Before understanding what OEM stands for, let’s talk about Auto Glass. Auto Glass is the shield on the car that protects the driver and its passengers from injuries and obstacles on the road. An Auto Glass is very different from ordinary glass. This can be evident when the glass breaks. Ordinary glass can break into larger pieces, but auto glass will shatter into small, pebble-like pieces. When you need to replace your windshield completely, a choice must be made between ‘OEM’ and ‘Aftermarket (OEE) Glass.’
Now, what is meant by OEM? OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufactured Glass. To further elaborate on this, it is produced by the manufacturer that supplies the original glass the automaker positioned in your vehicle. For example, if you buy a car from Toyota, it would have a windscreen manufactured by ‘Toyota’ but will have the logo of the glass company. OEM glass shields will resemble the original shape, color, and size of your car. This means, that OEM glass will fit right. OEM glass also ensures the quality of the windshield that will be provided by the car company. Moreover, when it comes to windshield replacement, as mentioned earlier, there are two types of glass to choose from. OEM i.e. Original Equipment Manufactured Glass; or OEE i.e. Original Equipment Equivalent glass, commonly known as ‘Aftermarket Glass.’
Unlike OEM, Aftermarket glass is produced by companies unaffiliated with the car brands or by the same company but a different assembly line. This type is typically low-priced and of inferior quality compared to OEM. This difference could be visible in terms of its thickness as well. Generally, Aftermarket glass shields are the least expensive options available. OEE glass production companies have no relation with the carmakers. It is quite understandable for one to get confused between the two terms. There are minute differences in cost, production, and quality. Still, there is a debate in the Auto Glass industry regarding the quality difference between OEM and Aftermarket Glass. A regular OEM glass provides exceptional quality and support; however, it is costlier than aftermarket shields. On the other hand, an aftermarket shield exceeds or meets the standards of the ‘Department of Transportation’ but does not guarantee quality standards. Hence, the term ‘Original Equipment Equivalent’ glass makes sense, as it suggests that it does meet the required standards and could be compared to that of an OEM glass.
Who can decide its true value? Unfortunately, no one can answer. There can be no general inference regarding such matters. We believe that it would be advantageous for you to determine that for yourself. For this purpose, it is crucial to be aware of the utilization of each type. Educating yourself will help you make better decisions with windshield replacement. The type of replacement you choose solely depends on your preferences and budget. If you are still unsure, we encourage you to call our experts here at Glassfixit, who will readily guide you through the various options.