If your car's windshield has been damaged, then you need to decide whether or not you want to invest in a repair or a replacement. A replacement is probably a good idea if a crack obscures your vision or if you notice a large chip. Also, any damage that sits close to the edge of the windshield will reduce its structural integrity, and a replacement is advised in this case. If a total replacement is warranted, then you probably think that you can have a standard piece of glass installed, since automotive glass must be made out of laminated safety glass. However, there are actually a few different options when it comes to windshield glass that can be chosen. Two high-quality options are outlined below.
Original equipment manufactured (OEM) glass is one type of glass that can be used to replace a broken windshield. This type is identical to the windshield glass that is being replaced. Most car makers do not create windshields themselves, but they contract with outside manufacturers to create their glass for them. For example, Pilkington provides glass for a wide variety of manufacturers like Toyota, BMW, and Ford. If this company makes the glass for your type of car, then the OEM windshield will also be made by this manufacturer.
Purchasing glass that was made from the original manufacturer is important if you want to retain safety. Windshield glass is made in a wide variety of different specifications. These specifications indicate the visibility, curvature, tolerance, shape, size, and thickness of the glass. These things can vary greatly depending on the type of vehicle you drive, and vehicle manufacturers will come up with the specifications for safety reasons. A vehicle windshield is meant to keep the car roof from being crushed in the event of an accident. The glass is also supposed to remain intact to keep occupants inside the car if the vehicle is hit. The original windshield made for your car is meant to optimize these safety features, and an OEM windshield will keep you just as safe.
You should know that OEM glass is likely to cost quite a bit more than aftermarket windshield replacement options. This makes sense since each windshield is going to be slightly different from the rest, and special ordering is often required to obtain the right piece of glass.
If you have a high-end car, like a BMW or Cadillac, then many parts of your car will have the car maker's logo on it. This logo is often a status symbol that car buyers like to display. In fact, logos are often placed on the windshield glass, and dealerships will carry the specific logo-stamped glass. Glass repair shops typically are not allowed to purchase the stamped glass, but dealerships will have contracts with car makers that give them the right to sell products with logos.
Dealerships will have the same type of OEM glass that glass repair shops sell. Dealership glass is more expensive though, since you will be paying a premium for the logo. If this is important to you, then you can opt for dealership glass. Just keep in mind that the windshield will not offer any safety benefits over an OEM product.
However, dealerships will often have their own stock of windshields that are considered original to the vehicles that they sell. This means that you will receive an exact glass replacement. This may be ideal if the car maker has switched manufacturers over the years and your car is several years old. It may be difficult to find an OEM windshield if this is the case. While your dealership may not have the windshield available immediately, the business can have the right one shipped from a nearby dealership that does have one readily available.
For more information, you may want to contact a shop that offers auto glass repair in your area.