Parts is not Parts
There are two distinct options that you have when taking your vehicle in for repair: an automotive dealership or an independent mechanic. Car, truck and RV dealers will have a repair facility on site. Also available are locally owned, independent registered auto repair shops. While it may seem obvious, there are still many automobile owners that do not realize the benefits or the difference between a dealer and an independent garage.
Both repair facilities are required to be registered in the state of California and are under the authority of the Bureau of Automotive Repairs as prescribed for in the California Auto Repair Act. A dealer will use OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer parts and an Independent may use either OEM or aftermarket parts.
Auto manufactures build cars and manufacture parts that may be needed during the lifetime of the car. Aftermarket parts are generally built to the same specifications, but the quality assurance provided by vehicle manufacture is not the same. Installing aftermarket parts may void a warranty. In addition, there might not be a lifetime guarantee of the part.
There is the possibility that OEM parts, on rare occasions, may no longer be available for your car. Still, in order to maintain your car in the best shape, dealers and most independent auto mechanics will recommend OEM over an aftermarket solution. An independent mechanic may offer both options of parts along with the consequence of choosing either.
OEM vs Aftermarket Vehicle Replacement Parts
OEM – Pros
- Straightforward – OEM parts are designed, designated and deployed by the car builder.
- Control – Manufactures oversee the design, specifications and quality testing of OEM parts.
- Warranty – OEM parts often are sold with a longer warranty period.
OEM – Cons
- Cost – Costs should not be a “Con”. However, the impact and capability of dollars on hand to repair a car are real. You do get what you pay for, and sometimes we can only pay for what we can afford.
- Availability – OEM parts might require more time to get. These parts are in demand.
AFTERMARKET – Pros
- Affordability – These parts hit the market at a lower price because suppliers can work around demands placed on quality by auto manufacturers.
- Quality – Aftermarket parts can be higher quality than the standard set by the manufactures. An example is the High-Performance Market.
- Broader Choice – In some situations, there is a possibility that aftermarket parts could come with enhancements.
AFTERMARKET – Cons
- Quality Control – An automobile manufacture has a brand and status that must be preserved. Nothing sells cars less than seeing one on the side of the road. The aftermarket parts supplier understands that most people will never see their parts.
- Too Many – There might be multiple parts available. Having to make a choice could extend the time needed for the repair. A good independent mechanic should be able to help you make these choices with some efficiency.
- Warranty – In all cases of Aftermarket parts, warranties, if available, are reduced. While an OEM warranty may cover months or years, aftermarket parts are usually measured in days.
When you get down to it, there is more care and time involved in building an OEM part. OEM parts inspire confidence not only for you but for the technician installing them. If your budget can manage, choosing an OEM part over an aftermarket part is always a safe decision.
If you need to consider aftermarket because of availability or price, you can have the same confidence as when you make a purchase of an OEM part. After all, your auto repair mechanic is in the business of getting you on the road in sound and safe condition. Just be aware of the benefits and consequences with either choice.