When something goes wrong with your car, a visit to the garage can be an expensive trip. Car parts are costly. If several things need to be replaced to get your vehicle back on the road, the cost can seem almost as high as when you purchased your car. In an effort to keep costs down, some repair locations will use aftermarket parts rather than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Before attempting to save money using aftermarket parts, there are some facts you need to know.
Original Car Parts vs Aftermarket
When you bring your car in for repairs at the dealership, you are more than likely to have original equipment manufacturer car parts installed in the vehicle. However, if you take your car to an independent auto body shop, they will use aftermarket parts for your vehicle. Like any car owner, you want to save some money on your repair bills. There are some benefits to selecting aftermarket parts for your car. In certain situations, you should add OEM parts to your vehicle. If you want to make an informed decision, you need to know the pros and cons of these specific parts. With this information, you can find a balance between quality and cost.
What Does Aftermarket Mean?
An aftermarket part is any part for a vehicle that was not sourced from the car’s original maker. Car manufacturers often contract with specific companies to build certain parts for your vehicle. In most cases, these aftermarket parts are produced in separate factories, and the companies often provide better quality components than the original products. These aftermarket parts are chosen because they provide the best fit for your vehicle. In addition to that, these parts have the same specifications that the manufacturer requires for their cars. If you use these direct replacement parts, they will not void your car’s warranty. It is estimated that about 80 percent of independent body repair shops will use aftermarket components. The other bright spot is that aftermarket parts are often less expensive than OEM products. For that reason, many repair businesses choose to use them for vehicle repairs.
Benefits of Aftermarket Parts
Aftermarket parts do have some benefits. Of course, the most obvious advantage is that they are less expensive than OEM products. In some cases, they may be significantly cheaper. However, the price will depend on the specific part or brand. Since the original part must come from the vehicle’s manufacturer, there are also more versions of aftermarket parts than OEM components. You can always shop around for the best price. If you want to be a savvy shopper, you might want to avoid those extremely low-priced parts. In some cases, the prices are too good to be true, and you should question the quality of those components.
Aftermarket parts often have an equal or greater quality than OEM products. In many cases, your repaired vehicle may have better parts than those original components. The manufacturers of aftermarket parts reverse-engineer these products, and they will work out any weaknesses of the parts. If you want to strike a balance between durability, noise level, cost, and performance, you might want to choose an aftermarket part. When you purchase an aftermarket part, you can find a product that provides you with all those qualities.
Along with that, you have a wide variety of choices with aftermarket parts. Some manufacturers specialize in specific parts, such as brake pads or spark plugs. You can also find many aftermarket companies that manufacture a wide selection of components for your car. In turn, you have a greater selection and a broader range of prices for your vehicle’s repair needs.
Finally, there is better availability with aftermarket parts. For the most part, you can walk into any gas station, local mechanic shop, or auto parts store and find a part that will fit your vehicle. If you need a specific part, it is readily available to install or repair that day. When you need an OEM product, you might have to wait a few days when you special order the part. If your vehicle is older, it may be challenging to find the correct OEM part you need. In that case, you will have to rely on aftermarket parts.
Some Concerns for Aftermarket Parts
As you can tell, there are plenty of benefits for aftermarket parts. However, a few things should be taken into consideration. Since many different manufacturers build the parts, the quality can vary. Some aftermarket parts are considered inferior because they use low-quality materials. You want to choose aftermarket brands that are known for their quality. If you are worried about choosing the right part, make sure to ask your trusted auto body shop for some recommendations.
With aftermarket parts, there is a large selection of products. However, with all these choices, the selection process can be overwhelming for many people. You might even run into the chance of purchasing a bad quality part for your vehicle. Several companies can manufacture a simple spark plug, but they are designed with numerous variations. If you are confused by these choices, make sure to consult your mechanic for advice.
Finally, while many aftermarket parts will not void your vehicle’s warranty, these parts might not have a guarantee attached to them. Some manufacturers sell aftermarket parts without a warranty. However, this is not always the norm for manufacturers. Many of these companies often have some type of warranty for their parts.
What Are OEM Parts?
Original equipment manufacturer parts are made directly by the original car manufacturer and not a third party. The manufacturers design these parts to fit the car’s particular make and model specifications. In many cases, these parts roll off the same assembly line as your vehicle. These parts will be a perfect match for your car. If you take your vehicle to a dealership, the repair department will use these products.
Benefits of OEM Parts
One of the most significant benefits of OEM products is quality. Quality can suffer from a larger selection of replacement parts. However, these original equipment manufacturer parts work precisely like the ones you are replacing. You will have some peace of mind with the replacement part’s performance. Aftermarket parts are often low quality, and there can be issues with their fit. In turn, those issues can cause additional problems in the future. You might have to spend more money on additional replacement parts over time.
These original parts make it easier to choose the right product for your car. You never have to worry about selecting the correct part for the vehicle. Finally, most automakers will back up their parts with a limited warranty. Original manufacturer parts also stand by any labor associated with their products.
Certain Issues To Avoid
Like aftermarket parts, there are some issues with these replacement parts. OEM products do have a higher price tag than their aftermarket counterparts. You also need to purchase these parts directly from the dealership. In turn, this can limit the places where you can buy these products. If you request these parts from a local auto body shop, it may take longer to get your vehicle repaired.
In some cases, these parts might not be superior to those aftermarket components. Aftermarket products have worked out any problems, and their quality is often better than these original equipment manufacturer parts. You might be paying extra for the name on the box.
What Should You Choose?
If you want a part that is guaranteed to fit your car, you need to choose an OEM product. Not all aftermarket parts are created equal, but you can count on the original equipment manufacturer’s precise fit. However, this does have some advantages and disadvantages. Aftermarket parts save you some money on your repairs, especially if you know what parts you need and trust their quality. If you are not familiar with these aftermarket brands, you may want to stick to those original products. Some people do not mind paying for that extra peace of mind.
Find an Auto Body Shop Near Me
When it comes to replacing parts in your vehicle, OEM components are usually the best option. At Elmer’s Auto Body, we try to use OEM products whenever possible to complete your vehicle’s repairs. If you are having problems with your car, schedule an appointment today by giving the office a call at (856) 218-0202.