Improving Your Car

OEM Or Aftermarket Parts? Questions To Ask Yourself

In order to get a good price on a used vehicle, some people buy cars that require a few replacement parts. If you need to update some parts before your car is safe to drive, you may be wondering if you should get Original Equipment Manufacturers parts (OEMs) or aftermarket parts. Both of these parts have their pros and cons, so you'll want to ask yourself some questions to see which option would benefit you the most.

Do You Want Warranty-Specific Part?

OEM parts are the way to go if you want a warranty-specific part. Because OEMs have complex assembly productions and labor/distribution methods, there is an inherent amount of risk for defects, which dealers or distributors are happy to cover. These warranties often last about a year.

Furthermore, if there is an auto recall, a dealership will be more likely to cover the cost of replacement if you opt for an OEM. According to, USA Today 2015 had a record high for auto recalls, so if you bought a used vehicle, you'll want to see if your car has defective parts that need OEM replacements. For instance, if you bought a 2010 Saab, you'd want to take a look at GM's recall website and enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) to see if you needed to get OEM Saab parts for replacement.

Do You Have Time to Research and Haggle?

If you are pretty familiar with the specs of your car and the average cost of parts, then you may want to take your time and research aftermarket parts. Aftermarket parts are pumped out at a high volume to fit all sorts of makes and models, so they are sold by all sorts of vendors. You don't have to go to a physical scrapyard, as many e-commerce vendors have parts that can be bid on or bought for a flat fee. But because there are so many different aftermarket brands, you could be dealing with dozens of choices for just one part, making it hard if you aren't mechanically-minded. If you don't have time to research your options or haggle different prices, stick with OEM parts.

Are You Trying to Restore a Car?

If you are in the business of restoring a car or selling it to a car enthusiast, you need to use OEM parts—especially parts that affect the bodywork. While aftermarket parts get the job done and are functional, they will not completely match the rest of the vehicle since they are essentially a one-size-fits-all component. If you don't care about uniformity, just function then aftermarket parts can work for your situation.

Do You Want to Save Money?

Both OEM parts and aftermarket parts can save you money; you just need to choose the most appropriate route. Again, if you are very familiar with the auto part market, then you could really save money weeding through different vendors. Aftermarket parts can also save you money since they are often covered by most insurance policies. If you want to have your OEM parts covered, you may need to contact an insurance agent to help you find a specific policy.

If you aren't familiar with auto parts or aren't worried about insurance coverage, it's best to go with OEM parts. You can save money by getting the parts at the dealership that you bought the used car at. They may shave off some of the cost for your loyalty; plus, you may save money in the long run since these parts often have warranty/recall protection.

Contact a local dealership for more pros and cons on OEM parts and aftermarket parts.