It is virtually guaranteed that any automobile will need a new windshield if it remains in operation for a long enough period of time. The primary form of protection against wind, rain and other forms of inclement weather, the windshield is designed to withstand many different forms of abuse that city and highway driving alike will present on any trip from point A to point B. The windshield is also a crucial component of any vehicle’s structural integrity and is known to provide the single biggest reinforcement of any area of the vehicle in the event of a roll-over. From rocks that bounce off of trucks and road surfaces to extreme weather that pelts the car with sleet and hail, there is a lot that can wear down a windshield’s strength over time.
A small fracture or crack in the windshield may not be visible at first, but can quickly morph into a much larger problem that requires a complete replacement. Whether your windshield has experienced this or your vehicle has been in a severe accident that warrants replacement, it is important to understand the different types of windshield glass available to you. We will discuss the two primary forms of glass in the following article.
Original Equipment Manufactured Glass
The most common form of windshield glass is the type of glass that comes standard with each automobile, Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM) glass. This windshield solution varies based on each vehicle and is usually designed by the auto manufacturer to fit each particular make and model of automobile. In the cases in which it is not designed by the auto manufacturer directly, it is often outsourced to a reputable third-party that manufactures the glass exactly to the car company’s specifications. This ensures the most ideal fit and requires no special considerations to be made on behalf of you or the auto glass technician.
Original Equipment Equivalent Glass
Most automobile owners are familiar with aftermarket parts for their vehicles and have had these parts used in some form of windshield repair Athens. Original Equipment Equivalent (OEE) glass is the windshield equivalent of this type of product. In nearly all cases, the manufacturers of this type of auto glass are completely independent of the automobile manufacturers and do not have any special agreements with them in regards to production. OEE glass cannot be created to the exact specifications of OEM glass due to legal constraints, so the thickness, color and shape will vary ever so slightly. Various websites, such as Wikipedia, cover the differences in detail and can help consumers find the best aftermarket solution for their vehicles.
OEM Glass Advantages and Concerns
The biggest advantage to OEM glass is that it comes with a guarantee or warranty that ensures your investment will be covered in the event of defect or select damage. This form of glass is also designed to be an exact fit for your vehicle, so there are no worries about damage, leaks or other issues when it is installed or after the fact. The biggest drawback to OEM glass, however, is its cost. In many cases, OEM glass can cost twice as much as a standard OEE replacement, so it is not always economical for automobile owners to select this alternative. You will also need to find a qualified installation specialist that either has access to OEM glass or can obtain it from a licensed manufacturer; in many cases, individuals resort to dealerships for this installation, which can increase the overall cost of purchase and installation.
OEE Glass Advantages and Concerns
Those who end up selecting Original Equipment Equivalent glass over Original Equipment Manufacturer glass often do so because of price. OEE glass is far more affordable and in almost every instance, just as durable as OEM glass. The wide availability of OEE glass and participating auto glass repair shops that carry it also make its selection a matter of timeliness; OEM glass may have to be ordered and can take several days to be installed. The biggest disadvantage of OEE glass is that it is not designed exactly to the automobile’s specifications as OEM glass is, so long-term concerns of improper fitting and other structural considerations may cause concern for performance vehicles.
For most people OEE glass is the best choice for windshield replacement as it provides a comparable level of protection at a much better price. OEM glass has its place in windshield replacement jobs, however, and is usually a safer bet for professional drivers and those who want to ensure their auto investments are protected in the long-run. If you want added value, protection and a warranty for your windshield, then OEM glass is the best choice. Otherwise, OEE glass is a solid alternative and one that provides drivers with just as much peace of mind (and less of a financial burden). Whatever your selection, always remember that the quality of the auto glass repair job is just as important as the auto glass itself.