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Hot rodding and car modification is a sort of American pastime. It got its start as early as the 1920s in Los Angeles and continues to evolve with time.

Of course, modding isn't a uniquely American phenomenon. Drivers from all over the world seek to squeeze just a little more performance out of their beloved cars.

As a BMW driver, you know a thing or two about performance. Your car is among the most agile on the road, and you know it's due to high-quality BMW performance parts.

However, you may not know the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts. Here is everything you need to know about this important distinction and how it can affect you when you need BMW replacement parts.

What's the Difference?

"OEM" stands for "original equipment manufacturer." In the automotive world, OEM parts are new parts built by your car's maker. They're identical to the parts with which your car first rolled off the assembly line.

Aftermarket parts aren't designed by your car's manufacturer. Instead, they're made by a third party with the hope of replicating or improving on OEM parts.

Aftermarket parts can't always be designed with the exact specifications of an original part, but they are usually very similar.

Which Should You Choose?

Whether you should opt for OEM parts or aftermarket parts depends entirely on your personal preference. There are distinct pros and cons to both options.

Advantages of Aftermarket Parts

If your goal is to improve your car's performance, aftermarket parts are the way to go. Many aftermarket car parts, like turbochargers and exhaust systems, can offer substantial performance upgrades.

They can also be used to enhance your vehicle's appearance. Things like side skirts and hood scoops may only offer negligible performance gains, but they make your car unique.

There's also a wide variety of aftermarket parts to choose from. Shopping around for aftermarket parts can save you money.

Advantages of OEM Parts

Since OEM parts are made specifically for your car, you can always trust they'll be a perfect match. There's no guesswork when it comes to their quality and reliability. 

It's easy to choose an OEM part, as you'll likely only have one option. In some cases, they may even come with a warranty.

Disadvantages of Aftermarket Parts

While there are plenty of reasons to choose aftermarket parts, they do come with some downsides.

Aftermarket parts are not designed specifically for your car's model, so they may not be a perfect match for your car.

Also, the quality of aftermarket parts can vary. Some are just as good or even better than OEM parts, but you'll need to do your research or consult a trustworthy mechanic to be sure.

Disadvantages of OEM Parts

OEM parts come with their own small list of disadvantages. 

Most OEM parts are more expensive than comparable aftermarket parts. Also, supply is limited due to their manufacturing specifications.

They're also harder to find, as you can only purchase them from a dealership or a licensed shop.

Where to Find BMW Performance Parts

Now that you know the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts, you can shop with confidence.

If reliability is your concern, you may want an OEM part. However, if you're looking to improve your car's performance, aftermarket parts are for you.

Browse our  catalog of OEM and aftermarket car parts. We carry parts for many European models, including BMW performance parts.


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