According to Tom Torbjornsen, host of America’s Car Show, around 80 percent of independent repair shops use aftermarket parts instead of OEM. So unless you take your car to the dealership’s service department when you need a repair, you won’t know if the repair technician is installing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or aftermarket parts in your vehicle.
This is because aftermarket parts are less expensive than OEM parts. You might be asking yourself if this is a good or a bad thing: if you keep reading this article we will tell you all the pros and cons of both so you can make an informed decision when choosing what auto parts go into your vehicle. This way you can make an informed decision.
Aftermarket Auto Parts
Aftermarket parts are parts that are not made by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Instead, these are produced by a third-party company. Some of these companies produce direct replacement parts, these are aftermarket parts that will not void your vehicle’s warranty.
It’s better to do a lot of research when buying aftermarket parts because the quality varies greatly depending on the brand. In some cases, these parts could be better than the original but it all depends on the model, make, and part type. If you are thinking of putting aftermarket parts on your vehicle, here are some things to take into account.
Pros of aftermarket parts:
- Affordability: In most cases, aftermarket parts are less expensive than their OEM counterparts. Always take into account that you get what you pay for, so if the price seems too good to be true start asking questions about the quality. Always compare prices when shopping around online to have an idea of how much the part you are looking for costs.
- Larger Selection: There is so much competition in the world of aftermarket parts that you can possibly browse for hours comparing prices. There are hundreds of companies that produce aftermarket parts; some specialize in performance or specific parts and some produce almost any part you can think of: NAPA Auto Parts and Advance Auto Parts are two examples. The more variety the store has, the chances are you will find exactly what you are looking for.
- Availability: Availability of aftermarket parts are being manufactured even if the vehicle’s fit has been discontinued and is no longer sold. As long as people continue driving them and hence need parts for them someone will produce them. Also, most auto repair shops have aftermarket parts available which gives you more options when choosing a repair shop.
Cons of aftermarket parts:
- Variation in Quality: Have you ever heard of “you get what you pay for?” While searching for aftermarket parts online, if you see a price that is too good to be true, chances are that the quality of aftermarket parts is being compromised and lower-quality materials are most likely being used. Make sure you buy aftermarket auto parts from brands you know or that are recommended by a mechanic you trust even if these cost a little more.
- Overwhelming Selection: Even though we also listed this as a pro, if you are not someone who is familiar with aftermarket brands, the large selection of companies you can choose could be overwhelming and lead you to get a bad-quality aftermarket part. Make sure you do your research and ask your mechanic for help.
- Lack of Warranty: In order to keep costs down some aftermarket parts manufacturers do not offer a warranty. Furthermore, some car manufacturers will void your car’s warranty if you install an aftermarket part in your vehicle unless it is a direct replacement part recommended by them.
OEM Auto Parts
OEM auto parts are parts made by the vehicle’s original manufacturer. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. These parts will have a perfect fit 99% of the time because they are the exact same parts that your car rolled off the assembly line with.
Pros of OEM Parts:
- Easy to Choose and Install: When you buy an OEM part you won’t have to worry about the part not fitting or it being the wrong part as long as you make sure that the part fits your specific vehicle’s make and model. Make sure you have your VIN number handy when buying auto parts, especially online.
- Assurance of Quality: The OEM part you are replacing is going to be exactly the same and work the same way as the one you are installing. This is going to ensure that there are no problems after the installment, giving you peace of mind.
- Has a Warranty: Most car manufacturers back up their OEM parts with a 1-year warranty. And if you get your vehicle repaired at the dealer, they will usually have a warranty on the labor as well.
Cons of OEM Parts:
- More Expensive: OEM parts are usually more expensive than aftermarket parts, especially when you buy them at a dealership. According to the American Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (APCIA), OEM parts tend to cost about 60 percent more than aftermarket ones when bought new or refurbished.
- Only sold NEW at the dealership: Only dealerships sell new OEM auto parts, you can also find used OEM auto parts online. My Auto Store sells used OEM parts at 90% less than you will find them at the dealership, plus the parts come with a 6-month warranty. This could be a pro if you are looking to save a lot of money without compromising on quality.
- Might not be worth the price: If you spent the extra money for a new OEM part hoping that it would be way better than an aftermarket or used auto part that might not always be the case. Some aftermarket parts could be of equal or even superior quality depending on the brand. Also, you can have the same benefits of an OEM part at 90% less of the cost if you buy original used auto parts like the ones sold at My Auto Store without compromising your car’s performance.
Should I buy new OEM parts or aftermarket parts?
If you are looking to save money without compromising quality and performance we recommend neither. My Auto Store is the largest provider of high-quality used OEM auto parts and the best solution for anyone looking to repair their vehicle. Come check out our used auto parts inventory online now or call 1-866-513-3788.
If you want to learn about some common misconceptions about Aftermarket and LKQ Parts, check out our article “LKQ Does Not Mean Aftermarket”.