From time to time our customers at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe will ask if we use aftermarket or original equipment manufacturer parts. The answer is that we use both because there are advantages and disadvantages, pluses and minuses to each. Here’s our reasoning:
An aftermarket part is any part for a vehicle that is not sourced from the car’s maker. If the parts are direct replacement parts, they won’t affect your car’s warranty. A number of companies make parts designed to function the same, or in some cases even better than the original.
Aftermarket parts are typically less expensive, how much you save varies by brand. We shop around to find the best price and warranty. OEM parts usually have a 12-month 12,000 mile warranty while many aftermarket parts come with a lifetime warranty. In many cases quality can be equal to or greater than OEM. 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 (some brake pads squeak even though they are stopping the car effectively), an aftermarket pad may be your best choice.
There are hundreds of companies that make aftermarket parts. Some specialize in specific parts, and other companies, like your corner parts store, have sources for almost any part you can think of. More variety means greater selection and a wider range of prices.
Out of all the parts suppliers in town, at least one is bound to have a part that fits the car we’re working on. This gives us more options on where to get repair parts. Very often the OEM part is no longer available or needs to be special ordered and that leads to delays.
On the downside, quality varies greatly. Over the years we’ve learned to sort out the bad apples and know where to source high quality parts. Even a part as simple as a spark plug can be made by dozens of different companies and comes in numerous variations. The saying “you get what you pay for” rings true here. Some aftermarket parts are inferior because of the use of lower-quality materials. We stick with aftermarket brands we’re familiar with, even if these parts cost a bit more.
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. If you go to the parts counter at 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. The OEM part should work exactly as the one we are replacing. It is what the vehicle was manufactured with and provides peace of mind in its familiarity and performance.
OEM parts will usually cost more than an aftermarket part. That being said, dealers are now trying to compete with aftermarket part suppliers and the prices on some parts are coming down.
We purchase most of our OEM parts from a dealership. The dealerships often take longer to deliver parts than the aftermarket suppliers. You can request OEM parts, but it may take longer to get your vehicle repaired.
You pay the extra money for an OEM part, hoping that it’s better than an aftermarket part. But that may not always be the case. As mentioned earlier, some aftermarket parts are equal to or in some cases better than OEM parts. So you might be paying extra just for the name.
When Should You Request OEM Parts?
When it comes to collision repairs, make sure you are getting OEM parts, since aftermarket body panels may not fit properly or have proper crumple zones for crash safety.
Hope this helps! From your local mechanic, All Tune & Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete auto repair and maintenance.