Chances are when you bring your automobile to a car dealership’s service department either for repair or maintenance, they are going to use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) car parts. Bringing you car to an independent shop, however, will equip with your vehicle with aftermarket car parts. What is the distinction between these two car parts? Is the less expensive part always inferior to the more expensive one? What are the circumstances wherein OEM parts are the only choice?
The questions can be answered by coming up with a list of the advantage and disadvantage of aftermarket parts compared to OEM parts. This way, you can reach a middle ground between quality and cost.
If a car part is not sourced from the car’s manufacturer, that is an aftermarket part. These car parts come from companies that can produce something like the original, or in some instances even better. Majority of independent shops make use of these aftermarket parts. If you will avail of the services of these shops, be smart and make sure you are entrusting your vehicle to a good mechanic who will use high-quality aftermarket parts.
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So what is the main advantage of aftermarket parts?
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Normally, aftermarket parts cost less than OEM parts with the amount of savings varying by brand. It makes sense to inquire from a handful of vendors to get an idea of how much a part normally costs and then shop around for the best price. If the price is way too low than the prevailing market price, its quality may be questionable.
As for the disadvantage, aftermarket parts may not carry a warranty. No warranty means the manufacturer is able to keep costs down. When the parts are sourced from the car’s manufacturer, they are referred to as OEM parts. These are the same parts that can be found in your car when it rolled off the assembly line.
So what is the main advantage of an OEM part?
With an OEM part comes a better assurance of quality. The OEM part, being an exact copy of the part you are replacing, can take over its function without a hitch. It is the same part used in manufacturing your vehicle, so its familiarity and performance should give you no worries. More often than not, it is also covered by a one-year warranty which includes the labor as well.
The knock against OEM parts is that they are not widely available. Most of the time, the only way to buy OEM parts is to go to an authorized car dealership who is the sole distributor. This limits the number of places to buy them from. You can request your local mechanic to use only OEM parts but the repair may take longer as the parts have to be ordered.