But I thought you said this windshield was original equipment?
This is a common story for a consumer. A person has a new or rented vehicle and a glass is damaged. They call an auto glass company and tell the consumer that OEE is an original equipment equivalent replacement part for their vehicle. But when the auto glass technician shows up to complete the replacement, the piece of glass doesn’t actually have the vehicle manufacturer’s OEM logo on it.
oem – Original parts installed by the vehicle manufacturer during the assembly of your vehicle.
OEE – Parts produced for “aftermarket” fitment by 3rd party companies.
What is OEM auto glass? (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
When designing a new vehicle, the vehicle manufacturer may use an existing windshield part from an older vehicle model, or they may create an entirely new windshield and part number. If the decision is made to create an entirely new windshield, the vehicle manufacturer contracts with a glass fabricator to create the part. The glass manufacturer and vehicle manufacturer create a unique mold and unique molding/firing process to produce the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) windshield. Parts are installed when the vehicle is assembled at the vehicle manufacturer’s factory.
OEM parts are available for purchase through your local dealership or through an auto glass company. Please note that OEM installations through a dealer will be priced significantly higher than choosing a third party company for the replacement. OEM parts are usually more expensive than OEE. In fact, OEM can cost 100% more. Although Carlite (Ford) windshields are extremely affordable!
What is OEE or OE Auto Glass? (Original equipment equivalent)
After a new vehicle has arrived at dealerships and is sold to consumers, third-party glass manufacturers will source OEM glass and reverse-engineer a mold to make their own. after sales glass pieces This mold is created after they digitize an outline of the piece. The companies then create a firing process to bend and shape the glass. OEE aftermarket parts are slightly different in size, have slight differences in the curvature of the glass, and the glass may have a large distortion when viewed from a side angle. All these differences can be minimal or dramatic depending on the manufacturer. The cheaper the glass, the cheaper it was to manufacture.
Removal of the manufacturer’s logo
Some auto glass installation companies remove the manufacturer’s logo from windshields to trick consumers into believing it is actually an OEM. Remember to never buy glass without a manufacturer’s product label. The label is typically about 1 square inch in size and is located in the lower areas of the windshield, just above the painted black ceramic band. The manufacturer’s logo includes information about where the glass was made and has information for the Department of Transportation. Removing the logo is illegal.
What are the main differences between OEM and OEE?
1. Clarity of side view – All glass that is bent during manufacturing has some distortion when viewed from a side angle. This can be described as waves or undulation. Aftermarket glass is pressed, molded, and fired during manufacturing in a slightly different manner than the original process set forth by the vehicle manufacturer. As a result of the difference in manufacturing, the aftermarket process generally creates more distortion in the glass when viewed from a side angle. Sometimes it is much more!
2.Security – Both types of glass meet all federal safety standards and are also tested at places like AMECA, Automotive Manufacturer’s Equipment Compliance Agency Inc. Because both types meet certain safety guidelines, many glass installation companies for Automobiles defend the argument that the aftermarket is equivalent to the vehicle manufacturer’s original equipment replacement simply based on this similarity.
3.Glass thickness – The federal government actually has mandates about the thickness of a windshield. Most windshields are between 2 and 3 mm (millimeters) thick. OEE glass may have a thickness difference of 0.01mm or more. This can give rise to the idea that the aftermarket is cheaper. Although this is still as safe and OEM equivalent, I think it is different and may have a higher risk of cracking from debris impacts.
4. Black ceramic paint design. – Both types of glass often have the exact same paint designs around the edges of the glass, although there are some unique OEM windshields. This black design only hides areas from view (for example, under the dash, behind the side pillars) and protects the urethane glass adhesive from the UV rays emitted by the sun. UV rays will degrade the adhesive, causing the glass to fall off or come loose. One of the few differences found in the paint stripes may be the vehicle manufacturer’s or vehicle model’s logo embedded in the design. An example is a Ford Mustang windshield. The OEM windshield includes an image of the Mustang logo above the rearview mirror mount on the third visor.
5. The logo of the manufacturer/vehicle manufacturer – OEM windshields have a logo that matches all other glass parts on your vehicle. This is the easiest way to see if a piece of glass has been changed before, or to confirm if an auto glass company has ordered the right glass for you. The logo will have the logo of the vehicle manufacturer or the logo of the original supplier.
6. Rearview mirror mounts and sensors – Aftermarket (OEE) windshields use a different process to adhere the mirror mounts to the glass. I find that their quality of adhesion and placement is not as precise as the OEM parts. In fact, aftermarket dealers repeatedly drip glue onto the glass below the bracket, which can stain the black ceramic band on the inside side of the glass. When it comes to sensor components, such as rain sensors, the problem is not that slow. But on a BMW windshield, a misaligned mirror bracket can make it difficult to reinstall the plastic mirror cover assembly that hides the sensor and bracket.
So which windshield should I choose, OEM or OEE?
The biggest impact on your decision will be the budget. OEM parts almost always command a higher price. Most consumers simply choose OEE because they have no other choice, everyone needs to save a few bucks. However, don’t be afraid to choose aftermarket glass because safety is primarily affected by the technician installing the windshield correctly, not the glass itself. But if you really love your vehicle and expect the best quality, then you should choose OEM. And if you’re leasing your vehicle, your dealer may have restrictions on what type of glass is acceptable when returning the vehicle. You may get an additional fee if you have an aftermarket glass installed. Call your dealer for more information.