After months or even years of saving, budgeting, picking and choosing, it’s finally here- your car, and you have had the best time driving it. Now that the parts need replacement you have a decision to make- OEM vs Aftermarket parts. What parts should you choose? What is the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts? This article is here to make your decision easy by answering your questions.
What OEM means
OEM, short for Original Equipment Manufacturer, refers to an automotive part manufactured by the company which made the original part used in fitting the automobile during its assembly. The term is also used in various other ways, but this meaning holds good in the context of car parts. OEM is also referred to colloquially as ‘genuine parts’ or ‘original parts’. OEM parts may or may not be manufactured by the same company that manufactured the automobile.
If you take your car or automobile to a local repair shop that is not company-owned, there is a high likelihood that they won’t fit your vehicle with OEM parts.
Why should you choose OEM parts?
How can you make an informed and an empowered decision whether to get OEM parts for your vehicle? Well, we can help make this decision by highlighting the pros and cons of OEM parts.
Pros of OEM parts
- As OEM parts are designed and produced by the same manufacturer that fitted the vehicle, you don’t have to worry about sizing issues or compatibility with your automobile.
- OEM parts are of an assured, predetermined quality as they have to work with the models of the automobile manufacturer.
- Warranties and guarantees are often still intact if you fit your vehicle with the OEM parts. Using aftermarket parts in your automobile may render your warranty null and void, or impact your warranty cover.
- Owing to the precision and specification of OEM parts, they offer better safety, higher performance and longer lifespan.
- It is easier to access support and troubleshoot problems in your vehicle when you use OEM parts.
It is quite apparent that OEM parts have a plethora of advantages. But it’s not all a jolly ride. Original Equipment Manufacturer parts also have their set of drawbacks, that may impact your purchasing decision.
Cons of OEM parts
- The first and foremost con of OEM parts is that they tend to cost more. OEMs charge not just for the quality of their product but also their marketing, branding, shipping, and promotion.
- OEM parts are subject to availability from the manufacturer and are therefore not always in stock. This may delay the repair or the fitting and assembly of your automobile, causing hindrances.
- Following in the footsteps of many other companies many OEM parts are just rebranded aftermarket parts; sports companies like Nike do this with their sports equipment; this is not a new practice.
If OEM parts do not sit well with you, or if you’re simply curious about the alternative to OEM parts, then the next section about Aftermarket parts is for you.
What Aftermarket means
Aftermarket parts are spare parts, accessories, and components made for motor vehicles to fit a wide variety of vehicles. Many reputable companies also manufacture aftermarket parts to provide more options. As these are not produced for a particular automobile, they are comparatively less costly. Despite many aftermarket parts manufacturers trying to match OEM quality, there is still a notable difference in cost, quality, and availability. Among aftermarket parts as well, there are better products and not-so-great products.
Although aftermarket parts usually get a bad rap for not being durable, these days, many aftermarket parts manufacturing companies also make decent quality parts.
Why should you choose Aftermarket parts?
Irrespective of their reputation, aftermarket parts have their benefits as well. Are aftermarket parts the correct alternative for your vehicle? Get the answer to this question by looking at the pros and cons of aftermarket parts.
Pros of Aftermarket parts
- Aftermarket parts are generally easier on the pockets than OEM parts are, although the price difference varies brand-to-brand among brands and OEM vs aftermarket parts.
- Aftermarket parts are ubiquitous and can serve as excellent alternatives to OEM in times of emergency. As aftermarket parts are not just manufactured by one brand, they are easily accessible and more widespread than their OEM counterparts.
- Adding to the previous pro, aftermarket parts come in a wide variety of prices, quality, and compatibility, and thus appeal to a wider audience.
- In some cases, aftermarket parts can be on par with, or even better than OEM parts as the production quality is often inconsistent. You may end up purchasing a great component at quite a lower price.
After looking at some of the benefits of aftermarket parts, it’s time for their cons. Some of the cons are well-known but reiterated for your benefit, and some to add to your pre-existing knowledge.
Cons of Aftermarket parts
- Using aftermarket parts to fit your car may invalidate your warranty- leading you to lose more money than you saved opting for the cheaper choice.
- Aftermarket parts are produced inconsistently, and thus may be of poor quality.
- Bad quality aftermarket parts may significantly affect the driving/riding experience, and may also pose a safety risk. As they aren’t subject to the same rigorous testing procedures as OEM parts, in worst-case scenarios, they may endanger your life.
- In case of an accident, it would be difficult to press charges on the manufacturers of aftermarket parts.
- The range of options may also be a con to some people as it makes it difficult to make a purchasing decision.
Now that we have laid the facts down for you, the difference between OEM and Aftermarket parts is clear. Different customers might have a different take on the OEM or Aftermarket debate, as it is a personal choice.
For your convenience, let’s draw the differences between OEM and Aftermarket
Original Equipment Manufacturer
1. Generally higher in price
1. Generally lower in price
2. Generally better in quality
2. Of varying quality, generally lower quality
3. Produced with consistent quality
3. Produced with inconsistent quality
4. May not be readily available
4. Quite readily available
5. Undergo several quality tests to assure safety
5. Usually do not undergo many quality tests, if any.
6. Using these does not invalidate your warranty.
6. Using these may invalidate your warranty.
We have laid down the differences between OEM and Aftermarket parts. At the end of the day, the purchasing decision lies with you, the consumer. In our expert opinion, we recommend using authentic and genuine automobile parts to ensure the safety, performance, and longevity of your automobile and you. Regardless, both OEM and Aftermarket parts have their advantages and disadvantages, and through experience and knowledge, you can make the best choice. Also read car interior parts names.