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Manufacturer vs. Aftermarket Car Parts – Which Should You Choose?

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Sooner or later, your new car is going to need some work. If you take your car to the shop and find out that it needs new parts, you have two choices. You can choose to get original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, or you can choose “aftermarket” parts that are made by a third-party manufacturer. How do you decide if you should get OEM or aftermarket parts for your car? Here are some things to consider.

Cost

OEM parts cost more than aftermarket parts, and that’s one reason why many people choose aftermarket parts. If cost is a major consideration for you, it might make sense to go with an aftermarket part. However, you also have to consider that aftermarket parts can decrease the value of your car when it comes time to sell it. If they are not as high quality as an OEM part, you may need to repair or replace them again sooner, resulting in more spending.

Quality

If aftermarket parts are of lower quality than OEM parts, then OEM parts would be the clear winners. In many cases, however, aftermarket parts are of equal quality. In some cases, aftermarket parts are better. OEM parts, on the other hand, will always be of high quality, so if you don’t want to take any chances, go with those. With a little research into aftermarket part manufacturers, you may find that some companies have a higher reputation for great parts.

Variety

The OEM parts for your car do not vary. You have only one choice for each part, because it’s the only part your car manufacturer makes for that specific car and purpose. If you don’t want the hassle of choosing a part, go with OEM parts. There are many different aftermarket part manufacturers, so you’ll have a wider selection of parts to choose from. The big selection increases the chances that you can find a part that’s high-quality and lower-priced.

Availability

Sometimes, aftermarket parts are your only choice. If a car manufacturer stops making your car, then it stops making its parts, too. A dealership or repair shop could have difficulty finding the OEM part you need. Aftermarket parts are much easier to acquire, and it’s much more likely that your repair shop will already have the part you need on-hand, meaning they can fix it right away. For OEM parts, you generally need to take your car to the dealership, which often costs more.

Warranty

OEM parts usually come with a warranty from the manufacturer, usually a one-year warranty. Aftermarket parts oftentimes do not come with a warranty, although some do. Aftermarket parts without a warranty will cost less. If you still have a manufacturer’s warranty in effect for your car, aftermarket parts will not affect your coverage as long as they are exact replacements.

Insurance

Your car insurance company, if paying for replacement parts to your car, will usually only cover aftermarket parts to save them money. If you want OEM parts, you will usually have to pay the difference in cost out-of-pocket.

Dan Smith is a car expert and father who works with Nissan Auto in the sales department. He loves to write about vehicles and everything that may encompass for those who do not have much knowledge on the subject.

Filed in: Cars, Maintenance, Performance Tags: , , , , , , ,

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2 Responses to "Manufacturer vs. Aftermarket Car Parts – Which Should You Choose?"

  1. Feeny says:

    This is a great article. We are always trying to explain the difference between manufacturer vs aftermarket parts. Often our explanations fall on deaf ears. You article here is a nice primer on the subject.

    Peter at Feeny Autos

  2. Sport Durst says:

    Ditto to what Feeny above says. We are in the automotive business to and customers always seem to think we are trying to offer them the parts that make the most money for us. This isn’t true. Aftermarket parts often do not fit or perform as well as original manufacturer parts and can actually cost more in the long run.

    Sarah at SD Automotive

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