The average cost of a new car in 2019 ranged from $21,000 to $40,000.
With costs that high, it can be frightening to hear the words "repair" or "replacement" when it comes to your vehicle.
Then the topic of OEM vs Aftermarket comes up. What are they? What do they mean, and is one better than the other?
You can find answers to all of these questions below. Read on to make sure your investment is well-placed and your vehicle is in good hands.
OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer (in this case, the original manufacturer of the vehicle).
OEM parts are primarily available through specialized dealerships and repair shops because of the required quality control standards they are held to.
Dealerships vending OEM parts can only do so if they have obtained OEM Certification from the automakers, which is not an easy task. So if you see that certification, you can be assured of the quality level.
These parts work in the same fashion for the same vehicles as the OEM parts but are not manufactured by the OEM company.
Aftermarket parts have been more accessible, overall, to hobbyists because of their availability at most standard automotive stores.
There is the appeal of customization and change that comes with aftermarket parts. When drivers are looking to push beyond the OEM (stock), they turn to the aftermarket parts.
OEM vs Aftermarket: Is There a Clear Winner?
The result comes down to your comfort level with automobiles and your interest in the vehicle. Both OEM and aftermarket parts have their pros and cons, and each relates heavily to the person using them.
An OEM part is incredibly easy to pick out. You have a particular vehicle, the particular maker, and the part needed. When you have all the proper information, you ask for the part. There's nothing else to worry about.
Because it is from the original manufacturer and made to specifications under quality control, you know the brand and you know it will work with what you have.
Another huge advantage of OEM parts is the warranty that any part comes with. The general rule with OEM parts is that there is a year warranty with your purchase.
On top of that, most mechanics or body shops will be much more likely to offer a stronger warranty on work related to OEM parts than work on aftermarket parts.
With the brand name comes brand name price. Most OEM parts can cost up to 60% more than aftermarket parts, depending on what part it is. Dealerships are known to mark up prices even further to maximize profits.
The level of convenience is very low. You have specific venders that you have to buy OEM parts from. If you ask for parts at a body shop or independent shop, it will take a relatively long time.
So your choice is limited to the dealerships and the manufacturers themselves.
Like many brand name things, you are paying for the name. This is not to say that the OEM parts are of poor quality. However, not all of them are of higher quality than their aftermarket equivalents.
The first thing that everyone will recognize is the price, and that is a huge benefit when it comes to aftermarket parts buying. Though with flexible pricing, it may take a little longer due to the option to shop around.
However, the price isn’t going to necessarily be the price no matter where you go.
Using aftermarket parts will help you get repair and modification work done much quicker because the parts are much more readily available and more easily sourced if they are not in the shop.
Popular products for aftermarket purchases are wheels and rims. Individuals doing modifications and specializations are wanting to get beyond what the original part provides.
Right along wheels and rims are specialized brake discs and brake pads. These aftermarket brakes help ease the problem that many stock brake setups have: the build-up of heat. They dissipate heat more easily, putting less strain on the system.
In conclusion, the wide choice of aftermarket products allows for ease of customization.
The huge selection can work as a disadvantage as well if you are not very familiar with automotive work. Things can potentially go awry if you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information you have to take in.
Because there are so many makers, you can not always be assured that the part is of quality.
Also, more often than not, aftermarket parts will lack the warranties that come with OEM parts.
When You Should Go OEM vs Aftermarket
When it comes to the various collision or crumple zones being repaired and/or replaced, you should probably go with OEM parts.
Also, consider your plans. Do you intend to sell your car or trade it in? Depending on the amount of modifications or the type of modifications that you make, aftermarket parts can sometimes lower the blue book value of your vehicle, so make sure you do your research.
Many insurance companies on the other hand will favor aftermarket parts when doing repairs, due to the cost of service and the payout.
There is also a possibility of being charged additional fees for OEM part requests, so it is wise to read up on that information with your auto insurance provider.
OEM vs Aftermarket at the Finish Line
Now you can see that in the battle of OEM vs aftermarket, much of the decision comes down to personal intention and familiarity with automobiles. Each type of product has benefits and drawbacks. There is no clear-cut winner.
However, if you are comfortable with your vehicle and understand all the moving parts and specifications, it is in your best interest both for your vehicle and pocket to shop for aftermarket parts.
Having quality parts is one big piece of the game, but UroTuning has another piece for you. You have to make sure you keep all of those parts in great working condition as well. Check out our maintenance routine for your vehicle, which you can do all on your own!