Automobile Tips & Tricks

Should You Pay Extra For A Genuine Factory Windshield?

by Dwight Harris

Replacing your windshield isn't a job that you should take lightly. Whether you're replacing your glass due to heavy pitting or acute damage, you want a replacement that will go the distance. The most crucial decision that you will make when scheduling a windshield replacement is whether to use genuine factory glass, OEM glass, or aftermarket glass.

Understanding the Difference

If you aren't familiar with the world of auto parts, then some of this terminology may be unfamiliar to you. There are three terms to know:

  • Genuine factory glass comes from your vehicle's manufacturer and will likely include the manufacturer's logo.
  • OEM (original equipment manufacturer) glass comes from the same manufacturer as the genuine glass and meets the same specifications but lacks the stamped logo.
  • Aftermarket glass comes from alternative manufacturers and may or may not meet or exceed the specifications of your original glass.

Any replacement glass that you purchase will fall into one of these three categories. Always ask your installer which type of windshield they will be using on your vehicle.

The Advantages of Genuine or OEM Glass

In general, genuine replacement glass is rarely necessary. Although it may not include your vehicle manufacurer's logo, the OEM glass will meet the same specifications and perform identically. If you are concerned, you should be able to contact your vehicle's dealership to request the name of the original manufacturer of your car's glass. You can then use this to confirm that the OEM supplier matches.

Using genuine or OEM glass ensures a perfect fit and identical performance to your original windshield. Taking this approach means taking the safe road: you know that you won't need to worry about long-term quality issues. OEM glass may be particularly important for vehicles with heads-up displays, rain sensors, or other glass-sensitive electronic equipment.

Knowing When to Choose Aftermarket Glass

With genuine and OEM parts offering so many advantages, aftermarket replacements still have one significant benefit: lower costs. The trade-off is that aftermarket glass may only meet minimum federal safety standards and may not match your vehicle manufacturer's specifications. While quality aftermarket windshields exist, lower-quality examples may have long-term fitting or durability issues.

Many installers will be familiar with both the OEM and aftermarket options available, and they can advise you on the best glass for your car. For older vehicles without driver-assistance features, such as a quality aftermarket windshield may offer better value. Knowing your choices and discussing them with your installer can help to ensure that you choose an affordable, long-lasting replacement.