When your car inevitably needs to go in for repairs, do you take it to the dealership’s service department?
If so, you know that you’ll be getting genuine original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts for your vehicle.
On the other hand, if you choose to opt for a local, independent garage, you’ll more likely be receiving aftermarket car parts, so what’s the difference, and which is better?
Aftermarket parts are certainly cheaper, but we’re going to take a look at whether it’s worth compromising on quality to make a couple of savings.
Table of Contents
Aftermarket parts are those which have not been sourced directly from the car’s manufacturer but are designed to function similarly.
They’re usually cheaper, and exactly how much you can save will depend on which brand and garage you opt for.
If you shop around, you can bag yourself some good deals, but at this point, you have to ask yourself some questions about the quality of the parts you are buying.
Like with most things, you get what you pay for with vehicle parts, so if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is!
The reason that many aftermarket parts are so cheap is because they use inferior materials to keep their costs down, and many are sold without a warranty, so you are taking a bit of a risk.
Aftermarket parts can actually turn out to be really dangerous, as you can see in this post from Your Mechanic.
There’s also definitely a lot more variety when it comes to aftermarket parts, as there are multiple brands producing the same part.
Even something as simple as a spark plug will have many different variations and this can either be a help or a hindrance.
On the one hand, it’s great to have a lot of choice, but if you don’t know your stuff when it comes to cars, it can all be a little overwhelming and you don’t know which part to choose.
Finally, making certain modifications to your car (including aftermarket parts) can void the vehicle’s warranty, as you can see in this piece from Consumer Reports.
On the other hand, genuine parts (or OEM parts) are exact replicas of the parts that came with your vehicle when it rolled off the production line.
This means that there is only one genuine part for your car, removing the element of choice that you get with aftermarket, but also making your buying decision a lot easier!
This also means that you’ll have much greater peace of mind that your parts are going to work exactly as the original did, as they’re a perfect like for like replacement.
And to make you feel even more assured in the reliability and quality of the piece, genuine car parts will usually come with a warranty of at least one year.
While it is true that genuine parts are often more expensive, they might not be as pricey as you’d think, as dealers try to compete with the much cheaper independent garages.
We spoke a genuine Honda parts dealer, Cox Motor Parts, who told us: “Like with most other things, you get what you pay for when it comes to car parts and it’s not worth taking the risk with aftermarket parts.
“While they’re not necessarily all of inferior quality, aftermarket parts are usually able to be sold at such cheap prices because they’re made with inferior materials compared to OEM parts.”