Purchasing OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts is often recommended by car manufacturers and for a good reason. Only an OEM part can be guaranteed to be the correct part and have the dependability, strength and service life that the manufacturer can put their name behind. However, there are a lot of times when you don't need that ... and even more times when an aftermarket part might be superior for your needs. Let's take a look at some pros and cons of using OEM vs aftermarket parts and when you should use one over the other.
While it is true that in many situations, these parts are the better choice, it is important for car owners to realize that part of the reason behind manufacturers recommending their own parts is because they make a handsome profit on their sale.
The problem with OEM car parts is that they are often very expensive. A seemingly great alternative to OEM parts is to purchase aftermarket parts that are available with your local mechanic or an online spare parts store.
Before we understand the pros and cons of purchasing aftermarket parts, let’s first understand what they are.
What Are Aftermarket Parts?
To begin with, aftermarket parts are NOT used car parts. Instead, aftermarket car parts are new car parts that are produced by a third part company. Also known as generic spare parts, these usually cost significantly less than OEM parts.
This significant difference in the cost of aftermarket and OEM parts attracts and repels customers simultaneously. On one hand, the lower cost is a lucrative offering but on the other, one cannot help but wonder how the third party manufacturer is offering the same part at such a lower price.
If you are thinking something similar, read on to find out the pros and cons of purchasing aftermarket car parts.
Pros Of Aftermarket Car Parts
- Low Cost: Original car parts, even basic ones, can cost a small fortune. This is the problem that the aftermarket car parts industry has tried to solve by producing and offering low cost alternatives to OEM car parts.
- Availability Of Better Parts: If you do decide to shell out the money, you can find ‘performance’ aftermarket parts that can outperform and outlast OEM parts. If, for instance, you have a Toyota car and you upgrade with aftermarket Toyota parts, you can expect a better performance from your car by getting better quality parts at roughly the cost of OEM parts. In other words, aftermarket parts that may cost as much as OEM parts are usually better in quality than OEM parts.
- Availability Of Choice: Unlike OEM parts, aftermarket parts are manufactured by a number of different companies and hence, buyers of aftermarket parts have more variety. In many cases, the OEM part of your vehicle may not be available at your dealership and you may be required to wait for the part to arrive. However, with aftermarket parts, you can usually place your orders immediately and get the part delivered to you much quicker.
- Availability Of Rare Parts: When a car manufacturer decides to stop the production of a car, they also eventually stop the production of OEM parts of that car. Once this happens, the owners of such models only have the option of either purchasing used OEM parts or new aftermarket parts. Usually, the latter is a much better and more dependable choice.
Cons Of Aftermarket Parts
- Overwhelming Availability Of Choice: The staggering amount of options available in the aftermarket car parts space is as convenient as it is confusing. In the midst of hundreds of sellers of the exact same parts, rooting out those selling poor quality parts or running scams is a difficult task for a customer.
- Cost Cutting By Degrading Quality: When you shop around for aftermarket parts, you will notice that some options are radically cheaper than the others. Many manufacturers, particularly the ones operating in other countries like China, offer cheap spare parts by using low quality materials and techniques in the manufacturing process. As a buyer, you must remember the rule of thumb ‘you get what you pay for’.
As you can see, there are a couple of disadvantages that you may have to face while shopping for aftermarket parts. However, the good thing is that with enough research and diligence, it is easy for informed and smart consumers (such as yourself) to avoid bad experiences while purchasing aftermarket car parts.