At first glance, most auto glass looks the same. This is fairly true, but there are three distinct types of auto glass that put them each in their own category. As a car owner, it is good for you to know these differences so you can make an educated decision next time you are looking to purchase a vehicle or replace a piece of glass. These three types are: OE (Original Equipment), OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), and aftermarket.
OE (Original Equipment a.k.a Dealer Glass). This refers to glass from the original supplier who provided the glass used in the factory assembly of your vehicle, and typically will have the vehicle make’s brand stamped directly onto the glass. This is typically considered to be the highest quality glass for an individual vehicle. Year to year, auto manufacturers like Chevrolet bid out contracts for the manufacture of their auto glass, so the specific company who made the OE glass for your make and model of vehicle in 2004 might not be the same as in 2007, and instead be selling glass for that vehicle as an OEM.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). OEM refers to glass that is manufactured to the same specifications as OE glass (size, shape, thickness, color, durability), but not necessarily from the same distributor that supplied the glass to the vehicle manufacturer for assembly. There are sometimes small variations in quality amongst OEM glass pieces, such as minor visual distortion or waviness. OEM glass is normally a cheaper alternative than OE and does not display your vehicle’s brand, but is otherwise nearly identical.
Aftermarket. Companies that manufacture this type of glass are unaffiliated with car manufacturers, and this category does NOT apply to windshields, side windows, and rear windows in cars, vans and SUVs, since strict safety regulations in the U.S. prohibit use of substandard glass that does not meet the exact specifications of the original parts used in vehicle assembly. The use of aftermarket glass is limited to certain applications, such as conversion vans, the addition of a sunroof in a vehicle model that was never manufactured with one originally, or sliding back glass for trucks.
For more information on auto glass, or for glass repair or replacement, call DeDona Auto Glass in Greensboro, NC at (336) 851-1380.