OEM Glass and Aftermarket Glass: A Comparison For The Average Joe

OEM Glass and Aftermarket Glass: A Comparison For The Average Joe

If we had our way, we would never want to be in a situation where we would need to replace our car’s original windshield. While some car owners may have never had to do any windshield replacement, many didn’t have much of a choice. Countless windshields had to be replaced because of things that hit them while on the road, from tiny pebbles to birds.

Should the time come to bring your car to an auto glass repair shop to get a replacement windshield, know that you have two clear choices. One is called OEM auto glass, and the other is aftermarket auto glass. Read on to know more about them.

Windshield Crack Shining In Driver’s Eye

OEM Auto Glass

When manufacturing cars, auto companies bid out the privilege of providing the auto glass for their products. The winning firm will then have the consent to fabricate glass to the exact specifications of the carmaker. This company holds the distinction of being an Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM, and any windshield it produces is referred to as OEM auto glass.

In terms of thickness, color, shape, and fit, an OEM windshield is virtually identical to the original windshield you’re replacing. And since OEM auto glass makers are duly licensed by the company that made your car, the OEM windshield they’ll provide will likely bear the carmaker’s brand name and logo as well.

Aftermarket or OEE Auto Glass

OEM auto glass is made by companies affiliated with car manufacturers. On the other hand, aftermarket auto glass, also known as Original Equipment Equivalent glass, is fabricated by auto glass makers without the consent of car companies.

Because of the absence of a license, aftermarket auto glass makers cannot stamp their products with the carmaker’s brand. They are also legally prohibited from making exact replicas of OEM glass. This is the very reason there’s a marked difference between OEM glass and aftermarket auto glass in terms of thickness, shape, fit, and tint.



Being licensed by automakers to make windshields for them speaks volumes about the quality of OEM windshields. Whatever standards car manufacturers have set for their vehicles, OEM auto glass makers surely meet them. When you get an OEM windshield replacement, you will likely get the exact same level of safety, fit, and finish as your car’s original windshield.

Aftermarket auto glass meets or exceeds the minimum safety standards set by the Department of Transportation. The companies that make them, however, don’t have the consent of carmakers to provide their windshields, which means their products aren’t up to the latter’s standards.


One of the biggest drawbacks of opting for OEM windshields is the price tag. As a product bearing the stamp of approval of the company that produced your car, an OEM windshield is typically a lot more expensive than aftermarket glass.

The much lower price of aftermarket glass, on the other hand, is what makes them more palatable for car owners looking for a windshield replacement.


Is your car an older model? If so, then you will probably find it difficult to get an OEM windshield replacement for it. The stock for OEM auto glass for older cars or even certain newer models is often limited.

When it comes to availability, aftermarket auto glass has it over OEM auto glass. After all, aftermarket auto glass manufacturers outnumber OEM auto glass makers. Remember that for every auto glass company successfully bidding for designation as an OEM, there are many more firms that fail to get the nod. These same companies eventually become aftermarket auto glass manufacturers, putting out more such products for more vehicle makes and models.


Most standard car insurance policies don’t fully cover the cost of an OEM windshield. If you’re using car insurance for windshield replacement, your options will likely be limited to aftermarket windshields, that is, if you want full coverage.

When replacing your windshield, carefully consider the comparisons above. Take note of the pros and cons so you can come up with an educated decision. You should factor in your personal preferences, too. Whether you go for OEM auto glass or an aftermarket windshield, make sure that professionals take care of its installation for the best results.

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