Replacement Windshields on Leased Cars

Replacing a Windshield on a Leased Car — What You Should Know

If your car is leased, you may be in for a nasty surprise and cost you the retail dealer price of a new manufacturer’s windshield if you repair or replace your windshield. Leasing companies will not take back a car with some windshield repairs.

BMW Financial Services will only accept a windshield with a crack that is no more than ¼” and which is located outside of the wiper span. If you have an unacceptable crack or aftermarket windshield, your leasing company will replace the windshield with the manufacturer’s windshield when the car is returned and charge you the full retail replacement cost which could be as much as $800 – $2,500.

The normal process of replacing a windshield is 1) you call your insurance company to make an insurance claim under your glass coverage and get a “new” replacement windshield. Your insurance company will then send you to a windshield replacement company, or 2) you go to a windshield replacement company and pay for a new windshield yourself.

Neither your insurance company nor the windshield replacement company will mention anything about the difference between using a generic replacement windshield and a new manufacturer’s windshield. The windshield replacement company will just give you a new generic windshield which, when asked, they will tell you is just as safe as the original manufacturer’s windshield.

The problems: 1) your insurance company, the windshield replacement company, and your leasing company has different definitions of what is a new windshield and your leasing company may charge you to replace the windshield again when you return your car; 2) if you own your car, the wrong replacement windshield can result in the diminished value of your car, devaluing your car if you plan to resell it.

Your insurance company will send you to a company such as Safelite, one of the main aftermarket auto glass manufacturers, which will give you an aftermarket windshield also known as an OEE or Original Equipment Equivalent windshield.

Leasing companies generally do not accept OEE windshields which are less expensive and manufactured to different specifications. If you return your leased car with an OEE windshield, when you submit your car for inspection, you will probably find yourself paying for another new windshield.

Your leasing company may require a manufacturer’s windshield or may accept an OEM windshield which is made to the same specifications. Before you replace your windshield, check with your leasing company to find out what will be required when you return your car.

How I Replaced the Windshield on My Leased Car

When a stone hit the windshield on my Mercedes and caused a small chip, I had it repaired by Safelite. The chip and repair were small enough that it would be accepted by Mercedes when I returned my car. Months later, the windshield was hit again by a stone and this time it caused a large crack so the windshield had to be replaced.

Safelite was going to replace the windshield with an original equipment equivalent windshield. I told them that I had to have an original Mercedes windshield. Safelite tried to persuade me to take their windshield by telling me it would take a couple of days because they would have to order a windshield from Mercedes. I told them I did not have a problem waiting. They obtained permission from my insurance company State Farm because the windshield was twice the price and two days later, they installed an original Mercedes windshield.

If you are filing a glass claim with your insurance company for a new windshield, tell your insurance company that your car is leased and insist that they provide you with a dealer or OEM windshield accepted by your leasing company. If your insurance company gives you a problem, provide them with a copy of your lease and advise that if they do not give you an acceptable windshield you will file a complaint with the insurance department.

If you have an expensive car which you own rather than leased, using an OEE windshield may result in the diminished value of your car which you may find out about when you try to sell it.

By Philip L. Franckel, Esq.