Windshields are a necessary part of owning a car. They protect drivers and passengers by acting as a barrier between the front of the vehicle and any objects that might strike the front of the vehicle during an accident.
The windshield wipers are also an important component to being able to see clearly while it’s raining or snowing outside. If your windshield has cracks, it needs to be replaced immediately.
Unfortunately, windshields can be expensive to purchase and install.
So, what do you do if you’re on a budget? You try to find the cheapest windshield possible that won’t shatter when your car is going 65 miles per hour down the freeway.
This usually means avoiding the original car manufacturer’s repair shops. But of course, that comes at a price. As in, it will cost you less, but you get what you pay for.
So, how do you know which brands not to buy from? There are several factors that will tell you if a windshield is going to break quickly.
In this article, we’ll discuss 6 brands of windshields that I would never recommend purchasing from. We will also see why you shouldn’t buy from them, and how to buy a windshield that is good but won’t set you back too much money.
Why an Undamaged Windshield is Important
A windshield is the first and most important defense against flying debris and other moving objects that may hit your car. It provides a barrier between those inside of the vehicle and what’s going on outside so passengers can be protected from injuries during an accident or collision with another object.
Even something as small and—supposedly—irrelevant like flying insects would be an issue without a windshield. Imagine driving around at 40 or more miles per hour and having a wasp hit you in the face. If you’ve ever experienced that, then you know firsthand how distracting and painful it can be.
The windshield is also important for keeping passengers safe in cold weather as well by helping their windows stay defrosted and clear.
Damage to the windshield is never good and should be taken care of as soon as possible. If you’re driving around with a crack or chip in your windscreen, it’s only going to get bigger and cause more problems for you later on down the road.
Windshields can easily shatter due to hitting something larger than what the windshield was made to handle. This is especially true when your vehicle is involved in a collision with another car or even pedestrian traffic.
If you live in a rural area, things like wild deer suddenly crossing the street could also damage your windshield if you end up hitting one of them.
A windshield that has been damaged doesn’t have to be replaced immediately, but an expert should look at it so you can get an idea of how much damage there actually is and what repairs need to be done.
If your windshield only has a minor crack, then it’s usually fine to repair it. But any significant crack or other type of damage is probably going to need a replacement.
Does the Glass Type Matter?
If you’re looking for a new windshield, then one of the first things that should be considered is what kind of material it’s made out to be. This will depend on preference when choosing between two or more types.
However, there are some considerations that need to be considered when making your final decision about which kind of glass you want.
For example, most windshields are made of either tempered glass or annealed (heat-strengthened) safety glass.
Tempered glasses are basically just your regular window panes that may already be found in your house or apartment. These types of glasses are stronger than normal glass, but can still be easily shattered with enough force applied to it.
There are studies showing that every type of glass used in windshield is unsatisfactory with reducing laceration and ejection dangers. Ultimately, even the best windshield in the world will break down eventually.
Basically, there is a lot of room for improvement.
What about the Wipers?
The windshield wipers are also important to have on your car as they help with visibility during rain or snow. If the wiper blades need to be replaced because of age, use a good quality product so you won’t miss any details while driving around in wet weather.
Wipers are also very useful as they help to wipe away rain or snow that gets caught on the windshield, making it difficult to see out of. If your wipers are not working properly because of a broken wiper arm, then you need to fix this immediately.
Wiper blades are usually replaced regularly, depending on how often you use them. If they’re old or have been used too many times without being replaced, then it’s probably time to get new ones for your car so you can keep driving comfortably in all kinds of weather.
Since wiper blades are cheap and easy to replace, we won’t talk about them for the rest of the article.
4 Windshield Brands To Avoid
A windshield can be made of a variety of materials, including acrylic or polyester resin, laminated glass, tempered glass, and others.
Windshields have a particular type of glass they are made from, and this will affect how durable it is going to be in the long run. There are some brands that use cheap glass instead of quality material, so you can expect them not to last very long.
The problem is that low-quality windshields are usually made to look exactly the same as premium ones, which means you can’t tell by looking at them what type of materials they have inside and how strong it will be in certain conditions.
The only way you’ll know for sure if a windshield is high quality or not is if you know the company or brand that made it.
And that’s why we made a list of the brands you should never buy from. Windshields are too important to waste money on bad ones.
We did some research and found out that this is one of the worst brands to go with when looking for a new windshield. Not only are their products very expensive, but they also use cheap glass that will not last you long at all. You can expect it to crack easily if your car gets into an accident or even if you run into something while driving.
Editor’s note: Safelite stopped making windshields (through their deal with Tru-Tech) and outsource them now. What does it mean for you? Well, there are 2 dealers they get them from: Xinyi and Fuyao. Fuyao’s windshields are of good quality, while Xinyi’s are not. So Safelite is a 50/50 chance of you getting a good vs bad windshield. If you can’t choose, stay away from them.
Another brand we found out to be a terrible choice is PGW (ex PPG). It’s weird, as this company used to be an OEM windshield manufacturer (you’ll find their windshields on older Hondas/Mazdas).
They make both original and aftermarket windshields. It’s clear they use the best quality material for the original ones, as these are nothing short of outstanding. Their aftermarket windshields leave a lot to be desired.
They are only slightly better than Safelite in terms of quality but can also get quite expensive depending on the car you have and how big or small your windshield is.
They are actually the same company that used to make windshields for Safelite, which is why their products are terrible in terms of quality and durability. We would recommend avoiding this brand at all costs because it’s not worth spending money on something you know will break down or crack after a few months of use.
Auto Glass Now
This is a company, and that has been getting a lot of critical reviews lately. They use cheap glass to make their windshields, which means you can expect them not to last long at all, especially if your car gets into any kind of accident or falls victim to other types of damage.
You should never buy a windshield from any of these brands, as their products are of inferior quality and not worth the money you’d spend on them. Their installation job is also less than stellar.
You’re going to spend more on the long term by picking Auto Glass Now. It is likely your windshield will need a replacement soon if you go with them.
Editor’s note: You’ll find people online who perused these companies and had a suitable replacement done. If you’re happy with your installation, then all is good in the world. Unfortunately, the companies on this list have a higher rate of bad windshields compared to the reputable ones.
How to Find a Good Installer
When you’re replacing your windshield, it’s also important to make sure that the installation is done properly. This way, you can avoid leaks and other issues with the seal around the glass itself.
The best glass in the world isn’t worth half a penny if it’s not installed properly. In fact, installation is more important than windshield quality.
If you want to avoid problems, then make sure the company doing the installation is professional and knows how to get it done right. You can contact local repair shops
You’ll also want to look for a windshield replacement service that offers warranties on their workmanship just in case anything goes wrong and there’s damage caused by leaks or other issues with the seal. This way, you won’t have to pay extra just to get it fixed.
Things you should look for in a windshield installer:
- AGRSS certification. To become a certified installer, technicians must first go through extensive training and testing on the proper installation of new windshields. This ensures their work will be done to industry standards so you can have confidence in them. Technicians who are AGRSS Certified know exactly what they’re doing to replace your vehicle’s windshield
- How much experience they have with each brand of windshields? You don’t want to take chances on someone who doesn’t know which types are better than others because you could end up paying more for something that might not be necessary, or worse yet – getting a sub-par installation that will not last you very long
- References, including customer feedback and reviews on sites like Google or Yelp. Always check out recent reviews and make sure they’re genuine. There are dishonest businesses out there who pay for fake reviews
- Warranty for their workmanship to avoid paying more if something goes wrong with the seal around the glass itself because of an installation error. If someone is excellent at replacing windshields, they shouldn’t have any issue with this
Good Windshield Brands
If you’re looking to replace your windshield, stick to one of the reputable brands. Or go for an OEM one if you don’t mind the extra cost. Going with OEM gives you the best quality and safety. But if you want to save a couple hundred bucks, then go for a reputable brand like Pilkington or Carlite.
The best windshield brands come from Pilkington, Carlite, and Aspen. These companies have been in the business for decades, so they know what it takes to make a great product that will last you a long time without breaking down. They’re also well known throughout the industry, so there’s no doubt about their quality or reputation.
There are some awful windshield brands out there. But the most important thing when you get yours replaced is the installer. You should do extra research on who is going to install your new windshield. If they do a great job, even a mediocre windshield is going to last you long. Conversely, the best windshield in the world will look wavy, crack, or worse, bend after a poor installation.
Still, there are some brands that are better than others at a similar price point. But with the recent globalization trends, it’s hard to discern who’s making what. You should always check your glass’ DOT, which will tell you where it was built.
From there, you should be able to tell if your glass has any merit to it. Nowadays, most brands have glass assembled all over the world, so going beyond the name is crucial.
But don’t be critical of a windshield just because it was assembled in China, Africa, or Eastern Europe. The country really stepped up their manufacturing process in recent years. You’ll find excellent windshields coming from there too. You should research the manufacturer and look for other people’s experiences with them.