If you’re driving in Alberta, chances are you’ll wear through parts quickly thanks to snow, sand, and cold. When replacing vehicle parts, you have two options: OEM or aftermarket. OEM (short for Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are made by the vehicle manufacturer specifically for your vehicle. Aftermarket parts are made by third-party producers who usually have no affiliation with the vehicle brand. To help with your next purchase, read our summary of the pros and cons of OEM vs aftermarket parts from the team at Go Auto Outlet.
The primary advantage of OEM parts is the accompanying quality guarantee. Since the part is made by the vehicle manufacturer, quality control adheres to the same standards as building a brand new vehicle. There is typically only one part option, and it is very easy to match your part number and vehicle.
OEM parts are typically bought from a dealership, where there are dedicated parts experts on-staff to provide advice and guidance. Dealership parts experts are trained by the manufacturer to provide knowledgeable advice about any of the models made by the brand who can ensure compatability. OEM parts are typically accompanied with a warranty offered by the brand, so you know the component will perform as expected or will be replaced at no added cost to you.
The primary downside to purchasing OEM components is cost. Branded parts can cost exponentially more than aftermarket parts, so it’s worth considering the cost-benefit trade-off. It may be well worth it to opt for less expensive parts when shopping for less-integral purchases, such as washer fluid, air filters, or floor mats, to name a few.
As mentioned above, purchasing aftermarket parts can lead to significant cost savings. Especially for popular vehicle models, where there are a vast number of third-party producers producing components that range in quality. This means that you have greater selection when purchasing aftermarket parts. While some third-party producers offer components designed to just get the job done economically, other producers may offer products with upgrades, better aesthetics, and other unique benefits. This allows you to choose the component that is best suited for your vehicle, driving habits, and personal style. Aftermarket parts may even be better quality that the OEM option, although warranties and guarantees will be different, dependant upon each producer.
OEM parts are typically produced all at once during the model’s production years, meaning there is a finite number of each part. On the other hand, aftermarket producers are free to continue producing as long as they see fit, which usually results in better long-term product availability.
However, when purchasing aftermarket parts, it is more difficult to ensure compatibility with your vehicle. Compared to the single solution that OEM parts provide, aftermarket parts are typically made to fit a range of makes and models, meaning there’s a sea of part numbers to navigate. Unless you’re purchasing through a full-service medium, you won’t have access to the expert advice offered at dealerships. So think carefully about whether you value an easy, single solution, or a custom product and more involved process.
In short, choosing OEM offers a guaranteed product and full-service experience, but you must be prepared to pay for it. Alternatively, you can choose aftermarket components for a broader choice to meet your cost, quality, and benefit standards. If you still can’t decide, just stop by Go Auto Outlet’s Leduc Wash N’ Go near the Edmonton International Airport, and one of our service technicians can do the thinking for you.