Most auto glass replacement and repair guides advise asking your chosen technician to install OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) glass when you bring your car in for windshield replacement, but you should be aware that there is at least one more viable option: OEE glass. OEE stands for “Original Equipment Equivalent”, and car glass marked with this label is often the cheapest feasible choice for windshield or window replacement without having to suffer an attendant drop in the safety of your vehicle.
To understand what OEE is, you need to know first exactly what OEM glass is. The common error people make with OEM is to assume that it is glass made by the same glass company that made the original window on the vehicle. This is not so: OEM glass is actually just glass made according to the exact specifications of the original glass piece, and is not required to come from the same glass manufacturers who produced the original. If you really want auto glass that comes from the same manufacturer and that has the car manufacturer’s logo on it as well (although this is not always the case, mind you), you shall have to look for yet another kind of replacement piece, which is known as Dealer Auto Glass. For all practical purposes, though, OEM glass shall do just as well, since the only difference between it and Dealer glass is the company that created the item. As far as specifications go, they are the same.
In contrast to these two types of glass, OEE glass, also known as Aftermarket Glass, is not made according to precisely the same specifications as the original equipment. This is because its manufacturer does not have legal permission (through copyrighting and licensing) to create auto glass that is exactly the same as the original copyrighted product on the vehicle. OEM glass manufacturers actually need to seek out contracts with car manufacturing companies in order to gain legal permission for their OEM glass manufacture. The companies that do not do this—OEE glass makers, in other words—are thus forced to create glass that has slight differences from the original, in order to respect current copyright laws. This is why it is called an “Original Equipment Equivalent”: it is not exactly the same, but for most purposes may be considered equivalent to the required glass for a car window or windshield replacement.
OEE equipment is generally cheaper than OEM, and certainly less expensive than Dealer glass. However, the problem with using OEE in car glass installation is that you are likely to run into problems if your vehicle is leased and you try to return it with OEE glass, as most dealers do not accept this. Furthermore, OEE glass is also often a little thinner than OEM auto glass, which makes it less robust.
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