The windshield in your car or truck has multiple jobs, including keeping you safe, dry, and protected from the weather when you are driving. If the windshield is damaged, it is essential to get it replaced, but you need to be sure you are getting the right glass and installed correctly.
Windshields are made from tempered glass that contains at least one layer of polyethylene plastic between several layers of the glass. The plastic is bonded to the glass layers so that should the glass break, it is held in place and is far less like to injure the occupant in the vehicle.
The windshield repair shop you work with should understand the importance of these features and can source a new windshield for you that meets all the safety standards and fits your car or truck properly. While there is often no real advantage to buying a windshield from the car manufacturer over an aftermarket unit, you can get your windshield from the local dealership and have their service department install it for you.
Some glass is slightly tinted or has a gradient along the top to help block the sun while you are driving. Additionally, some vehicles have optional windshields with other features like defrosters or antennas embedded in the glass. When the windshield repair shop is ordering the glass for your car, they will need to know if you have any of these options so they can be sure to get the right replacement.
While it might seem like any windshield from the same model car would fit, there can be slight revisions or changes that are reflected in the options that came with the factory windshield. Often a windshield with a defroster in it does not fit the same as one without, even though they appear to be identical on the surface. Check your windshield for any options before you call the glass company, and if there is more information they need, they will ask when you call.
There are some cases where a used windshield from a salvage yard can be a good option, but if the car that the glass is coming out of was in an accident, there is no way to know if the glass was put under stress that could make it brittle or weak. Some windshield repair shops will install used glass for you, but it should only be done as a last resort. Often, the shop will not take responsibility if the glass breaks during the installation process. Contact a windshield repair service for more information.