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


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 replacement.

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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18 responses to “Why Did Mercedes Recommend Only its Own Glass for Windshield Replacement?”

  1. I just had my windshield replaced by Mercedes. My GLE 450 replacement cost $1,420.75 total.
    $940 for windshield, $35 glazing adhesive, $400 labor, and $10 for the dumb Mercedes sticker in the lower corner.
    I had two large cracks running up the whole windshield. You could see a difference in light between the pieces.
    Getting it done by dealer was a no brainer. Sensors must be configured. Glass is designed to the car for crash. Aftermarket is a cheap and unsafe way to go for such an expensive car. Makes no sense why you’d buy such a car with safety as one contributing factor for purchase then not put OEM for a part that plays such a major role in keeping you alive in an accident.

  2. We bought a certified pre-owned 2014 MB ML350 in February of this year. After four months, the windshield cracked top to bottom. We used the PermaPlate insurance purchased with the car to replace the glass through Safelite. A month later we got hit by a rock and the windshield split horizontally. We got it replaced and two weeks later got hit by another rock two inches from the previous strike causing an immediate horizontal split. I’m trying to determine if the windshields installed by Safelite truly are equivalent to the MB OEM windshields. They claim to be installing OEM windshields but I cannot reconcile their part number with the MB part number. Any advice or help would be appreciated. By the way, I have not changed my driving habits. I’ve been driving for 44 years and have only had to replace two windshields prior to owning this vehicle.

    • William, I am sorry to hear of your bad luck! As most drivers need a windshield replacement once every eight years, it sounds like you’re making up for lost time.

      As for the windshield itself, a sure-fire way to make sure that OEM glass is being used is to have the replacement done through a Mercedes dealership. It certainly possible for independent installers to obtain OEM parts however and is fairly common practice. Part numbers can be tricky as they don’t always match up the way you think they would. At this point, I would suggest taking your vehicle to a Mercedes dealership and see if they are able to determine whether or not it is a factory part.

      Good luck!

    • I too have a 2014 ML 350 and the windshield cracked all over from the slightest rock chip. I had the special coating installed at purchase so went through them and supposedly, they had Safelight install a certified Mercedes windshield. Before I could even get it to the dealer for calibration, you guessed it, another small rock bounced off it causing an immediate star crack that spread over the entire drivers side. Either Mercedes owners have really bad luck or there is a defect in the glass and tempering Mercedes uses. Time for a class action lawsuit. My 2006 Dodge Ran windshield is 1/3 the price and strong as steel. We are being ripped off.

      • Me too! This has to have something to do with the manufacturing of Mercedes windshields.

        Second week I had my 2017 GLE 400, I got a stone chip in the windshield. I brought it to the dealership and they filled it ….for $85, only to have a vertical crack right up my windshield two months later.

        I was about to bring in to have replaced and you guessed it, another rock hit my windshield and another deep star chip in the centre of my windshield.

        I have been driving for 35 years and I drive all over, highway and city. I have had two stone chips in my windshields in all of 35 years and both cars – one a BMW and the other a Lexus, we’re both able to be filled and I never had to have those windshields replaced.

        Coincidence that we are all having windshield issues with our Mercedes….I think not. I like the idea of a class action suit. I have never been so unhappy with the purchase of a new car as I have been with Mercedes.

  3. I bought a brand new 2014 MB Sprinter Van and in 2 years I am going on my 4th windshield, the fourth one in less than six months of the 3rd. The cracks were caused by the smallest impact, with the 3rd, it was under the wiper blade and very tiny. I am doubting the quality of the windshield that MB is using. Any issues with windshields in the Sprinter Van?

  4. My 2012 Mercedes slk350 got a crack in the windshield. Geico glass coverage paid for an aftermarket replacement through safelite. Can’t see through the windshield when it rains due to blotchy spots. Radio doesn’t get as many stations, wipers and headlights don’t work as they used to. This isn’t “pre accident condition” as per Geico’s claim

  5. My 2016 MB E250 windshield cracked
    I called Mercedes and wanted it replaced . They said they don’t replace windshields. They said go to Saflite. I called Saflite and they don’t use Mercedes windshields.
    How do I get a OM part installed ???

  6. I’m so happy to have a found this thread, as I was beginning to wonder if I just had the worst of luck. My windshield on my 2016 GLE 450 has cracked 4 times! FOUR in a year and a half. I’ve never had another car windshield get cracked, drive as I always have, and this windshield is truly junk! Mercedes has lost a client as I will trade it in after this winter.

  7. I had the same problem on my 2017 Mercedes C300. It was a small rock, I parked my car in the garage, came out, it spread to crack as long as dollar bill quickly. I’ve driven 4 BMW had no problem with it, rocks has come to the glass so many times. Bmw glass is a steel. I’m happy to drive Mercedes brand. It’s soft as a paper. All my friends told me. They thought the MB glassed that installed all models was bad material, and not very good compares to the other car brands. Disappointed so much on Mercedes brand.

  8. I thought it was just me. I’ve had two chips/cracks in my 2014 E350, caused by minute impact. I’ve never had a crack in any other car I’ve owned. The Mercedes dealership charged me $1600.00 to replace it and now my insurance company doesn’t want to pay anything for the replacement because it was so expensive. I live in fear that I’m going to get another crack from a piece of gravel.

  9. Very useful information from all reply’s . My 2012 c300 acquired 2 chips in a week with one reaching over 8 inches over night without moving the car. New glass is on the calendar but I feel this is going to happen again soon. I also have not needed to replace glass even on my 2008 VW with 180,000 miles. Reavaluating brand purchase.

  10. 2009 E320 bluetek, back winow broken. Was replaced with original MB part in some shop. Seams to be ok, defroster woks.
    But since then the sound system and radio are not working. It says DEVICE NOT AVAIABLE. Is it the anty theft feature that prevents the system not to work?(Forced entery)
    MB Service Center claims that the sound system need to be replaced! For $ 1,600.
    Insane!

    • Hi Franz,

      It could be that the battery was unplugged during the replacement, causing the computer’s anti-theft feature or something similar to kick in. According to this MBWorld thread, it is likely related to the satellite radio unit which needs to be reset.

  11. Wow this is really serious. I own a 2014 e350 sport and am on my 3rd chip. Came out this morning and while driving in 85 degree weather with my ac on and a crack appeared right b4 my eyes! The funny thing is the crack started at the bottom where my wiper blades are hidden and rose upward halfway through the windshield dividing the passenger side and driver side. There is no rock that could even get where the crack started. As a matter of fact no rock has even hit on the area of that crack. So it must be ghosts! I have 6 cars. From acura audi bmw and nissan. None have ever cracked or chipped like this car has. In my life i have owned more than 20 vehicles and dont remember getting 3 chips and one ghost crack after only 2 years of ownership. Mb needs to really find a fix for this and quick. Im scarred to pay all this money to have it done again in 2 months! Smh

  12. I am reading these comments regarding Mercedes windshields and I am very concerned. I owned 3 different Lexus over the past 12 years and drove for a living being in sales. In all of my years driving the road everyday I never once had to replace a windshield and believe me I was hit by rocks many times. I bought a certified preowned Mercedes in 2015 and you guessed it the first week I was on the freeway and hit by a rock and my windshield got a star crack. I took it into Mercedes and they were able to patch it for me. A few months later while driving I must have been hit by a rock I didn’t even hear a thing and my windshield is cracked from one end to the other. I thought initially when I got hit the first time that this windshield was flawed and after reading all of the comments on this site now I’m sure of it.

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