The Three Main Types of Auto Glass
Auto glass is an extremely important part of your car, and provides both visibility and protection in regards to the outside world. When looking to replace damaged or old auto glass, there are three broad categories from which to choose from, all of which offer different features and benefits over each other. Understanding the differences between the three different types of auto glass can aid you in deciding which one best suits your needs.
Factory glass can usually only be purchased from dealerships, and is made by the official distributor that makes all the glass for new vehicles for that auto maker. Factory glass tends to be the most expensive type of auto glass available, but it is also the only type of auto glass that comes with a warranty and will not void any other warranties on your vehicle.
OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, auto glass is auto glass that is made to the same specifications as factory glass, but is done so by another manufacturer. This happens when car companies change their auto glass contracts from one manufacturer to another, which leaves already produced units of auto glass on the market even though they are no longer considered factory glass.
This usually means that the glass is slightly cheaper, as there is no premium attached to it, but OEM glass is of the same quality as factory glass. It should be noted that OEM glass may void the warranties on your vehicle, depending on their specifications, so be sure to check all documentation before you install OEM glass.
Aftermarket glass is made by many different companies, but not to the exact specifications of factory glass, as they do not have the rights to do so. Instead, aftermarket auto glass widely varies in thickness, durability, clearness, and other attributes, depending on the manufacturer. On one hand, this means that it is much easier to find specific auto glass that meets your exact needs, from tinting to thickness or price, but it also means that there is not the same assurance of quality that comes from OEM or factory glass, which is made to specifications designed specific to your model of car.
Aftermarket glass will almost always void any warranties on your windshield repair or even the rest of your vehicle, depending on the specific warranty, because it is not held to the same standards as other types of auto glass.