From front to back, your car is a modern marvel filled with hundreds of parts working together in perfect harmony. The quality of those parts play a big role in its performance. Car manufacturers spend much time selecting the right parts for each model they produce.
When you need to replace any of the parts on your vehicle, remember that quality matters. You know that choosing quality car parts is the right move, but can you spot premium auto parts? Take our quiz to see how much you know about quality auto parts.
I’m looking at universal joints on eBay and some ship from distant countries overseas. Could these be inferior parts?
Yes - When shopping online, pay attention to where the part is shipping from. Be wary of parts that ship from distant countries, as these have the potential for being of inferior quality.
While shopping for brake pads, I saw some that are much cheaper than the name brand pads. Could these be lesser quality pads?
Yes - Auto parts that are priced well below other options should trigger a red flag in your mind. Don’t let price be the deciding factor when choosing auto parts; you may end up paying for it in the long run with compromised safety and additional repairs. Most times you really do get what you pay for; if a price is too good to be true, then it likely is.
The packaging that my part came in looks a little off – the colors and logos aren’t quite right. Could these be cheap parts?
Yes – Look carefully at the box that the part came in. Premium parts are easily recognizable with logos and the brand name prominently displayed. Many times, inferior parts have the brand name misspelled and use logos that are close to but not exactly like the brand name.
Are lesser quality auto parts put through rigorous testing?
No – Auto parts manufacturers spend countless hours putting each part through a series of rigorous tests to ensure quality. Cheaper quality parts aren’t subject to the same extensive testing. This means you can’t be sure of how the part will perform in your vehicle.
If an auto part is inferior, could the specs be different from the name brand?
Yes – While the manufacturers of lesser quality parts go to great lengths to make sure that their parts look like the name brand auto part, there are often key differences in materials and quality. The metal used might be a lesser quality or it might not be rated to handle the same stress as the name brand part. These differences can lead to an inferior part.
Are all differences between auto parts visible?
No – You can’t rely solely on a visual inspection to be assured that you are purchasing a premium auto part; auto parts can be different in ways not perceptible by the naked eye. While you can see if a cheaper part is made of plastic but the name brand is made of metal, if both are made of metal it is hard to tell if it’s the same quality of metal.
When shopping for auto parts, is it better to deal with brands and retailers that you are familiar with?
Yes – Buying a brand that you trust from a retailer that you trust goes a long way toward ensuring that the part will perform up to OEM standards, so seek out brands that are committed to delivering quality. You need to trust that the manufacturer is producing a top-performing part using high-quality materials.
I suspect that the gasket that I just bought might not be a premium auto part. Should I return the part?
Yes – If you believe that you have been sold an inferior gasket or any other auto part, start by returning it to the merchant you bought it from. Then be sure to replace that part with a premium auto part from a brand and retailer that you implicitly trust.
If the part number isn’t given, could that be a clue to the part’s quality?
Yes – Many times a lesser quality part won’t list the part number – either on the part packaging or in the online listing. Manufacturers of premium quality parts want you to know the part number; they want you to feel confident that you are purchasing the correct part for your vehicle.
Should I be concerned about inferior auto parts?
Yes – Economy auto parts usually aren’t built to original equipment specifications, which can lead to many different issues. Not only can the part fail, but it could also lead to further mechanical breakdowns and system problems. Inferior auto parts typically wear out sooner than genuine parts, making for more frequent repairs.
Lesser quality car parts can also be a safety concern. Many times, cheap parts don’t comply with federal regulations, risking your safety and the safety of your passengers. Give yourself the peace of mind that comes with using quality auto parts. With every repair, use premium parts.
The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.