Windshields are an important part of your car. They do a lot for you, whether it's protecting you from debris, providing insulation from temperature and sound, or accounting for 45 to 60% of your car's cabin strength in a collision. For something that important, you have to carefully consider your options when replacing your windshield.
This is the most straightforward type of glass to replace your windshield with. A windshield made of dealer glass comes directly from your dealership. It is designed specifically for your car's make and model. These windshields are usually the same as the glass that was installed as your car was manufactured. This glass is typically the most expensive because you're paying for a brand name. Dealer glass almost always features a brand logo.
OEM glass is made to the exact specifications as dealer glass. These windshields are just as effective as dealer made windshields. There are no differences in thickness or size between the two types of glass. OEM windshields have the benefit of being less expensive because you don't typically purchase them from the dealership. These windshields also don't feature a logo, so look elsewhere if having a logo is important to you. If you're leasing your vehicle, most dealerships will accept a vehicle using OEM glass.
Aftermarket glass is designed by companies that don't have a contract with a dealer. The downside is that aftermarket windshields can't legally be made to the exact specifications that dealer or OEM glass is. Aftermarket glass is typically thicker or thinner and is usually the cheapest option. The difference in thickness can mean your car may have a little more trouble regulating temperature if you turn on the heat. It may also make your driving experience louder, or quieter, depending on the thickness of the glass.
If your budget is tight, it's safer to use an aftermarket windshield than it is to drive around with a cracked windshield. Even the smallest crack can severely impact your windshield's ability to protect you in a collision. If you lease a vehicle you may want to avoid using an aftermarket windshield, as many dealerships won't accept the vehicle at the end of the lease.
Putting It Together
No matter what type of windshield glass you choose, it's best to have it professionally installed. Professional installation, such as from Glass On Wheels, helps maintain your windshield's integrity, so in the event of a crash, your windshield will be able to protect you.