Education and Safety

Aftermarket vs. OEM: What's The Difference?

Not all auto parts are created equal

Many people don't realize the array of auto parts that are available to them until they find themselves inconvenienced by the need for a vehicle repair. When it comes to auto parts, you need the highest quality part available to return your faithful vehicle to top condition because part quality can vary greatly. With today's busy schedules, it is important to your family's safety to use parts that will solve the problem and last a long time. Buying the best part is vital to returning your vehicle to top-notch condition.

When faced with a vehicle repair, you are almost immediately faced with a decision regarding which of the many available parts you should purchase: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts or Aftermarket parts. Let's take a closer look at what each of these terms mean.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are made by the vehicle's manufacturer, whereas aftermarket parts are often produced by a different company than the vehicle manufacturer.

At first glance, it sounds very simple, but it gets more complicated on further inspection. The manufacturers that make vehicles today very often don't make many of the parts they use to assemble their vehicles.

Car makers buy many parts from a large network of vehicle component manufacturers who design and make car parts to meet the specifications of the car companies. This confuses our definitions above, since OEM parts, which most of us think are made by the car maker may, in fact, be made by a component manufacturer. The OEM parts may or may not be sold in packaging having the car maker's brand name and logo.

Aftermarket parts are a little simpler to explain.

The overall quality of aftermarket parts has improved dramatically in the past decade or so, and continues to improve.

According to Edmunds, the quality of today's aftermarket parts may be as good as, or better than, OEM parts. Focus groups found that branded aftermarket parts offer consistent quality and performance, but that generic aftermarket parts without a known brand name were very unpopular with professional auto technicians due to their unpredictable quality.

Regardless of the age of your vehicle, research the available aftermarket brands before making your decision.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.

Share