Windshield Manufacturers: OEM, Dealer & Aftermarket

Windshields form an integral part of any vehicle — be it a car, a truck or a SUV. But unlike other parts of the vehicle, they are most prone to damages. If for some reason, chips or cracks are formed on the windshield, then travelling in such a vehicle is deemed unsafe besides the cracks ruining the overall look of the vehicle. Depending on the size and nature of the windshield damage, windshields can either be repaired or fully replaced. They are numerous windshield manufacturers when it comes to fully replacing windshields. These manufacturers produce different windshields for the exact same vehicle. These manufacturers can either be termed as OEM, dealer or aftermarket.

Carlite, Saint-Gobain Sekurit, Pilkington, Mopar, PPG and AP Tech are some of the top OEM windshield brands in the US. Guardian and Safelite are the most commonly used Third Party American Aftermarket brands. Among Chinese Third Party Aftermarket windshield brands, the most popular are Dongguan Brightpower, Heshan Zhengda and Shiyan Huachao. It should be noted that these Chinese brands may be Third Party Aftermarket windshields for American/European markets, but it is not the case in China and other Asian countries. There they are known as OEM.

So what exactly is the difference between OEM, Dealer and Aftermarket? Read on to know the answer.

OEM

OEM windshields are those windshields which are installed on a vehicle during it’s assembly process. OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer — so in this case it means an OEM brand manufactures original windshields for a specific model of a vehicle. OEM windshields are quite easily replaced with another windshield from the same manufacturer as they have all the exact same attachments and moldings as the original windshield. These OEM windshields are on par with government and auto-makers’ standards. In the US, there are many popular OEM windshield brands and these include: Pilkington, AP Tech and PPG. Major automative companies always trust these OEM manufacturers to supply them windshields. If you want a OEM windshield as a replacement, you can get one directly from your vehicle supplier.

Dealer

Dealer windshields are nothing but OEM windshields, but with one major difference — dealer windshields have dealer logos emblazoned on them. This means that if you were to go to your nearest Honda dealer and ask for a windshield, you would get a windshield with the Honda logo marked on it at the bottom corner. This holds good for all windshield dealers. There are companies supplying OEM windshields which also provide dealer windshields. The top three of these companies are PPG, Pikington and AP Tech. In this case, the manufacturer just adds the dealer logo onto the windshield.

Aftermarket

Aftermarket windshields can be bought from a company which is not affiliated with a dealer. These are not OEM windshields. For instance, Safelite is an aftermarket windshield brand. These type of windshields are the cheapest in the market. They are generally sold and marketed as ‘no frills’ windshields. Hence, these aftermarket windshields don’t actually have the dealer logos on them and they are not manufactured as per the usual OEM/dealer standards. There are countless companies in the US which supply aftermarket windshields. Some of the most well-known aftermarket windshield brands are Alibaba and Safelite. These firms manufacture their own version of windshields and they customize them to fit any vehicle for which an order has been placed.

How To Choose Windshields

Given the various options of windshields, customers are often put in a situation where they find it hard to choose from either an OEM windshield, dealer or an aftermarket brand. But you if you consider the following factors, choosing the best windshield as per your requirement will not turn out to be such an arduous task.

• Quality – Do keep in mind that the quality of aftermarket windshields are not regarded as high as OEM/dealer windshields.

• Safety – Aftermarket windshields do not conform to the regulations put in place by the government; hence, they are not deemed fully safe. OEM and dealer windshields are manufactured to fit the vehicle to a tee. They are designed in such a way that they fit snugly and are also very safe.

• Price – Aftermarket windshields are generally more cheaper than OEM or dealer windshields.

In conclusion, professionals in the automative industry opine that it is best that customers go in for OEM or dealer windshields. They are more expensive compared to aftermarket windshields, but they do not compromise on safety.