OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer - Parts that are made by and manufacturer
Aftermarket Parts - Parts that are made by anyone other than the manufacturer
After years of putting it off, it is now time for you to make some repairs to your old truck. Or, after a brutal East Coast winter, you’ve started to notice that your fender is showing signs of rust. Or, my personal favorite and one I hear the most in my line of work, your “son/daughter” took the car out and got into a fender bender… who you trying to fool? Whatever the reason might be, when the time comes, you generally have two options. You can either take it into the dealership and have it worked on by their mechanics, or you can take it to an independent shop. There is also a third option, and one that I have personally seen growing over the years, but I will get to that later.
Often, but not always, when you bring your car to a dealership they will use OEM parts in order to repair your car, but not always! I made sure to put in the caveat “but not always” into that first statement because in my time of working here at Performance1.com, I have received many calls from dealerships such as Ford, Honda and GMC, asking to purchase parts. The reasons often being that the customer is not willing to pay the exorbitant prices for an OEM part, and so an aftermarket part is the solution.
This is not to say that independent shops aren’t capable of using OEM parts, in fact, many independent shops do provide that as an option, but as I’ve already stated, the price goes up quite considerably with that option. Instead what they will often do is offer you an aftermarket part.
Now I’m not going to go into an extensive list of the pros or cons of using aftermarket parts, as there are a number of these all over internet. Instead, I will strictly talk about why I use aftermarket parts!
Now I chose to start with the quality, because starting with how they’re cheaper is just too obvious! The quality on aftermarket parts can range quite a bit! This is where I do a little bit of research. I look into customer reviews of products, ask about warranties, and fitment. I do the research and find out what is the best product for the price point I am looking for. Often what you can find is that an aftermarket part can be equal or even greater than an OEM part. At Performance1.com, all of our parts come with a warranty of at least a year and all of our certified parts come with a lifetime warranty on them. This protects me against rare fitment issues I might face with my bumper, rusting of a hood, or chrome peeling off my face bar. Knowing that the quality is there and backed by a warranty gives me the peace of mind about aftermarket parts that is equal to that of an OEM part.
1) They are cheaper!
Now I’m not saying cheaper is always better, because often time it isn’t, but what I am saying is… It’s cheaper!!! Couple this with my first point about quality, and I feel that this becomes a slam dunk! OEM parts can be up to 70% more expensive than an aftermarket equivalent! I’m an average guy and I drive an average car (an old Acura TL) and to me it’s meant to get me from point A to point B and back again. I take my car in for regular oil changes and checkups when it’s required, but besides that, I don’t put very much money into my car as I’d rather have that money to spend on other things, that I enjoy…like my mortgage, hydro and electricity. I cringe every time I go to the gas station, knowing it is money that I’m putting into my car that I’m never going to get back. With that being said, whenever an unexpected expense comes up with my car, and let’s face it, it’s almost always unexpected, I want to keep that expense as low as possible. Aftermarket parts allow me to keep those expenses down.
2) Variety and availability!
The variety of aftermarket parts can be quite staggering. As someone who works in this business, I am constantly amazed at the amount of aftermarket parts available. It is a never ending sea of part. This means that I can generally order a part and have it in my hands within 4-5 business days!
This is the third option that I referred to earlier. YouTube allows me to have hundreds of “do it yourself videos” at my fingertips. It has made it so that I can install my own mirror, bumper and even taillight all on my own, without me having to go the mechanic for help. There are videos ranging from Ford F150 fender replacements, to how to change the bumper on your Honda Accord, to how to change the headlight for your Toyota 4Runner. All of these videos are easily accessible and meant for the “do it yourself mechanic”.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between OEM vs Aftermarket parts. It really comes down to what you feel most comfortable with. You need to be comfortable with the cost, quality and ease at which you can get your parts. Do a bit of research and consult with a trusted mechanic and you can be on your way to getting you and your vehicle safely on the road.