Not All Windshields Are Created Equal
Windshields are Windshields right? Not so Fast!
When the need to replace a car part arises, the choice always boils down to an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part or an aftermarket part. Having to replace your windshield is no different. If your vehicle is relatively new and is under warranty, you might not have much of a choice because your insurance provider basically dictates that you should go to your dealer for service and parts replacement, although we have great relationships with the insurance companies, and we can help get you the best part possible! It’s a different story, though, when your car isn’t as new. But what if you’re just in the middle ground? To help you choose what’s best for you, Big Sky Collision Center has provided a quick summary of the difference between an OEM and an aftermarket windshield.
What is an OEM Windshield?
To be labeled as an OEM windshield, the product should be almost identical to what the dealer used when your vehicle was assembled at the plant. While car manufacturers are rarely the ones who manufacture their own windshield glass, an OEM windshield is supposed to be made in accordance with your car maker’s exact specifications in terms of size, thickness, color, shape and durability, so that it will fit perfectly on your vehicle. Moreover, OEM windshields are Department of Transportation certified, which means an assurance of quality and safety for you. It’s the more expensive choice, but it’s likely the safest one too.
Big Sky Collision wants to make sure that your vehicle is safe. When we repair any vehicle, we use as many OEM parts as possible to ensure the highest quality finished product.
What is an Aftermarket Windshield?
Aftermarket glass is made by auto class companies who are not under contract with any car maker. Accordingly, these companies do not have to follow specific manufacturing guidelines and regulations. Licensing rights and copyright laws actually disallow them to make windshields that are exactly the same as factory-installed types or versions. This basically means that when you opt for an aftermarket windshield, only the size is guaranteed to be identical with your original windshield. The thickness, color, shape, and durability may be different, and the differences can range from being almost unnoticeable, to slightly noticeable and outright very displeasing.
As tempting as it is to choose an aftermarket replacement because it is more budget-friendly and takes lesser time to install, car owners should be aware of the fact that a windshield performs some very important safety functions. When an accident happens, it maintains the structural integrity of your vehicle by keeping your roof from collapsing in case of a rollover. It also acts as a backstop when an airbag is deployed.
While OEM windshields provide guarantee for your safety, with a poor aftermarket choice, you might be compromising your safety as some aftermarket glass manufacturers have been known to use substandard sealants and adhesives, then not allow sufficient time for adhesives to set and harden. The process is made faster, you get to drive your car home within a shorter period of time, but you might encounter some safety issues thereafter because of the overall substandard procedure done.
What windshield to choose
The decision will depend on a car owner’s personal preference, budget, and vehicle type. If it’s a high-end or luxury car like a BMW, having a part replaced is almost always done directly through the dealer. When your warranty is at stake, there’s not much choice either but to go to your dealer. With older cars, on the other hand, an aftermarket part is generally acceptable and a more reasonable choice. In the end, there’s really no fixed answer as the final choice will ultimately be based on your overall personal circumstances.
Big Sky Collision Center Replaces Windshields
Do you need your windshield replaced? Give us a call! Do you need hail damage repaired? We can do that! Do you need your car painted? We have the tools! Do you need an auto body shop that is going to be fair and honest? We are here to serve you!
Call 406-259-6328 to schedule a time to bring your car in.