What's the difference between OEM parts and aftermarket parts

Let’s face it, at some point in your car’s life, you’re going to need to get a few replacement parts for it. But where do you go for these parts? Do you go to the manufacturer? Or do you go for aftermarket parts? It would help to know what the difference is and which one's the best for you, so let’s start there.

Difference between OEM and aftermarket parts?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This simply means that the parts are made by the same company that made the actual vehicle. Aftermarket parts are a little different because they are produced by a separate parts company. For example, they can be made by the same factory that sold them to your car maker. They are often designed to be compatible with as many different makes and models as possible. It might not be a major difference, but generally, aftermarket parts won’t always provide the same superior fit compared to OEM ones.

OEM vs aftermarket parts

Aftermarket parts tend to cost less, which isn’t surprising given that they don’t come from the original manufacturer. Both of these options are inspected and regulated correctly, the only difference is who makes them. Your insurance company might also want to have a say on the type of parts you use on your car, as it has a claim on it also.

In some cases, you might not have a choice when deciding which parts you want, but if you do, it'd be a good idea to weigh up the options by looking at the differences:

Manufacturer: OEM parts are made by the manufacturer, so you can expect them to fit perfectly and to cost more than an aftermarket part that is made by a third party.

Price: Price can make all the difference to your decision on which type of part you go for. If you’re a purist, then getting OEM parts that are an exact replacement and will fit perfectly, is worth any cost discrepancy. So, if you take your car to a dealer, they will more than likely use OEM parts. On the flip side, aftermarket parts tend to be made by the same company that sold them to your car marker.

Performance: OEM parts have been designed specifically for your make and model. This means that they can deliver and have your vehicle running at its best. Aftermarket parts are great as their produced at high volumes and can fit different vehicle specifications just as well as OEM ones but at a cheaper cost.

The bottom line is OEM parts can keep your vehicle closer to its original state and look brand new. If cost is important to you, and you’re not concerned about where the replacement parts come from, aftermarket parts can do the job just as well, and for a bit cheaper too.

Which is right for you?

OEM parts sound better because they come straight from your car’s manufacturer, but are they always going to be the best option for you?

At the end of the day, the decision is up to you and it all comes down to which you would prefer and to some, it’s about what you can afford. If you’re a car enthusiast or maybe you’ve just bought a brand new car, no doubt you’re probably going to be looking at OEM parts.

You might, however, be at the other end of the scale and not give a monkey about where your replacement parts come from. Or your main priority is to simply get your car fixed. The lower-cost option of sourcing some aftermarket parts are probably going to be a winner in this case. So if you’re not too picky about the brand and want to save some money, opt for the aftermarket parts.

If you weigh up the costs and look at the differences to help you decide, you’ll be able to pick the kind of parts you want your vehicle to have.

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