Aftermarket vs Genuine Car Parts: What’s The Difference?

By CarsFellow 5 Min Read

Aftermarket vs Genuine Car Parts

When you take your car in for repairs, you have a choice between using either genuine OEM parts or aftermarket parts. If you take your car to the official dealership, you’ll get OEM parts as standard, but at an independent garage, things are less clear.

So what is the difference and which are you best off using? We’re here to clear things up for you!

What are OEM car parts?

Genuine OEM car parts are made by the manufacturer of your vehicle and are made to match the parts your car had when it was first made. This makes it very easy to choose your part, and you know that they will be of excellent quality.

Additionally, OEM parts tend to come with a warranty, usually for a year, and having your car repaired at the dealership tends to mean they will also guarantee the labour.

While they are usually more expensive, the gap in pricing between OEM and aftermarket parts has been closing in recent years, and some may argue that OEM parts are better value in the long run anyway.

Due to the fact that OEM parts are made to fit the car specifically, and often of higher quality, they tend to cause fewer problems and last longer.

If you are repairing collision damage, it is advisable to only use OEM parts. This is because aftermarket body panels may not quite fit correctly, or have the necessary crumple zones to ensure safety. It’s also important that your car is able to calibrate the airbags correctly or they may not deploy when needed.

Many people think you need to go to your dealership if you want OEM parts, but there are retailers of genuine car parts such as VW Car Parts out there, and your independent garage should be able to order them in for you as well. This is handy for people who want to save on labour costs.

What are aftermarket parts?

An aftermarket part is essentially just any part not made by the official manufacturer of your car. Sometimes they are designed to function the same or better than the original part.

The difficulty with aftermarket parts is that if you are not familiar with the many different manufacturers out there it is easy to accidentally end up with a poor quality part. Some people consider aftermarket parts to be a dangerous choice, and you can read why in this post.

Sometimes, however, aftermarket parts can be the same or better quality than OEM. Aftermarket companies may reverse engineer a part to overcome any weaknesses.

There is also a lot of variety which can either be a good or a bad thing depending on how much experience you have with car parts, as you could be overwhelmed with choice and end up with a bad quality part. It is usually best to check with your mechanic.

You also run the risk of voiding your warranty if you use aftermarket car parts, which is particularly worth noting if you lease your vehicle. Insurance companies will sometimes insist you use aftermarket parts to keep their costs down, so it’s always worth double checking if you are having work done on insurance.

In conclusion, you can save money if you know what you are doing when it comes to aftermarket parts, but as all OEM parts are created equal, for those who want peace of mind and guaranteed performance, opting for genuine parts is usually the best course of action.

Featured Image by Pexels

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