We constantly hear about the debate between genuine OEM parts, aftermarket, and even counterfeit car parts in the car world. Most of the time, though, this debate surrounds the usual issues like the brake system, engine components, and other mechanical parts.
Yet, what most of us don’t realise is that even our car windscreen falls into that debate as well. That’s right! If you were ever in need of a new windscreen, you’d have to choose between an OEM or aftermarket windscreen!
If you were to think about it, it’s not that surprising why people rarely talk about the differences between an OEM windscreen and an aftermarket one. After all, windscreens aren’t the kind of parts that you’d ever change, unless it experiences some severe damage.
So, rather than letting you wait and learn about it the hard way, this article is going to tell you everything you need to know about the differences between OEM and aftermarket windshield glass.
What Is an OEM Windscreen?
An OEM windscreen is just like any other OEM parts you can think of. The term OEM stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturer”, and it means that they’ve been produced for car manufacturers to use on the assembly line.
You see, car manufacturers don’t necessarily make each part that goes into their vehicles. Instead, they provide specifications to third-party suppliers (the Original Equipment Manufacturers) who supply them with those parts.
Then, the car manufacturers take those parts and use them as part of their car assembly process.
Pros and Cons of OEM Windscreens
Perfect Fit: Seeing how OEM windscreens are produced according to the car manufacturer's specifications, you can bet that they'll fit perfectly for your car model.
Quality Standards: Besides that, they're also held up to the high-quality standards required by the car manufacturer, so you can trust that there's no better windscreen available on the market.
Higher Cost: The tradeoff? An OEM windscreen will come at a significantly higher cost. That might hurt your wallet if you’re paying for it yourself. But if your insurance company is paying for the replacement, they might choose an aftermarket windshield instead.
What Is an Aftermarket Windshield?
Yes, that’s right. Aftermarket windshields are just like any other aftermarket spare parts. Third-party manufacturers produce these kinds of windshields under their own brand name, and they probably have no direct relationship to the manufacturer of your car.
You should have no problems finding an aftermarket windscreen that fits your car. Still, you should expect that the windshield might not fit 100% perfectly.
Besides that, other traits of the windshield might be slightly different compared to an OEM windscreen. Remember: OEM windscreens must follow the car company’s specs, but aftermarket ones don’t.
So, what you’ll find is that an aftermarket windscreen might have differences in qualities like its thickness, durability, and even colour.
Pros and Cons of Aftermarket Windshield
Good Quality: The first benefit of an aftermarket windshield is that it can be of excellent quality. Sure, there are some bad apples like any other type of aftermarket part manufacturer, but that also means that there are those who produce excellent quality products you can use.
Affordable: Aftermarket windshields tend to cost less than OEM ones as well. That’s good news all around because it’ll fit your budget much easier, and insurance companies prefer paying for them rather than getting you an OEM windscreen as a replacement.
Not 100% Perfect Fit: Aftermarket windshields might not fit 100% perfectly, so some buyers might notice things like slight noise while driving or leaks when it rains. Your windshield installer should be able to help you deal with those issues, but don’t worry; overall, they’re still perfectly safe to use.
Are Aftermarket Windshields as Good as OEM?
Yes, an aftermarket windshield can be as good as an OEM one, the operative word being “can be”.
You see, just like any other aftermarket part, some are better than others. You’ll need to do a little research to determine which of the aftermarket windshield suppliers produce good quality products worth your hard-earned money.
Besides that, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re working with a reputable installer. The aftermarket windshield that you choose might be fantastic, but it’s also crucial that the people fixing it onto your vehicle know what they’re doing.
Should I Get an OEM or Aftermarket Windscreen?
Choosing between an OEM or aftermarket windscreen should be based on your personal circumstances. So, you can base your decision on the following issues:
Budget: One of the most critical factors that will influence your choice is your budget. If money is no issue, you should go with an OEM windscreen instead of an aftermarket one. That way, you'll have zero doubt that you're getting a windshield that's designed specifically for your car make and model.
Payer: Who’s paying for the windscreen? If your insurance company is paying for the replacement, then you might not have a say in the matter. Some auto insurance providers might only pay for an aftermarket windscreen to minimise their costs.
Of course, if you’re the one paying for it out of pocket, the decision is entirely yours.
Confidence: Some people have more confidence in OEM parts, regardless of whether they’re buying an OEM windscreen or even an OEM wiper blade. If that sounds like you, then you should definitely get an OEM replacement for your windshield.
Other people prefer saving some money by purchasing aftermarket parts, as long as they’re from a reputable brand. If that’s like you, then you’ll have no problems with an aftermarket windscreen.
Does My Choice of OEM Vs Aftermarket Windscreen Affect My Auto Insurance?
Generally, insurance companies prefer buying you aftermarket parts. That’s because they’re lower in cost. When auto insurance companies spend less on you, they’ll also charge you less in terms of the premium you pay them.
If, for example, you insist that the insurance company buys you an OEM replacement for your windscreen, you could end up with higher insurance premiums later on.
Of course, always remember that these kinds of things can be different on a case-by-case basis. It’s always best to discuss this clearly with your auto insurance provider before making any decisions. They’ll be able to tell you whether or not the new windscreen will affect your insurance policy, and if so, what those effects will look like.
To find out more about windscreens, OEM parts, and more, check out the blog at carpart.com.au. There, you’ll discover frequent updates teaching you everything you need to know about the car world in Australia and beyond!
By Ray Hasbollah