Whenever you bring your vehicle to a car dealership’s service department for periodic maintenance or repair, they will always use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) car parts. But if you choose to bring your car to an independent shop instead, they are more than likely going to use aftermarket car parts. Is there a difference between these two car parts? Is it always the case that a less expensive part comes with poorer quality? In what cases should you not compromise using only OEM parts?
The answers to these questions can be obtained from the list of advantage and disadvantage aftermarket parts may have over OEM parts. In so doing, a middle ground between cost and quality can be found.
An aftermarket part refers to any car part that does not come from the car manufacturer. 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 are taking your car to such a shop, make sure that the mechanic who will work on your vehicle is competent and the aftermarket parts that will be used are of high quality.
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So what is the main advantage of aftermarket parts?
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Usually, you can save more by using aftermarket parts instead of OEM parts depending on the brand. It is smart to ask around to have an idea of how much a part typically costs and then shop around to get the best price. If the price tag is way below market price, be skeptical about its quality.
As for the disadvantage, aftermarket parts may not carry a warranty. Doing away with the warranty is one way of keeping costs down. As for OEM parts, these are the parts made by the car’s maker. They are the same parts that went to your car when it was being assembled.
What is the primary advantage of an OEM part?
With an OEM part comes a better assurance of quality. The OEM part can seamlessly take over the function of the part you are replacing. There is peace of mind in knowing that the replacement part brings familiarity and performance to your vehicle. It is also usually guaranteed for a period of one year including labor.
As for the disadvantage, OEM parts are not easily at one’s disposal. Most of the time, only authorized car dealerships carry OEM parts so you have to go there to buy them. You are limited in the number of options 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.