Is an Aftermarket Car Part as Good as an OEM Car Part?

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For many people, needing to have a car part replaced is always accompanied by a difficult question: aftermarket, or OEM? OEM, which stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, are parts made and sold by the automaker of the vehicle. They’re the exact same components that are made for new vehicles from that brand, and can usually only be purchased through a dealership. Aftermarket parts, on the other hand, have been made by a third-party manufacturer. In general, you’ll get an OEM part when your vehicle is repaired through your local dealership, while you’re likely to get an aftermarket component if you have your car repaired by an independent technician, such as a mobile mechanic.

There’s a certain stigma that follows the word “aftermarket” in regards to automotive parts. Is that stigma warranted, or are aftermarket parts really a comparable alternative to OEM components?

Dispelling the aftermarket myth

There’s a common myth that aftermarket parts lack the quality of OEM parts. However, the reality is that aftermarket auto parts usually are as good of quality – and very often better quality – than their traditional counterparts.

The primary reason for this is because there are dozens of different companies that produce aftermarket parts, and competition almost always results in improved products. If you need a new muffler for your Ford Mustang, for instance, and you opt for an OEM product, it will be coming from Ford, and only from Ford. If you choose an aftermarket product, it will come from one of a number of brands that makes the component you need, who are all jockeying to provide the best option on the market. Iron sharpens iron, and that’s certainly the case with aftermarket parts. Based only on the quality of the product, aftermarket parts are a great alternative to standard OEM parts.

Other benefits of aftermarket parts

Quality isn’t the only thing that aftermarket parts have to offer. These parts also are easier to find than OEM components, and therefore are more practical and quick to come by, whether you plan on a home repair, hiring a mobile mechanic, or taking your vehicle to a shop. Since so many different companies produce aftermarket parts, you or your mechanic will likely be able to get the exact part you need relatively quickly.

Aftermarket parts are almost always significantly cheaper than their OEM counterparts. Part of this is because they don’t come with an overpriced dealer markup tag, but it’s mainly for the same reason that aftermarket parts are high quality: business competition helps control the cost so that consumers have desirable options.

Finally, aftermarket parts feature greater variety than OEM parts. Thanks to the numerous manufacturers producing aftermarket parts, vehicle owners and mechanics can choose from a variety of options, to find the price, features, and strengths that are most desirable for the car and the owner. With OEM parts, you’re likely to only find a single, stock option.

Are there downsides to aftermarket parts?

While purchasing aftermarket parts is a great alternative to OEM pieces, there are a few downsides. Because there are so many different options for aftermarket parts, it can be hard to choose the component that’s best suited for you and your car’s needs. Quality also varies greatly with aftermarket parts, which can make shopping for them difficult. However, while this can be a problem when purchasing aftermarket parts on your own, if you’re hiring a mobile mechanic to fix your vehicle this isn’t anything to worry about.

Aftermarket parts can also lack the warranty that many dealerships proved with their OEM components. At YourMechanic, this is made up for with a service and parts limited warranty.

Add it all up, and the math is clear: aftermarket parts are every bit as good as their OEM counterparts, and very often better. Whether you need a replacement as simple as an air filter, or as complex as a catalytic converter, it’s definitely worth looking into purchasing aftermarket parts, or hiring a reputable technician from YourMechanic to find the best part for you and your vehicle.


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Pardeep

20 years of experience
652 reviews
Pardeep
20 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Fremont, California
Again 5 star service. And already scheduling him for my next appointment. Highly recommend Pardeep for your car needs.
Chevrolet Camaro - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Jose, California
Great knowledgeable mechanic and fast great work. I will use Pardeep and your services again. Thank you

Theodore

15 years of experience
1137 reviews
Theodore
15 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Everett, Washington
Theodore arrived on time, he did a great job replacing my brakes on my Camry, I will definitely work with him again.
Subaru Outback - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Renton, Washington
We have had previous work done by Theodore. Really appreciate his thoroughness and professionalism!

Matthew

32 years of experience
734 reviews
Matthew
32 years of experience
Jeep Wrangler - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Yorktown, Virginia
We've been using Your Mechanic services for a few years, for a few reasons. The convenience of having an expert mechanic "on-call," the great pricing and transparency for services (saving 10% - 25% at times), most of all Matt is our go-to guy who is highly qualified, knowledgeable in the work and knows how to explain it to us in detail.
Ford F-150 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Newport News, Virginia
Matt's technical knowledge of his profession is incredible! He is prompt, thorough, friendly, professional, engaging, and completes the job to 100% perfection! Thank you, Matt for the most outstanding auto repair service in all my many years!!!

Jason

31 years of experience
162 reviews
Jason
31 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Mateo, California
Jason was very professional and friendly. He provided extremely honest and helpful advice on issues with my Altima that would require proactive future maintenance.

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