When a car rolls off an assembly line, it is built completely with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. If you take your car to be fixed by your dealership, you are going to get OEM parts as well. Your local mechanic, however, is most likely going to be using aftermarket replacement parts. Below are advantages and disadvantages of using aftermarket replacement parts over OEM parts that you might not realize.
• Variety. There are companies that specialize in specific parts and some that produce parts all across the board. The advantage is not only the choice of manufacturer, but the availability of and range of prices as well.
• Cheaper. Because of the amount of products to choose from and demand of these products, the prices are usually lower than OEM parts.
• Quality. Even though aftermarket parts are usually cheaper, that doesn’t always mean they lack quality. Many crash tests have been done with aftermarket parts and they have held up just as well, if not better, than OEM parts
• Convenience. If using an OEM part, it has to come straight form a manufacturer which could take days or even weeks. Aftermarket parts can be found at your local gas station, auto parts store, or local mechanic.
• Quality. The saying “you get what you pay used auto parts for” applies here. There are cheap aftermarket car parts that are made cheaply and if you are not familiar with them, the choice could be difficult.
• Overwhelming. The amount of manufacturers and variety of products leaves the everyday, non-mechanically inclined person overwhelmed. If you are not familiar with producers or types of products you are shopping for, ask the opinion of your local mechanic.
• Warranty. Aftermarkets parts may void the warranty on a car. Check with your manufacturer and with your mechanic to confirm what they will be using for replacement parts.
If you’ve been in any type of collision and need to replace your car’s body panels, you should definitely choose OEM parts. Other parts could run the risk of not having a proper fit or proper crumple zones for crash safety. Also, using aftermarkets parts could decrease your car’s value depending on what you have replaced. Always check with your insurance provider to understand their stipulations before replacing anything.
While the OEM parts might seem like an obvious choice because it comes directly from your car’s manufacturer, buying the aftermarket parts could prove to be more economical and an overall better product. The most important thing when choosing your car’s next replacement part is to shop around. You owe it to your pocketbook and your safety.