Learn the difference between OEM, OEE, and after-market so you can make the best decision for your car
If your car windshield or windows have recently sustained damage from an accident, vandalism, a weather event, or maybe just a stray baseball, you may be looking at your repair options. And if you’ve done any research on the subject, you may have come across conflicting information on what really matters when it comes to auto glass.
You may be wondering questions like: Is there a difference between high and low quality auto glass? If there is, how can I be sure a technician is using high quality? What’s the difference between auto glass and regular glass anyway?
At Precision Auto Glass Pros, we have over five years of experience in the auto glass industry and are committed to providing our customers with precision workmanship, the highest quality materials, and transparent guidance on what the best options are for your situation.
So today, let’s talk about the difference between high and low quality auto glass, and what factors you should consider when making a decision on your repairs.
The first thing you should know before making any decisions about windshield or window repairs is what exactly the difference between auto glass and regular glass is.
There are two types of auto glass that are used in different parts of the car. Side windows and the back windshield are usually made out of tempered glass, which is created by rapidly heating and cooling a single-ply sheet of glass. This makes the glass break into pebble-like pieces rather than dangerous shards in the case of an accident.
Windshields, on the other hand, are made out of laminated glass, which is made by fusing two sheets of glass together with a thin layer of plastic in between. This makes the glass much stronger than regular glass. It also makes it so that, upon a large enough impact, it breaks without shattering, which greatly reduces the chance of injury for passengers in the car. It also acts as a bit of a cushion if an occupant flies out of the car during an accident.
Because auto glass is highly specialized, it is impossible to replace it with regular glass without compromising the safety of passengers in the car.
So, if you’re wondering whether or not you can just go to your local hardware store and pick up some glass to replace your windshield or windows with, the answer is no. You need to use auto glass specifically designed for each part of your car like you utilize each shade of paint.
Now that we know what auto glass is and why it’s different from regular glass, let’s talk about the difference between OEM, OEE, and after-market auto glass.
OEM, or original equipment manufacturer auto glass is made by the same company that made your car. It is designed to fit your specific make and model of car perfectly, and always comes with a small stamp indicating the carmaker’s logo and brand — usually in one of the lower corners. If you bought your car new, or if you bought it used with original parts, your auto glass should all be OEM.
When it comes to quality, OEM glass is the best you can get — and unfortunately, this is reflected in its price. OEM glass will be anywhere from 40% to 60% higher in price than after-market or OEE glass. It also isn’t usually covered by insurance, unless the car is only one to two years old.
OEE, or original equipment equivalent glass, is auto glass that was made by the same company (and sometimes even in the same factory) as OEM glass, but doesn’t come with the premium price. OEE glass usually has the logo of the glass manufacturer stamped on it rather than the carmaker, but is otherwise built with the same (or very similar) standards and specifications as OEM glass.
While proper OEE glass is very similar in quality to OEM, and in some cases, may even surpass the quality of OEM, OEE is not an official title, and many types of after-market glass may be labeled as OEE — even if the glass is severely lacking in quality and was manufactured in facilities that have nothing to do with your car manufacturer. For this reason, it is important to do research on OEE glass and partner with a reputable glass repair shop.
At the very bottom of the glass totem pole is low quality after-market glass that is considerably different from what you would get from OEM glass. These products may or may not carry the OEE label, and if they do, there is no guarantee that they actually meet equivalency standards. In fact, after-market glass is often required to have a significant difference in thickness, shape, and color from the original glass in order to not infringe on a car manufacturer’s copyright laws.
After-market glass is usually very cheap, but you get what you pay for. Low-quality after-market glass is known to cause problems down the road, including decreased safety, leakage, and cracks.
While it may sound like OEM is always the best way to go, the fact is, this heavily depends on your car, your insurance, your budget, and the type of after-market glass available to you. Many OEE glass options are perfectly acceptable replacements, and in many cases, this is the better route to go than spending the extra time and money on certified OEM parts.
Most reputable auto glass technicians, such as Precision Auto Glass Pros, will be able to advise you according to your unique circumstances like your posters in the room, and will only offer you high-quality options that don’t compromise the safety of your car.
If you’re looking to get your windshields, windows, or any other auto glass repaired or replaced with expertise, contact us at Precision Auto glass pros to request a quote today. We put your safety and satisfaction as our number one priority, so you’ll always walk away with only the best glass for your car — whether you have a regular car, truck, RV, or a commercial vehicle.