Types of Windshields: OEM vs. Aftermarket

In the world of automotive repairs and replacements, one key decision many customers face is choosing the right type of windshield for their vehicles. Windshields are more than just pieces of glass; they play a critical role in the safety and aesthetics of your car.

When it comes to selecting a windshield, you’ll often hear about OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and aftermarket options. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and making an informed choice is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the differences between OEM and aftermarket windshields, helping you make a decision that’s right for your vehicle.

OEM WindshieldsAftermarket Windshields
– Perfect fit for your vehicle.
– High-quality materials and safety standards.
– Manufacturer’s warranty.
– Ideal for high-end or luxury cars.
– Maintains original aesthetics.
– Cost-effective.
– Variety of options in tints and features.
– More readily available.
– Competitive pricing.
– Customization options.
– Higher cost.
– Limited availability for older or less popular models.
– Limited repair services.
– Potential fitment issues.
– Varying quality between brands.
– Limited warranty coverage.
– May not perfectly match the original aesthetics.
– May require more extensive research to find a reputable brand.

What is an OEM Windshield?

  • OEM windshields are the factory-made windshields that originally came with your vehicle.
  • These windshields are designed and manufactured by the same company that produced your car.
  • They are exact replicas of the original windshield, ensuring a perfect fit and compatibility.

The Advantages of OEM Windshields

  • Perfect Fit: OEM windshields are designed to fit your vehicle’s make and model precisely, ensuring a seamless installation.
  • Quality Assurance: They are made using the same high-quality materials as the original, maintaining safety standards.
  • Warranty Coverage: Many OEM windshields come with a manufacturer’s warranty, giving you peace of mind.
  • Compatibility: Ideal for high-end or luxury vehicles where aesthetics and quality are paramount.

The Drawbacks of OEM Windshields

  • Cost: OEM windshields are often more expensive than their aftermarket counterparts.
  • Limited Options: Availability may be limited, especially for older or less popular car models.
  • Repair Services: Limited availability of repair services, and may require specialized dealerships.

What is an Aftermarket Windshield?

  • Aftermarket windshields are not produced by the original car manufacturer.
  • They are manufactured by third-party companies and are designed to fit a wide range of makes and models.
  • These windshields may come in various designs, tints, and features.

The Advantages of Aftermarket Windshields

  • Cost-Effective: Aftermarket windshields are often more budget-friendly, making them an attractive choice for many.
  • Variety: You have a wider range of options in terms of tints, features, and styles.
  • Availability: Easier to find replacements for older or less common vehicles.
  • Competitive Pricing: The market competition can lead to lower prices and better deals.

The Drawbacks of Aftermarket Windshields

  • Fitment Issues: While aftermarket windshields claim to fit various models, there may be slight discrepancies in size or shape.
  • Quality Variances: Quality can vary significantly between different aftermarket brands.
  • Limited Warranty: Aftermarket windshields may not come with the same warranty coverage as OEM counterparts.

Factors to Consider When Choosing

  • Vehicle Age: The age of your vehicle may influence your choice. Older vehicles may benefit from cost-effective aftermarket options.
  • Budget: Consider your budget; OEM windshields are pricier, but they come with the assurance of a perfect fit.
  • Vehicle Usage: If you have a high-end or luxury vehicle, OEM may be the way to go for maintaining the aesthetics and value.
  • Local Availability: Check what options and services are readily available in your area.
  • Warranty: If warranty and peace of mind are essential to you, OEM might be the preferred choice.

Installation Process

  • OEM: Installation of OEM windshields is usually performed by certified technicians who have specific training on your vehicle’s make and model.
  • Aftermarket: Aftermarket windshields can be installed by a wide range of service providers, so the quality of installation may vary.

Glass Quality

  • OEM: The glass quality in OEM windshields is generally consistent with the original, maintaining the safety standards.
  • Aftermarket: Quality can vary, so it’s important to research and choose a reputable brand.

Warranty and Support

  • OEM: Many OEM windshields come with manufacturer-backed warranties and support, ensuring peace of mind.
  • Aftermarket: Warranty coverage may not be as comprehensive, and you’ll need to rely on the manufacturer or installer.


  • OEM: Availability may be limited for older or less popular vehicle models, and replacement may take longer.
  • Aftermarket: Aftermarket windshields are more readily available, reducing downtime.

Cost Factors

  • OEM: Expect to pay more for an OEM windshield, reflecting the quality and perfect fit.
  • Aftermarket: Aftermarket windshields are typically more affordable.

Customization Options

  • OEM: Limited customization options, as they aim to match the original design.
  • Aftermarket: A wide range of customization options, from tints to added features.


  • OEM: Ideal for maintaining the original aesthetics and design of your vehicle.
  • Aftermarket: Allows for personalization but may not match the original appearance perfectly.

Replacement Frequency

  • OEM: With a perfect fit and quality assurance, OEM windshields may last longer.
  • Aftermarket: The lifespan may vary based on quality and installation.

Research and Brand Selection

  • Before making a decision, research the reputation of both OEM and aftermarket brands.
  • Look for customer reviews and ratings to make an informed choice.

Consultation with Professionals

  • Consider consulting with professionals to assess the specific needs of your vehicle.
  • They can provide valuable insights and recommendations.

Post-Replacement Care

  • Regardless of your choice, ensure proper maintenance and care for your windshield to prolong its lifespan.

Safety Considerations

  • Prioritize safety over cost; a high-quality windshield is crucial for your safety on the road.

Making Your Decision

  • Ultimately, your decision should align with your budget, vehicle type, and personal preferences.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of OEM and aftermarket windshields to make an informed choice.

The choice between OEM and aftermarket windshields is a decision that depends on several factors, including your budget, vehicle type, and personal preferences. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to consider your specific needs and conduct thorough research. Whichever choice you make, prioritize the safety and longevity of your windshield. Make an informed decision, and you’ll enjoy clear views and safety on the road.

Whether you opt for OEM or aftermarket solutions, SLP Autoglass is here to provide you with a competitive quote for your vehicle’s glass requirements. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!