Genuine windscreen or generic. What’s best?

What’s the best quality windscreen and what would Service 8® recommend?

This is very common question asked by many customers when inquiring about a replacement windscreen.

The quick and simple answer is to suggest that the genuine windscreen will always be the better quality and best fit for your vehicle. Whilst this is true and Service 8® would not disagree, there are other important factors to consider. Cost, availability and the actual differences between the two.

Cost is a critical component for customers and many customers search for this factor by shopping around. However, it’s fair to say that when customers want the best price, what they really want is the best value. 

This means they don’t want to pay too much and they don’t necessarily want the cheapest slip slap job/product either.

The second factor is availability. Since most car dealers do not stock auto glass parts, many parts must be shipped from capital city’s and in many cases from overseas.  Obviously this this causes a major inconvenience to customers and more often than not, the most available part is purchased.

The third factor are the actual differences between the two products. Is the extra delay and expense for the genuine product really worth it? 

Service 8® Windscreens did a comparison recently between a generic and a genuine windscreen for a Holden Commodore. Several factors were measured to show some facts between the two windscreens.

From the evidence we gave our opinion and you are free to make your own mind up.

The Windscreen Test

We measured the thickness, the height and the width of a generic windscreen and a genuine windscreen for a Holden Commodore. The result were as follows.

Genuine Windscreen

The genuine windscreen was made by Pilkington Australia, DOT number 298. The DOT Number represents who and where the windscreen was produced.

The windscreen dimensions were measured with a quality Lufkin tape measure. The windscreen was measured from the center of the glass top to bottom and from the widest point at the bottom from left to right.
Windscreen Height: 897mm. Width: 1539mm.

Pilkington windscreen
Pilkinton Windscreen DOT number 298

The windscreen thickness was measured with a quality Moore & Wright digital caliper. The thickness was measured at the top in line with the mirror button. Care was taken to remove all urethane adhesive from the old windscreen to ensure an accurate measurement.
Windscreen Thickness: 5.53mm.

Genuine windscreen thickness
Windscreen thickness test on Pilkinton Windscreen 5.53mm

 

Generic Windscreen

The generic windscreen was made by FUJIAN YANHUA Glass Industry China. DOT Number 459.

NAGs Windscreen FYG
FUJIAN YANHUA Windscreen DOT number 459

The dimensions were made with the same instruments and under the same conditions.

Windscreen Height: 894mm. Width: 1533
Windscreen Thickness: 5.04mm

Windscreen thickness test on FFYG Windscreen ThicknessUJIAN windscreen 5,04mm

Summary of facts

The difference in height between the genuine windscreen and the generic was 3mm, or 0.334%
The Different in width was 6mm, or 0.391%
The difference in thickness was 0.49mm, or 8.861%

The Verdict

We were quite surprised by result at how close in size the two were, especially in terms of height and width. The fact that this kind of installation has a 25mm rubber mould surrounding the windscreen, we could say with confidence that the slight difference in sizes would no compromise the quality of the installation at all for this vehicle.

Whilst it is also fair to mention that other factors should be considered also, such as the curvature of the glass, distortion and clarity.

We would suggest that even if we had the tools to measure these factors the differences would be marginal. Generic windscreens do have to comply with stringent Australian Standards and although on occasion a poor batch does slip though the net, the vast majority are perfectly acceptable.

We would also like to point out that in some cases Service 8® does recommend and will only install genuine windscreens. However, these tend to be for more exotic models with electronic accessories built into the windscreen, such as Rain Sensors, Heads Up Display, GPS and Antennas.

Again, it has to said than the quality of these windscreens from generic suppliers has now been lifted and are very close to the genuine product. Service 8® has successfully installed many exotic windscreens for Mercedes, BMW, VW and Audi models saving customers hundreds of dollars in the process.

The bottom line is customers have the freedom to choose. The important points to consider are do you want to wait twice as long and potentially pay three times as much for a genuine windscreen, when a you can purchase a perfectly acceptable generic windscreen today with a substantial saving.

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