Why Did Mercedes Recommend Only its Own Glass for Windshield Replacement?


mercedes benz

Recently, Mercedes Benz USA issued a statement in which it “strongly recommends” that drivers who need to get a windshield replaced only use Mercedes Benz products. Why is that?

The automaker says glass made by other companies does not meet the exacting specifications of Mercedes Benz glass, adding that aftermarket glass often does not contain the same technology. These include things such as as solar glass coatings, which provide protection from the sun’s rays and reduce heat levels inside the car. These also can optimize air-conditioning performance and improve fuel economy.

Mercedes says aftermarket glass also might not be as quiet as its Benz glass, either.

OE vs. Aftermarket: So What’s the Difference?

It’s important to know the difference between aftermarket glass and “original equipment” glass. Glass that was made specifically for Mercedes Benz is called “original equipment” or OE glass.

It was put in the vehicle by the car manufacturer during the manufacturing process.

Aftermarket glass refers to glass that’s made for replacement purposes, usually by companies other than the one who first made the glass for the original car. It’s often less expensive than OE glass, but it might not be the same quality or fit as well.

“To promote and maintain its rigorous standards of quality and safety, if a collision repair is necessary, MBUSA strongly recommends that all repairs be performed by a certified technician using only genuine Mercedes-Benz Parts,” reads an excerpt from the company’s six-page statement.

The Mercedes Benz position statement also provides guidance for recalibration of on-board systems and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as cameras, rain sensors, antennas and heating elements.

“Aftermarket glass often does not account for these complex electrical components and may interfere with your vehicle’s electronic systems, or cause these electronic systems to not function properly,” the company said.

ADAS systems are designed to increase driver safety, and while they were once considered futuristic, they’re becoming more mainstream.

ADAS includes technology such as collision avoidance, surround view, lane-departure warning, cross traffic alert, park assist and heads-up displays, in which crucial vehicle data such as speed is  projected onto the windshield. That way, the driver doesn’t have to look down as often.

A few years ago, ADAS was seen as an upgrade for higher-end vehicles such as Mercedes Benz, but the technology is becoming standard in most makes and models. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is requiring ADAS to be standard in newly manufactured vehicles; for example, by 2018, all new cars must have rear-view cameras.

One thing is for sure: Expect to pay more for using OE glass in a Mercedes windscreen replacement.

Get an Estimate

Onboard Diagnostic Systems

The Mercedes Benz announcement also said that post-collision repair evaluations of model year 1996 vehicles with onboard diagnostics systems “ … should have these systems evaluated using an up-to-date … diagnostics computer.”

So what exactly is an onboard diagnostic system?

Onboard diagnostic systems allow the vehicle owner or repair technician to accurately diagnose any problems your vehicle might be having. The earliest versions were those red dashboard warning lights that would tell you to check your oil or remind you to disengage the emergency brake. Today, onboard diagnostics often involve computer chips and other high-tech touches, which allow the driver or a technician to rapidly identify and remedy malfunctions within the vehicle.

“Post-repair scanning and diagnosis of the vehicle is necessary to ensure that the vehicle’s safety and driver-assist systems are operable and fully functioning,” according to Mercedes Benz statement. “Many of the safety and driver-assist systems that may have been activated during a collision require vehicle calibration, normalization or coding. The post-repair scan will also help to ensure that a comprehensive repair has been performed.”

Mercedes provides a number of examples of when ADAS will need to be recalibrated include:

  • Windshield replacement for vehicles with driver-assist sensors (including rain/light sensors) located in the windshield;
  • Vehicle collisions, regardless of the appearance of damage, and;
  • Removal and/or replacement of exterior components, bumpers, SRS sensors, parking sensors, driver-assist system sensors and cameras, wiring harnesses, vehicle control units, seats or interior trim panels.

Where to Go for Help?

You Mercedes Benz windshield is crucial to your safety, so if you think minimum damage just a minor annoyance, think again. A crack can compromise the strength of your windshield. That means you’re more likely to be injured by glass in the event of an accident. Also, a cracked windshield has the potential to impair your vision, which can be a recipe for disaster on the highway.

Finally, the windshield supports your vehicle in the event of a roll-over incident. If the windshield is damaged, it can compromise the structural integrity of the roof, increasing the risk of injury or death for vehicle occupants.

Cracks can expand in certain weather conditions. Be sure to have a technician check the damage as soon as possible because that simple repair could turn into a replacement.

And while Mercedes Benz strongly recommends that you should only use Mercedes Benz technicians to repair or replace the windshield, remember that other shops can obtain and install OE glass. So if getting your vehicle to a Mercedes dealership is not convenient, know that you have other options.

You can use our auto glass locator service to find a shop today. If you want to find a certified technician who can do the work, search for one on Glass.com.

 

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By Trey Barrineau

Trey Barrineau is the editor of Door and Window Market magazine (DWM). He edits and writes a wide range of content, from breaking-news items and first-person blog posts for the Web to 4,000-word, deeply researched features for print. He also manages DWM's social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. He came to DWM in December 2014 from USA Today. During his time at Key, Trey’s work has received national and regional recognition from the publishing industry. His 2016 coverage of Venezuela’s takeover of a U.S. glass factory was a 2017 finalist for the Jesse H. Neal Awards in the Best News Coverage category. In 2016, he won a silver medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Awards of Excellence for the Mid-Atlantic Region for a 2015 feature article on the lack of skilled labor in the door and window industry. Prior to joining DWM, Trey was a multiplatform editor and writer in USA Today's Life section from September 2000 to December 2014. While there, he won more than a dozen awards for outstanding headlines. Before that, he worked for more than 10 years covering news and sports at daily newspapers in North Carolina.

Trey is a 1988 graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. In 2016, he earned the Fenestration Associate professional certification from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). He lives with his wife Jacqui and their occasional office-dog Siri in Northern Virginia.


  • I read t his column because, guess what, I have a small 3″ crack extending from a rock hit half an inch from the edge of my 2001 S500 benz below the steering wheel. Glass people tell me it is the original factory glass and this is the first time it has been marked at all. Tomorrow I am driving it 80 miles round trip to the most experienced crack fixer I found to get it fixed. I don’t want a new windshield because you guys have convinced me that MB cut corners on glass as some point including their replacement glass but I am thinking older models might be thicker or something.
    It seems odd that the “carcomplaints” website has almost no (one) complaint about windshields in it’s mercedes data base. They were right on in calling my Ford explorer for every problem and naming it worst car to own.
    BTW whoever said MB engineers should not make fuel pumps that are hard to put in: they are not hard. I have merely removed the RR tire of my 2001 S500 and done it in a parking lot. They are ripping you off. What else is new huh?

  • I’ve seen some good points and I have seen some bad points. I am a senior autoglass technician who assistant manages an autoglass shop. I have seen thousands of rock chips, and it doesn’t matter if the glass is OEM or aftermarket. Allow me to explain.

    First of all – there are standards in place for windshield safety nation-wide.
    Every windshield, aftermarket or OEM, must meet minimum required safety standards when entering the country. This includes thickness, weight and dimensions. An aftermarket windshield is no less safe than an OEM windshield

    Secondly, aftermarket options CAN and WILL have all the same technology options available. We CANNOT use the incorrect part in any vehicle – but we are still in business! Sometimes it takes us a couple of tries to locate and source the right windshield, but we will tell you if OEM is your only option.

    Thirdly, glass is GLASS. It breaks. It happens! You all are here because you have the same problem, not because all mercedes have bad glass. It’s like going to a furry convention and saying everyone in the world is a furry.

    Fourth and finally – aftermarket glass is not perfect. There are small deficiencies – THIS IS A FACT. However, any retailers that sell aftermarket glass WILL have a warranty for these deficiencies. These include: Slight misplacement of mounting brackets, minor distortions in glass, or even minor cosmetic failures in the black frit pattern.

    When comparing aftermarket glass to OEM glass, the OEM is better for sure; just not by double to triple the price margin.

    My suggestion – just get aftermarket glass, but make sure whoever you choose to install it has a generous warranty policy. It will save you money and honestly be just as good for the basic consumer. Don’t let big auto manufacturers scare you into using their parts. You DO have options and every choice has pros and cons.

    To me, it seems like a lot of Mercedes drivers are in too much of a hurry and follow too closely behind traffic. Take your time and enjoy the ride in your luxury vehicle!

  • Bought brand new Mercedes GLE 43 AMG in December 2019 and I am on my THIRD that’s right, my third windshield. This in not from chipping or cracking but from major distortions in all of them. It causes eye strain, nausea, and headaches and is extremely unsafe to drive. It is like wearing prescription glasses when you do not wear glasses. I noticed it on the first day I received the vehicle but did not want to tell my husband because I did not want to complain. Without mentioning it to him, he and my daughter got in and took it for a spin. As soon as they got out the said “something is majorly wrong with that windshield”. I called dealership and brought it in a week later with only 200 miles on it . The service manager got in and was back out within 10 seconds and said he didn’t know how I was even driving it and that he “never wanted to get in that car again”. The dealerships and Mercedes are aware that it is a problem and have been replacing it under warranty. BUT so far all 3 windshields have the same problem. They said they will reimburse me if I want to try a non OEM at Safelite to see if that takes care of the problem. It is definitely a Mercedes windshield specific issue. I have filed a lemon law claim under the Texas DMV site and will try to get it fixed one more time, if that does not work, then I will have to get rid of the vehicle. I encourage others experiencing the same problem to also report under lemon laws. These are national laws and if enough are reported they can issue recalls. This is just not safe to drive. Wish I would have known about this before making such a major purchase.

  • Now I get it! I am going to have to sell my 2016 S550. Bought brand new in June 2016 and I have had to change it twice and fixed a big crack 4 times. The problem is they can not be fixed. They crack again. That means my car has gone through 3 Windshields already all OEM windshields until the last one which is after market. Now even that one is now cracked again. Fixed it and the next day crack opened again. Autoglass repair guy told me he would come to fix it when it extends beyond the edge of the previous crack. It did and he just told me well I will have to change it.The problem is the crack snakes up if you put your windshield warmer on which means if I don’t change the Windshield I can’t drive it in the winter months. I would have said once sold I will never buy a Benz product again. The problem is I already bought a 2018 AMG Gtc. Again brand new. It has had stone strikes but no chips. Clearly stronger glass and less defects. It doesn’t have all the jazz in the S550 embedded in the Windshield so hopefully…But common Benz should be very ashamed of their Engineers and after sales care teams. It’s like they are not monitoring what customers have issues with! Mind you, I have driven a few other brands. Lexus GS, BMW 535i , Range rover Sport, Chrysler 300c and Grand cherokee SRT and never realized Winshields needed changing. Even with smaller brands like Mistubishi, peugot 505 and VW Passat cars we have owned. No Windshields changed.

  • After reading all these comments, I am surprised that I have not yet heard about a class action suit or recall for MB windshields. My GLK 350 Windshield has a crack. A very small stone hit the windshield and a tiny minuscule prick appeared. Within weeks that prick became a long horizontal crack of about 20 inches. I don’t even remember seeing anything that caused it. It just grew longer and longer from the tiny prick the small rock created. Before this MB I drove a Toyota for over 15 years and never once had a single issue with the windshield. I got here because I was trying to find out the best course for getting it repaired/ replaced. Imagine the disappointment in MB!

  • I’ve been a car owner/driver for 46 years and never had to replace a windshield! I have the MB E350 – was driving 35 mph in a residential area got hit with something – I guess a rock flew up- and it split the windshield in like an L shaped 1/4 to 1/3 of the length of the top.
    State Farm doesn’t want to pay what the part is worth- saying they just want to replace it- but now reading the comments- I am wondering what’s up with MB!!
    Please include me in any lawsuits. Thank you bb at cinci dot rr dotcom

    • There is a recall as of 3-19-2021 and it’s suppose to start 5-14-2021. Recall #21V197000 Roof and Pillars check it out.

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