Windshield chips and cracks are an expected part of driving; at some point, most vehicles will experience a rock strike or debris impact that results in damage to the windshield. Some damage can be safely fixed, but there are other instances where a windshield replacement is necessary for the preservation of safety and the integrity of the vehicle. While many vehicle repairs entail the use of replacement parts, there are few repairs where the quality, fit and finish of the part make as much difference as windshields replacement. Below is an explanation of the various windshield replacement options so you can gain a better understanding of the differences between each. Not all windshield replacements are equal, so keep reading to learn about your options from sites like http://www.mrgoglass.com:
The windshield that comes installed on a vehicle when it is purchased new is known as the factory windshield. It is precisely designed to fit a particular vehicle's frame and contours, and it also is shaped to match the windshield wiping patterns for optimum water clearance.
Contrary to what is often believed, factory windshields are not actually manufactured at the vehicle assembly plant by a particular maker. Instead, vehicle manufacturers contract with a variety of automobile glass companies who produce windshields that match provided specifications. Worldwide, there are multiple windshield manufacturers that supply auto glass for car makers.
If you wish to have a new, completely-identical windshield, including one that bears the car manufacturer's logo, installed on your vehicle, then you will need to purchase it from a dealer. Keep in mind that prices will be higher for dealer-purchased windshields.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) windshields
An OEM windshield is functionally and structurally identical to the factory-installed windshield. In fact, OEM windshields are manufactured by the same companies that produce windshields for car makers. Windshield manufacturers use the same specifications and materials, as drawn from original templates, for OEM windshields; however, OEM windshields do not bear the car maker's logo or identifying information.
The practical benefit for a customer is that they are able to purchase a new, identical windshield that matches their factory-installed windshield for less than the cost of one purchased from a dealer. Assuming installation is performed professionally and correctly, an OEM windshield offers the same benefits to a vehicle owner as the original.
Windshields manufactured to fit a particular make and model but without the benefit of access to original specifications are known as aftermarket windshields. Aftermarket windshields are created by measuring and reproducing original equipment to the best of a manufacturer's ability. A large number of companies produce aftermarket windshields; since there is no limiting factor in the way of access to original factory specifications, any third-party glass maker can produce and sell aftermarket windshields.
Aftermarket windshields are usually the lowest cost option for replacing a vehicle windshield, but there are several potential pitfalls that may be encountered when using an aftermarket part:
- Lower quality materials– some aftermarket windshields may be manufactured without the same quality materials that factory/OEM manufacturers use. Less-expensive materials may be substituted, which lowers cost, but also reduces the strength and quality of windshields. The appearance of the vehicle may also be affected, if the lower quality results in waves or ripples in the windshield's surface.
- Inexact fit – even though aftermarket windshields have been manufactured with a particular vehicle in mind, keep in mind the windshield maker does not have access to the vehicle specifications as provided by the factory. This can lead to small, but still significant, differences in fit; any imperfections in fit can lead to leaking, excessive noise and other problems.
- Long-term durability – aftermarket windshields may also possess a shorter lifespan than a factory/OEM windshield. Aftermarket products are not always constructed to the same level of stress resistance, for example, and problems such as edge cracking or low resistance to chipping may occur.