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.

What’s the Difference Between an OEM Windshield and an Aftermarket Windshield?

If you need a windshield replacement, you’ll have to make an important decision: an OEM windshield, OEE windshield, or aftermarket? This can be a difficult decision, but here’s a quick run-down on the difference between them.

An OEM windshield is essentially identical to the windshield that was installed in your car when it was manufactured. They’re made by the same company that manufactured your original windshield, so it’s a perfect match for the original. The color will be the same, as will the fit, the thickness, and the shape. It will even have the same logos. Even more importantly, all the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) features that connected to your original windshield will work perfectly.

Technicians Installing New Windshield

So, why wouldn’t you choose an OEM windshield? The price of the OEM glass can be 40 – 60% higher than a comparable aftermarket windshield. Some insurance companies won’t pay for OEM glass because of the higher costs. Other insurance companies may only pay for OEM glass if the vehicle is a new model – for example, a year or two old.

Other Options

There are also OEE (Original Equipment Equivalent) windshields. These are manufactured by the same companies that make OEM windshields. They’re made to the same standards as an OEM but they don’t come with the manufacturer’s logo – or the price.

Aftermarket windshields are made by companies that have no affiliation with the auto manufacturers. Believe it or not, copyright laws affect even windshield manufacturers, so aftermarket glass companies are prohibited from creating replicas of OEM windshields. They also don’t consult with the original windshield company or automaker.

Aftermarket windshields will have the same shape and fit, but there can be many differences compared to your original windshield. The tint or UV protection may be different, or the windshield may not be as thick. The original windshield ADAS features may not work properly – or at all. While aftermarket windshields are the least expensive option, they often sacrifice the quality you would find in an OEM or OEE windshield.

The type of replacement windshield that you choose will depend on your personal preferences as well as your budget. Our team at Lucky Dog Auto Glass is happy to offer recommendations and help you choose one that works best for you. Contact us at 253-569-9403 for a free estimate or send us a message through our online form.

Contact us today at 253-569-9403 to schedule your appointment.

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