Aftermarket Parts or OEM Parts?

In choosing replacement parts, people face two options – aftermarket parts and OEM parts. Choosing parts for your cars is a matter of quality, safety, and availability. With the array of choices you have in the market, how do you choose which is the best for your car?
There are two kinds of replacement parts – aftermarket parts and OEM parts. Aftermarket parts are parts manufactured and produced by companies other than the original car maker. On the other hand, OEM parts or original equipment manufacturer parts are those produced by the original car manufacturer.
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There are pros and cons when using aftermarket parts and OEM parts. It is up to you, the consumer, to assess and evaluate which of the two is better. Take a look at the pros and cons aftermarket parts and OEM parts.
Aftermarket Parts
  • Less expensive
Aftermarket parts are less expensive than OEM parts because they do not carry the brand of the original car maker.
  • Improved quality
The quality of aftermarket parts has improved significantly in the recent years. Some technicians can even attest that some aftermarket parts have the same, if not higher, quality as the original parts.
  • Wide availability
Since more companies make aftermarket parts, you have a lot of sources and options. You can compare and contrast different parts and compare prices and quality.
  • Unsure of the quality
Even if the parts look the same, you still cannot be 100% sure that aftermarket parts perform the same way as the original unless you try them.
  • Warranty is not guaranteed
Unlike OEM parts, aftermarket parts usually do not have warranty.
  • Complicated process of choosing
Since you are faced with a lot of choices, the process of choosing the right part may take a longer and more complicated process.
OEM Parts
  • Quality assurance
Since OEM parts are made by the original car manufacturers, you can be sure that the part is compatible with your car. The quality is also guaranteed by the original maker so you can be sure that it will perform and deliver.
  • Single replacement
You can avoid the hassle of choosing from many different aftermarket parts by choosing an OEM part. There is only one part available per type so you can get the part directly from the automaker without going through the process of choosing and comparing.
  • Comes with a warranty
OEM parts come with a warranty so you can be sure that the parts will be replaced in case they malfunction.
  • Expensive
Since OEM parts are made by the original car manufacturer, it is more expensive than the generic aftermarket parts.
  • Limited availability
You can usually just get OEM parts directly from the dealership. They are usually unavailable in your local auto body shops.
  • Unsure of quality
Although OEM parts are made by the original car makers, it does not give you 100% guarantee in terms of quality since they are also subject to mistakes and flaws.
When choosing parts for your car, it is always safe to put quality over the price. You may think that you are getting a good deal by buying cheaper parts. However, if the quality is bad, you may actually be throwing your money instead of saving it. If unsure, ask your technicians or auto experts about the best parts for your car.
Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited is the go to auto shop for collision repair in Columbia, MO.