Aftermarket Parts

An aftermarket part is any part for a vehicle that is not sourced from the manufacturer. If the parts are direct replacement parts, they will honor your car’s warranty. A number of companies make parts designed to function the same, sometimes even better than the original.

 PROS

  • Less expensive:Aftermarket parts are usually less expensive than OEM parts. How much you save varies by brand. Research different brands to get an idea of how much that part usually costs. If the price of a part seems too good to be true it may be of lower quality.
  • Quality can be equal to or greater than OEM:In certain instances you may end up with a better part than you started with. For example, when an automaker designs its brake pads, it has to strike a balance between cost, durability, noise levels and performance. If you want better performance and don’t mind some extra brake noise an aftermarket pad may be your best choice.
  • More variety:There are hundreds of companies that make aftermarket parts. Some specialize in specific parts, and other companies make a wide variety of parts. More options means greater selection and a wider range of prices.
  • Better availability:You can walk into any automotive shop, auto parts store, or local mechanic, and they’re bound to have a part that fits your car. This gives you more options on where to take your car for service.

CONS

  • Quality varies greatly:The saying “you get what you pay for” rings true here. Some aftermarket parts are inferior because of the use of lower-quality materials. Stick with aftermarket brands you’re familiar with or are recommended by a mechanic you trust, even if these parts cost a bit more.
  • Overwhelming selection:If you’re not familiar with aftermarket brands, the selection could be overwhelming, and there’s some chance you may get a bad quality part. Even a part as simple as a spark plug can be made by dozens of different companies and comes in numerous variations. Consult your mechanic for advice or simply stick with the OEM part when the price difference isn’t significant.
  • May not have a warranty:To keep costs down, some aftermarket parts are sold without a warranty.

OEM Parts

OEM parts are made by the vehicle’s manufacturer. These match the parts that came with your vehicle when it rolled off the assembly line.

PROS

  • Easier to choose your part:If you go to a dealership and ask for any part, you’ll usually get one type. You don’t have to worry about assessing the quality of different brands and prices.
  • Greater assurance of quality:The OEM part should work the same as the one you are replacing. It is what the vehicle was assembled with and provides a peace of mind in its familiarity and performance.
  • Comes with a warranty:Most automakers back up their OEM parts with a one-year warranty. And if you get your car repaired at the dealer, they’ll usually stand by their labor as well. 

CONS

  • More expensive:OEM parts may cost more than an aftermarket part. When it comes to bodywork, OEM parts tend to cost about 60 percent more, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
  • Quality may not be superior:You paid the extra money for an OEM part, hoping that it was vastly better than an aftermarket part. Some aftermarket parts are equal to or in some cases better than OEM parts. So you may be paying extra just for the name.