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What is the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts?

Replacing vehicle parts is never a fun exercise, especially when the component you’re looking to replace is fairly expensive.

When deciding whether to choose between OEM and aftermarket parts, too many drivers typically go for whatever is cheapest. While this could still be the smart choice, it’s important that you understand the difference between the two prior to making your decision.

Warranty

Almost all OEM parts come with some level of warranty protection, so you won’t have to worry about paying for the same part twice if there’s still an issue.

Typically, aftermarket parts do not come with any warranty protection, and if they do, it’s very limited. This could be an issue if there is a problem with the new part, as you may end up paying more thank you originally hoped.

Quality

Truth be told, it’s entirely possible that an aftermarket part is just as effective as the OEM part but at a reduced cost. However, this is far from a guarantee, and you really won’t know for sure until it’s too late.

Since it’s tough to know what you’re buying, purchasing a lower quality part could actually cost you more in the long run, as it would have a shorter useful life and force you to find a new part once again.

Selection

With OEM parts, you can be assured that the part you’re replacing is the exact part you need, which will help to give you some peace of mind.

Cost

In many situations, the OEM part may be more expensive than the aftermarket part. However, this only takes into account the initial cost of buying the new part.  If an OEM part costs $100, but will last you three years and a manufactured part costs $70, but will last 18 months, you’re still better in the long run buying the OEM part, even if it seems more expensive.

Cost is an important factor no matter what you purchase. Just remember that cheaper isn’t always better.

Consistency

If you’re willing to pay a little extra for peace of mind, OEM parts are the way to go. You know exactly what you’re getting and won’t have to worry about the part being less expensive, but poor value.

On the other hand, while manufactured parts can end up being a good bargain, they can also be very low quality. Unfortunately, it’s also very difficult to know this beforehand.