Most of the time, it’s easy to ignore your car’s windshield—after all, you’re supposed to see right through it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a critical part of your vehicle. Your windshield is responsible for protecting you and your passengers from debris, wind, and precipitation while you’re out on the road, but it does much more: Modern windshields also come packed with sensors that make cutting-edge safety features possible.
When it’s time to repair or replace auto glass, you have an important choice to make. There are essentially two different types of replacement windshields: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and Original Equipment Equivalent (OEE) auto glass. Both of these windshield options come with unique strengths and weaknesses, so deciding between them can be a challenge. Would you like help deciding which windshield variety is best for you? If so, read on for our complete auto glass guide.
What Is OEM and OEE Auto Glass?
Before deciding what type of replacement windshield you want, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand your options. Here’s a brief explanation of the two major auto glass categories:
Your vehicle’s original windshield was manufactured to meet a set of strict specifications. The manufacturer carefully determined everything from its shape to its thickness during the car design process.
Of course, car manufacturers aren’t the only companies capable of meeting these standards. In fact, they look for other businesses that can make glass products that live up to their expectations. Licensed auto glass companies are known as Original Equipment Manufacturers.
OEM auto glass is the closest possible equivalent to the windshield that came with your car. As an added seal of quality, most OEM windshields are stamped with the name and logo of the original vehicle manufacturer.
Also known as “aftermarket glass,” OEE glass is another type of auto glass replacement. These products are highly effective replacement windshields sold at a considerably lower price than OEM glass. Still, you should be aware of some significant differences between OEM and OEE glass. Unlike OEM auto glass, OEE glass is not licensed by automakers, meaning it won’t feature your car manufacturer’s logo.
These windshields also won’t be identical to your original windshield in terms of fit, shape, color, or thickness. However, that isn’t the result of carelessness—aftermarket manufacturers aren’t legally permitted to produce windshields that meet OEM standards for specific vehicles.
Comparing Your Auto Glass Options
Are you still unsure whether OEM or OEE glass is right for you? Here’s how these windshields compare in terms of:
OEM glass can’t be beaten when you want the best for your vehicle’s windshield replacement. OEM windshields are nearly identical to the auto glass you already had, thanks to their adherence to manufacturer standards.
Naturally, OEE glass can’t meet the standards set by your car company. Still, products in this category aren’t unsafe or unreliable—they meet, or exceed, the minimum safety requirements issued by the Department of Transportation.
The quality provided by OEM glass comes at a price. Since these windshields are officially licensed and must meet higher standards than aftermarket glass, they are generally more expensive than the alternative. If you want an OEM windshield for your car, it pays to do your research and find a trustworthy supplier of this auto glass.
Licensed manufacturers are the only businesses capable of making OEM glass, so it stands to reason that it’s easier to find OEE windshields. In addition, stock issues can make it especially difficult to find OEM auto glass for older vehicles.
For the most part, standard car insurance won’t cover the total cost of an OEM windshield. As a result, you may need to go with OEE glass to get full coverage. That said, you can certainly opt for partial coverage on OEM glass and pay the remainder out of pocket.
How Does Windshield Replacement Work?
When your car’s glass is past the point where auto glass repair can help, it’s time for a windshield replacement. If that’s the case for you, here’s what you can expect during this process:
- First, a mechanic will clean the cracked portion of your current windshield, removing any glass shards in the area. This will lower the risk of accidents when the windshield is removed.
- After the cleaning process, the mechanic will remove any components connecting your windshield to the vehicle (like the rubber gasket and frame). The windshield wipers will also be removed at this time.
- Then, the windshield will be taken out, and your OEM or OEE replacement windshield will be put in.
That covers the basics of windshield replacement, but the job doesn’t stop there. An incorrectly installed windshield can come with a heightened risk of further damage, so checking your windshield alignment is crucial. The mechanic will perform some tests to ensure your windshield has been installed correctly, such as pouring water over the glass to look for leaks or taking your vehicle out for a quick test drive. When that’s taken care of, your car will be ready to hit the road again!
Get The Best Auto Glass in Tucson
Not all Arizona auto glass companies are equally qualified. To make sure you’re getting high-quality OEM or OEE auto glass in Tucson, AZ, look for an auto glass business that offers:
- Qualified technicians. In the world of auto glass, the gold standards for technicians include certifications from Dow and the Auto Glass Safety Council.
- Premium materials. Your new windshield needs to be made by a known auto glass manufacturer, such as AGC, Pilkington, Carlite, or Saint Gobain.
- Flexible scheduling. Look for a business that will let you book an appointment online and that provides mobile auto glass service.
- Opportunities to save. Windshield replacements can be pricey, so make sure the company handling the job for you offers valuable promotions and financing options.
Max Auto Glass can deliver all of these perks, and more, whenever you need windshield replacement or repair in Arizona. Set up an appointment online today!