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OEM Vs. Aftermarket Windshields: 3 Things To Know Before Making Your Decision

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One of the risks you take when driving your car on highways is getting a broken windshield. This often happens when debris flies up and hits a windshield, and it is something that will leave you in need of windshield replacement. If this happens to you, there will be two main options you have. You can either have the windshield replaced with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) windshield, or you can choose an aftermarket windshield. Before making your choice, here are three things you should know about this.

The Main Differences

OEM auto parts refer to parts that are made by the manufacturers of cars. All OEM parts are made specifically for certain years, makes, and models of vehicles, and these parts are identical to the parts your car already has. If you purchase a new windshield that is an OEM windshield, it will be exactly the same window as the one your car currently has.

The other option is purchasing an aftermarket windshield. Aftermarket auto parts are not made by car manufacturers. These parts may look almost identical to OEM parts, but there are usually some differences with them.

When it comes to a windshield replacement, an aftermarket one may be the exact same dimensions as your original windshield, but it may be different in:

  • Type of glass
  • Thickness
  • Coloring

A key difference you will notice if you get prices on each type is that OEM windshields are more expensive than aftermarket parts. Almost any aftermarket part you purchase for your car will be cheaper than OEM parts you can buy.

The other difference you should know is that an aftermarket windshield may cause problems for your vehicle. This window may not fit perfectly, and it might end up cracking or coming loose. You may also have problems with the seal around the window, and you may hear air leaking through it. These problems do not always happen with aftermarket windshields, but you will have a higher chance of having problems if you select an aftermarket windshield instead of an OEM windshield.

What Your Insurance Covers

If you have comprehensive auto insurance, your insurance company will allow you to file a claim for the windshield damage. The insurance company may agree to pay a certain portion of the costs to replace the windshield, but they may have rules about which type of windshield you must get if you need yours replaced.

Most insurance companies do not care which type you use if you need your windshield replaced, but it is always good to ask about this if you are planning on submitting a claim for the cost of repairs.

Leased Car Rules

Leasing a car is similar to renting it, and when you lease there are rules you must follow. One of these rules may relate to the type of windshield you are required to use if you must replace the windshield on the leased vehicle.

If you are leasing the car that has a cracked windshield, contact the dealer before making any repairs. If the dealer requires an OEM windshield and you use an aftermarket one, you may have trouble returning the car when the lease ends. While you may want to use an aftermarket one because it is cheaper, this may turn out to be a costly mistake if the dealer charges you for this.

Broken windshields can happen to anyone, but this is a problem that must be addressed right away. If you encounter this issue and need to get your windshield replaced, make sure you find out what type you should use before you hire a glass company to replace the windshield for you.