What is an OEM windshield
An Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM windshield is a type of automotive glass that is made by the same company that produced the original windshield for a specific vehicle model. The term “OEM” means that the part is the same as the original part that came with the vehicle.
OEM windshields are made to the exact specifications of the vehicle, which means they should fit perfectly and match the quality of the original glass. This includes the size, shape, color, durability, and even the placement of any distinctive features such as defrosters or antenna connections.
Purchasing an OEM windshield often ensures the highest level of quality and compatibility with your vehicle, but it might also be more expensive than aftermarket options. Companies make aftermarket windshields other than the original manufacturer and may not have the exact same specifications or features as an OEM windshield. However, they can be a cost-effective alternative if a replacement windshield is needed, and the vehicle’s owner is not concerned about maintaining the exact original specifications.
Quality and Safety Standards of OEM Windshields
What sets OEM windshields apart from aftermarket windshield are that the former is built to meet high quality and safety standards, as they are designed to be an exact match for the original windshield that came with the vehicle.
OEM windshields are created by either the car manufacturer or companies that are licensed by the manufacturer. This ensures that the windshield is of the same quality as the original. Quality is reflected in the glass’s durability, clarity, color, and additional features (like tinting or heating elements).
: OEM windshields must adhere to the safety standards set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) in the United States, which cover aspects like transparency, durability, and strength.
These windshields are designed to:
- Provide a clear field of vision for the driver. The windshield should not distort the driver’s view in any way. This is governed by the FMVSS’s guidelines on light transmission and visibility.
- Be strong and durable enough to contribute to the overall structural integrity of the vehicle. In many cars, the windshield aids in keeping the roof from collapsing during a rollover accident. They are also designed to withstand impact and not shatter easily.
- Work in conjunction with the vehicle’s airbag system. When an airbag is deployed, it can hit the windshield at high speed. The windshield must be strong enough to manage the impact and direct the airbag towards the passenger.
Consistency and Compatibility
Since OEM windshields are made according to the exact specifications of a particular vehicle model, there is a guaranteed consistency in fit and function. This ensures the vehicle’s various systems, like automatic wipers or heads-up displays, work perfectly with the windshield.
Regulation and Certification
OEM manufacturers are subject to regular audits and oversight by the car manufacturers and relevant safety authorities. This ensures their ongoing compliance with safety and quality standards. Choosing an OEM windshield ensures you are getting a product that meets rigorous standards of safety and quality, providing peace of mind that the replacement windshield is just as good as the original.
Why are OEM Windshields More Expensive?
When you notice the cost of OEM windshields, you may wonder why they carry a higher price point. The reasons are multifold.
Quality and Specification
OEM windshields are made to the exact specifications of the original equipment. This includes the exact shape, size, durability, and any other features (like antenna connections or defrosters) that were included in the original windshield. The high level of precision, quality control, and proprietary technology involved often leads to a higher cost.
The materials used in OEM windshields are usually of a higher quality than those used in aftermarket windshields. They may have better clarity, durability, and could also be more resistant to impacts and other damage.
Licensing and Trademark
OEM manufacturers must acquire the license to produce windshields that are the same as the original. The cost of obtaining these licenses is likely to be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices.
Research and Development
Car manufacturers spend a considerable amount of money on research and development to ensure the windshields they use in their vehicles meet high standards of safety and performance. The cost of this research and development is often reflected in the price of OEM parts.
Compatibility and Integration
OEM windshields are designed to work seamlessly with a vehicle’s other systems, like advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). This high level of integration often requires advanced production methods, which can add to the cost.
Sometimes, you are also paying for the brand name associated with the OEM. This is seen as a stamp of reliability and quality, but it can add to the cost. While the higher cost may seem a drawback, many vehicle owners see value in the exact fit, superior quality, and peace of mind that come with installing an OEM windshield.
An OEM windshield’s higher cost reflects its exceptional quality, precise fit, and the superior materials used in its construction. When considering a windshield replacement, you must weigh these factors against your budget to make the right choice for your vehicle and your safety.