Is all Auto Glass the Same?

Confused-ManHere at Floyd Auto Glass to Go in St. Charles, MO,  we get this a lot. Your car’s windshield is something you’ve probably never given much thought to.  So, when it’s time to replace it and you have different glass shops quoting different glass and throwing around acronyms like OEM and OEE and PGW, it can get a bit confusing. But remember, all auto glass is not the same. And just because it fits into your car and looks pretty much like your old glass, doesn’t mean it’s the identical glass. With that in mind…here’s what you need to know:

There are three types of glass you can choose:
• Dealer Glass,
• Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM)
• aftermarket
Dealer Glass
Purchased directly from an auto dealership, dealer glass is manufactured by the same company that made the original windshield. If your Volvo originally had a windshield made by Pilkington…then a dealer glass will be made by Pilkington. It will have the Volvo logo and will be indistinguishable in both visual and structural terms from the original. You’ll pay extra for that exactness, but if you feel the logo adds value to your vehicle, then dealer glass may be the way to go.
An OEM windshield has been manufactured to specifications and guidelines set by the automaker by a distributor certified by the automaker. While it may not be the exact company that made the original windshield, it meets every criteria set by the automaker and is treated in every significant way as identical.
For example, let’s say that Chevrolet originally contracted with Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) to make all the windshields for their 2007 run of Malibus. Maybe the 2006 Malibus had Pilkington glass in them, but Chevy switched manufactures. This happens all the time. If you went to your dealer to get a windshield for your 07 Malibu, you would get PGW glass. However, if you went to a glass shop offering OEM glass, you would be offered a windshield made by a small handful of distributors that have been certified by Chevrolet to make this windshield. Might be Pilkington, might even be PGW. The point is that whichever OEM glass you get, it will meet every criteria set by Chevrolet for your Malibu. It’s not dealer glass, but it will be structurally indistinguishable from the original in every way that Chevrolet has specified. Even the dealership will accept OEM glass if you return a lease vehicle.
The only real way that dealer glass is different from OEM glass is the logo and the price tag.
An aftermarket windshield, or Original Equipment Equivalent (OEE), is made by any company that has not been certified by the automaker to do so. One of the largest manufacturers of aftermarket auto glass in America is Safelite, but there are many others. While aftermarket auto glass sold in the United States must pass minimum safety standards, they are often thinner than OEM glass and almost always vary in some significant ways due to:
a) manufacturer cost cutting,
b) licensing and copyright laws that forbid non-OEM distributors from exactly duplicating the design specs set out by the automakers and
c) the fact that while OEM certified manufacturers work closely with the automakers to design their product, the aftermarket companies have to reverse-engineer their glass by looking at the OEM product.
For these reasons, most auto dealerships will not accept aftermarket glass as an equivalent replacement when returning a lease vehicle.

So what’s the take away point to all this?
Here at Floyd Auto Glass to Go we’ve been installing auto glass in the St. Charles are for over 30 years. We take the quality of the glass we install in your vehicle seriously and know that wading through the options can be confusing.
So, if you absolutely must have the exact same windshield that came with your car, you want dealer glass. Let us know. Often we can get an exact match, logos and all. If we can’t, we’ll politely send you on to your dealership.
If, however, you want a windshield that will perform exactly as the original did with all the same technical specs, let us quote you a replacement from any of our trusted OEM suppliers (primarily PGW and Pilkington).
Feel free to call us if you have any other questions. 636-922-FLOYD (3569)