Weather, debris, untreated chips and/or cracks can create the need for a windshield replacement. Since auto glass is not only a necessary visibility feature but also a vehicle safety feature, it is important to understand what your options are when searching for windshield replacement. Not only should your search include a reputable glass replacement company, but you should also consider what different types of auto glass are out there and what the features and benefits of each option are.
Dealer Auto Glass
When you buy auto glass that is sold as dealer glass, you are buying the branded replacement for your vehicle’s original equipment. This means that not only will it fit the manufacturer’s specifications, but it will also bear any manufacturer branding because it is coming directly from the company your auto manufacturer contracted for this purpose. This is important for people doing restorations or preserving vehicles, but it does tend to come at a premium price. However, if having a fully original vehicle is important to you, this is an option you should consider.
OEM glass is made to the exact specifications of the original vehicle design, but not necessarily by the same company that originally manufactured parts for the vehicle. These parts are typically unbranded, but they are otherwise indistinguishable from dealer glass in terms of quality, thickness, material composition, and other important features. Usually, this can be a money-saving option, but the exact savings will vary from vehicle to vehicle.
The most economical choice available is usually aftermarket glass, but there are a few things to consider with this option. Typically, aftermarket products are manufactured to all safety regulations, but not to conform to the exact design specifications of the original equipment. This means you will get a basic product that does its job, but the exact material composition, thickness, and other features might be a little different from the original vehicle design. Depending on your vehicle, this can be a real bargain.
Performance or Updated Glass
It’s also possible to move up in terms of quality by purchasing upgraded aftermarket parts, trading up for a higher quality urethane, or for other upgraded components. These choices tend to be more expensive, but when they are available they can improve your driving experience by:
- Improving heating and cooling efficiency
- Improving visibility
- Lowering decibels of road noise
In the end, the right choice is a matter of matching your budget to your needs. It’s important to understand what each choice means, though, so you can get the best fit for your vehicle.