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The Case of the Aftermarket Quality Windshield and ADAS Calibration

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Question regarding OEM vs. aftermarket glass:

Dear Glass Detective,

A very well-known windshield replacement company contends that their aftermarket glass is no different than the Audi OEM glass. When I had my windshield replaced by this company, Audi said that they could not replace the windshield because the glass had internal defects (“ripples”) which prevented the recalibration from working. They presented some diagnostic reports with errors as proof. Who do I believe? What do you think?

Thank you,

Rob W.

Answer regarding OEM vs. aftermarket glass:


Thank you for contacting the Glass Detective with your question regarding Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) glass and recalibration. The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that your Audi is equipped with are highly sensitive. The cameras and sensors need a clear, undistorted view, and any defects (like the ripples you mentioned) in the glass that they “see” though could cause them to malfunction and therefore be a safety concern. This is the reason most vehicle manufacturers recommend that OEM quality glass is only used when it comes time for a replacement on models equipped with ADAS.

OEM parts are, in theory, the same quality as the parts that came on your car from the Audi factory because they are made by the same manufacturer. When it comes to aftermarket windshields, these windshields must all meet the minimum safety requirements set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT) designating the glass as AS1 laminated safety glass. However, there are no actual quality standards in place. Fit, finish and clarity may be compromised. It appears that the dealership, especially if they have diagnostic reporting as backup, would be the ones to believe in this case.

-Glass Detective


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Lyle Hill

Lyle Hill has been in the glass and metal industry for more than 40 years. In this time he has managed glass retail, contract glazing, mirror, architectural window, window film, and automotive glass businesses throughout America. He obtained an MBA from IIT with a focus on Technology and Engineering Management. Hill is also a columnist for glass industry trade magazines and often called the “face” of the glass industry. He has also authored books including “The Broken Tomato and Other Business Parables,” which is available through Amazon. Find out more about Lyle on Linkedin.

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2 Responses

  1. Can you shed some light on the ongoing problem with the Subaru Outback windshield cracking which always appears to take place low on the windshield, in the area where the wipers “park” and get heated to prevent icing. Subaru Dealers claim they “used” to have a problem, but not anymore.
    OK, Subaru, so then why did I pull my 3 week old 2018 Outback into the garage, complete with intact windshield, only to retrieve it the next morning with a half moon crack ending on both sides at the windshield edge near where the heating elements are. This half moon did eventually grow a third leg up into the line of vision. Dealers claim there is evidence of a birdseye, which is behind the wiper, but neither wife nor I ever had any visual or audio evidence to a windshield strike. Please help me with this as I battle Subaru, whom I believe uses lightweight windshields prone to failures. THANK YOU!

    1. Subaru did indeed issue an extended 3 year/36,000 mile windshield warranty for their 2015-2016 Legacy and Outback models due to a similar issue. More details can be found on auto glass expert Bob Beranek’s blog. We have not yet heard of any issues relating to 2018 models. Yours may be an unfortunate isolated case, or there may not be many cases yet since the 2018 models are relatively new on the road. Keep an eye on the comments in Beranek’s blog though as other drivers could provide insight into their cases also. Please keep us updated with the outcome!

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