Aftermarket Car Parts vs. OEM: 3 Reasons to Choose Genuine Replacement Parts

25 September 2020
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Aftermarket Car Parts vs. OEM: 3 Reasons to Choose Genuine Replacement Parts
  • Aftermarket parts are not made by vehicle manufacturers and may not offer total compatibility.
  • Replacing OEM parts with aftermarket brands could void warranties and recalls.
  • OEM parts offer more safety and reliability due to higher regulatory standards and exact vehicle fits. 
The market for car parts is vast, and the great debate of aftermarket vs. OEM parts continues to rage on, despite continued warnings from many leading sources that genuine OEM replacement parts are almost always the better option. Many aftermarket parts are cheaper and they might even list the exact OEM serial number to “guarantee” compatibility, but at the end of the day, can you really trust a part that wasn’t made specifically for your vehicle? Today’s vehicles aren’t like those of decades past. Thanks to modern technology and manufacturing processes, each make and model of vehicle has its own unique elements and operational features. In the past, similar engines, chassis, transmissions, and other parts were used across a variety of makes and models so exchanging parts may have been simpler. Today, your vehicle is much more customised and has been designed to operate most effectively with genuine manufacturer replacement parts. You should only shop with suppliers that offer genuine OEM replacement parts. These parts will ensure reliability, safety, compatibility, and keep all of your vehicle warranties in effect. They might cost a little more up front, but the long-term benefits are well-worth the expense. Keep reading to learn more about aftermarket vs. OEM parts, including some industry tips that you might not know. Why Choose Genuine Replacements: The Reasons To get you in the right mindset, let’s start by going over the three most important reasons that you should always buy OEM parts for your vehicle, whether you’re making a repair or doing some mods and upgrades.
  • Reliability: Genuine parts are required to be tested and approved through the same major agencies that test and approve manufacturers’ vehicles and processes: UL, CSA, and NSF International. Your aftermarket parts may or may not have this certification, and even if they do, they weren’t designed specifically for your vehicle. Therefore, they may not offer the best compatibility with your onboard equipment or the fit might be just a bit off, and it's the little things like this that can lead to bigger issues down the road. 
  • Safety: Again, aftermarket parts aren’t held to the same testing standards or designed specifically for one type of vehicle or engine. They are mass-produced for multiple installations, which could result in oversights, slightly incorrect fits, and other safety issues. Plus, even if a part is a perfect fit and seems to work perfectly, you don’t have that same peace of mind that you would get from factory parts. Is saving money worth putting yourself and others at risk? OEM parts offer so much more than money can buy, including better safety and peace of mind. 
  • Warranty Protection: Some aftermarket parts have their own warranty, but that will typically only cover the part itself. Plus, using non-OEM parts can often be cause for voiding any existing warranties that you have on your vehicle. This could cost you a small fortune if you end up needing warranty-related repairs down the road. By spending a little more on genuine parts, you could have kept your warranty intact and saved yourself hundreds (if not thousands) on repairs and related expenses. Plus, most OEM parts will offer an additional warranty period from the time of replacement, giving you even more protection. 
These are the biggest concerns that should be on your mind if you’re ever walking the fine line between whether or not to buy aftermarket parts. Of course, there are a lot of other considerations involved, and there is much more to learn. Now that you have a brief overview of the topic, let’s dig a little deeper.  What Are Aftermarket Parts? The term “aftermarket” refers to any component or part that was manufactured by a third-party distributor for installation after the purchase of a vehicle. Some of these are replacement parts, while others are modifications or upgraded components that are designed to enhance the look, performance, and other aspects of the vehicle. These parts are plentiful, but they aren’t always held to the highest regulatory standards and many of them are imported from foreign countries where parts are mass-produced and quality control standards are much lower.  Despite the fact that cars, trucks, and SUVs are heavy, dangerous objects, a lot of vehicle owners tend to want to go the cheapest route with repairs and replacements. This doesn’t just put you at risk; it can endanger everyone on the road. It’s not to say that every single aftermarket part is a waste of money. It's just that since genuine parts are available, why would you bother with anything else? Think of it like this: If you buy a generic docking base for your iPhone and iPad, it’s probably not going to give you the quality that you would get from a genuine Apple iHome docking station. It may or may not work as well as an Apple dock would, or it may not have the fast-charge capability. And when it quits working in six months, you’re left to deal with the mess. This is just your smartphone or tablet we’re talking about, not something as serious as a safely operational vehicle.  While genuine parts are made by the vehicle manufacturer and the manufacturer only, aftermarket parts can be made by any company, anywhere in the world, so long as their parts can pass basic compliance and compatibility testing (which is much less strict than it is for OEM parts). Does that make you feel safe? It shouldn’t. What if OEM Parts Aren’t Available? There’s always going to be an extenuating circumstance or situation to consider. One of the biggest fears of parts buyers is this one—what if the OEM part no longer exists? Fortunately, it is extremely rare for OEM parts to become nonexistent as long as the vehicle is a later model year. Some parts may increase in price over time as they get older or become harder to find, but it is far less likely than most people think that there simply won’t be an OEM or genuine replacement option available.  Autofixa’s online marketplace has the largest selection of original vehicle parts, making it quicker and easier to find and fit your exact part. To check whether we have the part you’re looking for, simply enter your vehicle registration mark (VRM) on our website and we’ll match you with all the OEM parts we have available for your car, from windscreen wipers and washers to engine parts, body & exhaust equipment, cooling & heating, transmission, electrical & lighting and suspension & steering parts. In the event that there isn’t, the manufacturer should have a recommended aftermarket replacement or compatible part. If you can’t use what the manufacturer supplies, always use what the manufacturer recommends. That will guarantee the highest compatibility and reliability, as well as avoid the risk of voiding any warranties with replacement parts that aren’t manufacturer-approved.  Watch Out for the Myths and Misinformation One of the trickiest elements in buying OEM parts is cutting through all the misleading information and labeling. A lot of websites will use words like “original part replacements” or “OEM-quality parts” that lead some people to believe that they are interchangeable with genuine OEM replacement parts. Some websites will even go as far as to list the OEM serial number or part number, with fine print somewhere that’s hard to find that states that parts are, in fact, not actual OEM parts.  Some sites will spend pages upon pages trying to persuade you that their aftermarket parts are just as good as the originals. They’ll tell you they get cheaper pricing because of this or that, and the quality is all the same. This isn’t the case. Aftermarket parts might be made with quality materials and manufacturing processes. Not all of them are a total rip-off. However, they aren’t the exact parts made specifically for your vehicle, so they are in no way “as good” as OEM and they will not provide as many guarantees, warranties, and other protections.  Don’t let the sharks fool you. The internet is full of websites trying to suggest that their parts are “close enough” or misleading people into thinking they are getting OEM parts when they’re getting some mass-produced part compatible with 20 different models that was not actually produced by the manufacturer.  The Bottom Line Aftermarket parts are not OEM parts.  Aftermarket parts are not “the same as” OEM parts. Aftermarket parts are also not “manufacturer quality” or “as good as OEM”.  Furthermore, reputable parts dealers that want your business will sell OEM genuine replacement parts for a variety of makes and models of vehicles, and with the selection available online, you can manage to find some great deals on genuine parts.  OEM parts offer better reliability, safety, and even energy savings. After all, when your vehicle is operating with genuine parts, it’s running at its best, which means you are maximizing engine efficiency, fuel economy, and everyday operational efficiency. What might save you some money in the beginning could end up costing you a small fortune in the long run. Whether it’s simply a too-soon replacement because the aftermarket part failed after just half the life of the OEM part, or a major engine and transmission repair caused by faulty non-manufacturer parts, it’s not worth the hassle. For all of your OEM replacement part needs, count on the team at Autofixa. With a full inventory of original manufacturer parts that are guaranteed and warrantied for your protection, we help people find and fit parts to their vehicles quickly, easily and with 100% confidence.  Remember, if it’s not genuine OEM, it’s usually not worth your time (or money).

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