windshield.But cost shouldn’t be the only factor.

Performance and safety are important, too, and many car owners may not be happy with the quality of an aftermarket windshield.

This isn’t to say that all aftermarket windshields are inferior. But it’s not always easy to tell quality ones apart from ones that may not provide adequate safety or durability. 


Why You Need an OEM Windshield


At Bright Auto Glass, we strongly advocate for OEM windshields. This is because we recognize the quality, value, and peace of mind that comes with having the windshield made specifically for your make and model. We realize that not all non-OEM parts are poor quality, but we’re committed not to cut corners with your safety.

Think about the purpose of your windshield. It’s not just to protect you from wind and road debris. It’s also a valuable component that contributes to your vehicle’s structural integrity. In a rollover crash, your windshield helps to prevent the car’s frame from collapsing.

It is first and foremost a safety component, which is why it’s not wise to take shortcuts just to save on costs.When you get an OEM windshield, the quality factor isn’t much of a concern. You can rest easy knowing your windshield has been made to the appropriate specifications. With an aftermarket option, you don’t have this same reassurance.

 Your windshield could have been made in a different thickness and to different quality standards.This is another reason why you should only use a trusted auto glass shop with trained professionals. Someone with in-depth knowledge of the industry can ensure you get better results.

This includes knowing how to properly source parts and components.We think of it as doing the job right the first time. When you know you’ve installed a quality windshield, you are at less risk of incurring further damage that will land you back in the auto glass shop.

What’s more, things like leaks that are due to poor quality windshields may not be covered by your insurance company. Your installer may fix the windshield leak, but then you’re left with water damage to your interior.

Also worth mentioning is that if you are leasing your car, an OEM windshield may be your only option. Many leasing contracts stipulate that any auto glass replacements must be OEM. You will need to check your specific contract for the fine details


Get OEM Windshield Replacement at Bright Auto Glass


When it comes to the OEM windshield vs aftermarket windshield debate, the decision comes down to more than money. Sacrificing quality to save a few bucks is not a viable long term solution. In this case, you truly do get what you pay for. This includes peace of mind, which can be invaluable.

At Bright Auto Glass, we’re more than just installers. We are auto glass consultants that are determined to help you make an informed decision for your vehicle. We put our in-depth knowledge of the industry to work in choosing only OEM equipment from trusted suppliers.

And equally important, we’ll advocate on your behalf with your insurance company to ensure fair payment for OEM glass.Put your trust in Denver’s auto glass consultants. Schedule your OEM windshield replacement at Bright Auto Glass today!