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What is the difference between OEM and OE windshields?

July 18, 2023

What is the difference between OEM and OE windshields?

OE (Original Equipment) and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) are two terms often used in the auto industry. However, when it comes to windshields or auto parts in general, these terms can cause a bit of confusion. Here we will explain what OEM and OE stands for and what is the difference between the two.

What are OEM Windshields?

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) windshields are auto glass replacements that are made by the same company which initially manufactured the original windshield for a vehicle. OEM windshields are the gold standard for car glass replacements, as they match the exact specifications of the car’s make, model, and year, including size, shape, and curvature. This precision results in a perfect fit and optimum performance.

These windshields also adhere to the safety standards set by the vehicle’s manufacturer. They carry the manufacturer’s logo and often come with additional features such as a built-in rain sensor, solar coating, or an antenna. These are the exact replacements you would get if you went to your car’s dealership for a windshield replacement.

What are OE Windshields?

Original Equipment (OE) windshields, on the other hand, are produced by third-party companies who have contracts with car manufacturers to make windshields that match the specifications of the car’s original design. These companies are not the original manufacturers, but they have access to the design specifics of the vehicle.

OE windshields are meant to match the original specifications closely but may not be identical in every detail. The slight differences in OE windshields might be unnoticeable to the naked eye, but they can impact the fit, finish, and overall durability of the windshield. These windshields also meet safety standards, but they don’t carry the car manufacturer’s logo.

Difference between OEM and OE windshields

Here are some difference between OEM and OE windshields that you may want to consider before making a choice:

Authenticity and Branding

The first and foremost difference between OEM and OE windshields lies in their origin. OEM windshields are produced by the car’s original windshield manufacturer and come with the automaker’s logo, while OE windshields are made by third-party companies and do not bear the automaker’s branding.

Quality and Precision

While both types of windshields meet safety standards, OEM windshields are known for their precision and quality. They are guaranteed to have the same fit and finish as the car’s original windshield, offering an identical installation experience and performance. OE windshields, however, might not provide the same level of precision, as they are not made by the original manufacturer.


As expected, OEM windshields are typically more expensive than OE windshields. The cost of OEM windshields can be higher due to the branding, precision, and the additional features they carry. OE windshields, being third-party products, are usually cheaper and provide a cost-effective option for those on a budget.

Compatibility with Advanced Features

Modern cars come equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) which require precise calibration with the windshield. OEM windshields are likely to offer better compatibility with these systems because they match the original windshield’s specifications exactly. OE windshields may also work well, but the compatibility can vary based on how accurately the OE windshield replicates the original design.

Insurance Considerations

Insurance policies often cover windshield replacements. However, the extent of coverage may depend on the type of windshield you choose. Some insurance companies may fully cover the cost of an OEM windshield, while others may only cover the cost of an OE windshield.

Safety Standards and Regulations

As mentioned earlier, both OEM and OE windshields meet safety standards. However, the OEM windshields are subject to the same rigorous quality control and testing processes as the original windshields. They must meet stringent specifications laid out by the car’s original manufacturer.

OE windshields also need to comply with federal safety standards. Still, they might not undergo the same detailed testing procedures as their OEM counterparts. This could potentially lead to slight variances in quality and safety performance.

Installation Experience

When it comes to the installation experience, OEM windshields often offer a seamless fit, reducing the likelihood of wind noise, leaks, or installation-related issues. This is because OEM windshields are made to the exact dimensions and specifications of the original windshield.

While OE windshields aim to closely match the specifications of the original windshield, they may not always provide an exact fit. This can lead to slight installation challenges and potential fit and finish issues, affecting the aesthetic appeal and performance of the windshield.

Aftermarket Add-Ons and Technology Compatibility

Modern windshields come equipped with sophisticated technology such as head-up displays, lane departure warnings, and automatic wipers. OEM windshields, given their original specification adherence, are more likely to seamlessly integrate with these features.

OE windshields, on the other hand, may not always be compatible with these complex technologies. This can lead to subpar performance of these features, or in some cases, they might not work at all.

Durability and Longevity

OEM windshields often offer better durability and longevity. This is because they are made with the same materials and to the same specifications as the original windshields. This ensures that the windshield performs optimally over a longer period.

OE windshields, though built to mimic the original windshield, might not offer the same level of durability. This could be due to the use of different materials or manufacturing processes that differ from the original.

Value and Resale Considerations

If you’re considering selling your vehicle in the future, having an OEM windshield could potentially increase its value. Many prospective buyers and car enthusiasts appreciate vehicles maintained with OEM parts, as they equate this to higher quality and better vehicle performance.

The decision between choosing an OEM or OE windshield depends on your personal preference, budget, and vehicle requirements. It’s important to consider all these factors, including the potential impact on your vehicle’s performance and insurance considerations, before deciding. Our expert technicians at Nuvision take your requirement into consideration and suggest accordingly.

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