What is the difference between OEM and OE windshields?



Original Equipment (OE) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) are terms frequently used in the automotive industry. They can often be confusing when discussing windshields or other auto parts. In this blog, we will clarify what OEM and OE represent, and their differences.


What are OEM Windshields?

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) windshields are replacement car glass products produced by the same company that initially crafted the original windshield for a particular vehicle. OEM windshields are the pinnacle of auto glass replacements because they precisely match the car’s make, model, and year’s specifications, including dimensions, contour, and form, providing an ideal fit and superior performance. These windshields also satisfy the safety standards set by the vehicle’s manufacturer. They feature the manufacturer’s logo and often include extra functionalities such as built-in rain sensors, solar coating, or an antenna. If you were to go to your car’s dealership for a windshield replacement, these are the exact substitutes you would receive.


What are OE Windshields?

Original Equipment (OE) windshields are manufactured by third-party companies under contracts with car manufacturers. These companies, while not the original manufacturers, have access to the vehicle’s design specifics and produce windshields that align with the car’s original design. Though OE windshields are designed to closely match the original specifications, they might not be perfectly identical in every aspect. These minor differences in OE windshields may not be perceptible to the naked eye, but they can affect the windshield’s fit, finish, and overall durability. They meet safety standards but do not bear the car manufacturer’s logo.


Differences Between OEM and OE Windshields:

Here are some distinctions between OEM and OE windshields to consider when deciding which to choose:


Origin and Branding

The main difference between OEM and OE windshields is their source. OEM windshields are created by the original windshield manufacturer of the car and feature the automaker’s logo. In contrast, OE windshields are crafted by third-party companies and do not display the automaker’s branding.


Quality and Accuracy

While both windshield types meet safety standards, OEM windshields are acclaimed for their accuracy and quality. They guarantee the same fit and finish as the original windshield, promising an equivalent installation experience and performance. Conversely, OE windshields might not offer the same precision, as they are not manufactured by the original producer.



As expected, OEM windshields are typically pricier than OE windshields due to the branding, precision, and the extra features they incorporate. OE windshields, being third-party products, are usually less expensive, making them a cost-effective alternative for budget-conscious individuals.


Compatibility with Advanced Features

Current cars often come equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that require accurate calibration with the windshield. OEM windshields are likely to offer better compatibility with these systems due to their precise match with the original windshield’s specifications. OE windshields can also function well, but their compatibility can vary depending on how precisely the OE windshield replicates the original design.


Insurance Coverage

Insurance policies often cover windshield replacements. However, the coverage extent may depend on the chosen windshield type. Some insurance companies may fully cover an OEM windshield’s cost, while others may only cover an OE windshield’s cost.


Safety Standards and Regulations

As mentioned before, both OEM and OE windshields meet safety standards. However, OEM windshields undergo the same stringent quality control and testing processes as the original windshields. They need to satisfy rigorous specifications set by the car’s original manufacturer. OE windshields must also comply with federal safety standards, but they might not be subjected to the same thorough testing procedures as their OEM counterparts. This could potentially lead to minor variances in quality and safety performance.


Installation Experience

Regarding the installation experience, OEM windshields often provide a flawless fit, reducing the chance of wind noise, leaks, or installation-related problems. This is because OEM windshields are crafted to the exact dimensions and specifications of the original windshield. While OE windshields strive to closely match the original windshield’s specifications, they may not always provide an exact fit. This could lead to minor installation challenges and potential fit and finish issues, impacting the windshield’s aesthetic appeal and performance.


Aftermarket Add-Ons and Technology Compatibility:

Modern windshields are equipped with sophisticated technologies such as head-up displays, lane departure warnings, and automatic wipers. Given their adherence to original specifications, OEM windshields are more likely to integrate seamlessly with these features. On the other hand, OE windshields may not always be compatible with these complex technologies. This can lead to suboptimal performance of these features, or in some instances, they might not function at all.


Durability and Longevity:

OEM windshields often provide better durability and longevity since they are manufactured with the same materials and to the same specifications as the original windshields. This ensures optimal performance over an extended period. OE windshields, although built to mimic the original windshield, might not offer the same durability level. This could be due to the use of different materials or manufacturing processes that diverge from the original.


Value and Resale Considerations:

If you’re considering selling your vehicle in the future, having an OEM windshield could potentially enhance its value. Many potential buyers and car enthusiasts value vehicles maintained with OEM parts, associating this with higher quality and better vehicle performance. Choosing between an OEM or OE windshield depends on your personal preference, budget, and vehicle needs. It’s essential to consider all these factors, including the potential impact on your vehicle’s performance and insurance considerations, before deciding. Our expert technicians at Auto Glass America will consider your needs and make suitable recommendations.

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