Which Should You Choose: OEM or Aftermarket Auto Glass

Shattered Glass From Heavy Accident

Chipped, cracked, shattered—auto glass issues don’t just sound awful. They look bad and can even cause safety issues. You need to get it replaced ASAP, but how do you know what to believe about auto glass replacement quality?

Most people will say that you should only replace your auto glass with an OEM product, meaning replacement glass is designed and approved by your carmaker to fit and work right. Others will tell you that aftermarket glass—which is an unauthorized copy of the original—can be less expensive, but just as good as OEM glass.

It turns out to be more complicated than it looks at first glance.

Our Go-To Glass is OEM

Most of the glass we install in cars is OEM glass. Why? Because it was built to fit your car or truck. There is no concern about whether the product is produced to the high standards the car manufacturer demands. We’ve had great success installing OEM glass in thousands of cars.

So, end of story, right?

The truth is that manufacturers bid out contracts for their glass, and there are only a limited number of glassmakers out there. Though these glassmakers are licensed to stamp the manufacturer’s name and logo on that piece of glass, they also make aftermarket glass. In fact, they might make the aftermarket glass that could replace yours.

OEM manufacturers also know that consumers fixate on OEM parts, so they slow production on OEM window glass and only distribute through “approved” partners. This elevates prices. Vehicle manufacturers also make it difficult for aftermarket companies to produce specialized glass with rain sensors and antennas, which also drives up cost and their profit margins.

Is your Conception of Aftermarket Glass Half-full?

First off, not all replacement glass is equal.

Some replacement glass is cheap and just not as good. It may barely meet government standards and fail to meet manufacturer standards. These are the products that give aftermarket glass a terrible reputation. We avoid it, and you should, too.

Other replacement glass, though, exceeds both what the manufacturer and government demand. It may even be as good as OEM glass and costs less too.

Here is where experience and trust come in. If the right OEM part isn’t available, or maybe you want something less expensive, we can find you the best aftermarket option.

Dealing with Insurers

Unless your car is less than two years old, most insurers push aftermarket glass because it costs them less. You can pay for an OEM endorsement on your policy, which ensures OEM replacement parts—but, otherwise, if you choose OEM glass, you may have to pay the difference in cost between that and the “approved” glass.

You can, though, choose who you want to work with to replace your windshield. Insurers will push you toward their partners. You can take your chances there, or you can opt for a local company that is your advocate and will make sure you optimize your policy, get the best glass possible, and pay as little out of pocket as possible.

Who’s the lucky dog, now?

For a free estimate and straight talk, call the pros at Lucky Dog Auto Glass at 253-569-9403 today!

OE, OEM, and Aftermarket Windshields: What’s the Difference?

If you need your windshield replaced, you’ll discover you have several options: OE, OEM, and aftermarket. Which one would be the best choice for your vehicle? Here’s a breakdown of how each type of glass is classified and how they differ:

OE, OEM, or Aftermarket?

OE stands for “original equipment,” and includes the windshield your car was fitted with when it was made at the factory. Although OE windshields are produced by a separate, specialized company, they’re branded as the manufacturer’s own. So for example, an OE windshield that’s used in a BMW will have official BMW packaging and part numbers even though it’s actually made by another manufacturer. Auto manufacturers bid out contracts for auto glass yearly, so the company that made the OE glass in your make and model in 2004 may not be the same manufacturer used in the same make and model in 2007 – instead, the 2004 company many now be selling OEM auto glass.

Smashed Windscreen

An OEM (original equipment manufacturer) is a company that manufactures auto glass to be the same specifications (size, shape, color, thickness, and durability) as the OE glass, however, it’s not necessarily from the same distributor that supplied the glass for assembly in the factory. There may be some slight variations in OEM glass, but it’s nearly identical to OE and typically less expensive. Some OEMs will sell parts directly to consumers under their own brand name but unless these parts are supplied directly from the automaker, they can’t be classified or marketed as OE.

Aftermarket is a term that’s used widely for any alternative replacement part not fitted in the factory or produced by an OEM. These replacement parts and performance upgrades are not endorsed or branded by manufacturers, either. The quality of aftermarket parts can vary greatly; some may be lower quality while others may be comparable to an OE/OEM part. Regardless of the quality, aftermarket parts are typically less expensive than OEM parts.

OEM: A Good Balance Between Cost & Quality

The majority of windshield replacements we perform are with OEM windshields, as these provide a good balance between high-quality and cost-effectiveness. Although some claim that aftermarket glass is 100% equivalent to OEM, there are some differences. Non-OEM parts and components must be made slightly different than OE or OEM parts to avoid copyright infringement, so although they may look the same at first glance there may be slight variations in the way the windshield fits or its finish. An aftermarket windshield may not work properly with ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), either which could impact your vehicle’s safety features. Aftermarket glass parts also aren’t typically accepted by new car manufacturers for warranty claims and in many cases, they violate the repair requirements of leasing contracts.

Ultimately, the type of glass you choose will likely come down to cost and personal preferences. Our team here at Lucky Dog Auto Glass is happy to offer recommendations to help you choose a windshield that meets your needs and budget. Contact us at 253-569-9403 for a free estimate or send us a message online.

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