Aftermarket Auto Parts: Boon or Bane?

There’s no questioning the popularity of aftermarket auto parts in the US automotive industry. Basically alternate car parts most of which are not made by car manufacturers themselves, aftermarket auto parts compete with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. When an original auto part fails (for instance, your hood strut) and is irreparable, the car owner has the choice – or dilemma – of whether to buy a new part from his car’s manufacturer or purchase an aftermarket part. Thus, inevitably, issues of which are more advantageous to car owners, which benefits the industry more, and other related questions and comparisons between OEM and aftermarket parts arise.

With the rise in production of aftermarket auto parts in the past two decades, a non-profit organization called the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) was established in 1987 to test and certify parts used for auto body repairs. Setting rigid standards for aftermarket parts, CAPA’s testing process includes an industry-recognized 500-hour salt spray test to indicate rust resistance. Tests on metal composition, screws, chipping and scratching resistance are also conducted. While the founding of CAPA initially boosted the trust in the quality of aftermarket auto parts, many automotive consumers still describe CAPA parts as generally not as good as OEM parts. Furthermore, questions on the credibility of the CAPA certification, despite its supposedly strict standards, still exist.

More often than not, aftermarket auto parts are compared in unfavorable ways to OEM parts. Negative comments/rumors include that these parts never fit, result in increased cycle time due to the extra effort it takes to make them fit, and other quality issues. But the benefits of aftermarket auto parts actually abound. First off, crash tests performed over the years by the critics of aftermarket auto parts have shown that these parts perform no differently than OEM parts. On the issue of hazardousness, it has been found that crash parts, whether aftermarket or OEM, do not affect the safety of a vehicle. Thus, there are no federal safety standards for crash/collision parts, except headlamps and the hinges on the hoods to prevent the hood from going through the windshield in the event of a crash.

When it comes to savings, the consumer wins when it comes to aftermarket auto parts, as such are categorically less expensive than OEM parts. This benefits not only the consumer but the insurance company (which pays for car repairs) and the collision/aftermarket shop owner as well, who is provided with more opportunities to repair when the lower cost of parts keep vehicles from totaling. But the savings work better for older cars. Some aftermarket auto parts can be non-usable for newer car models but are often very useful to older cars. Low cost repairs for older cars with the use of aftermarket parts can be crucial in keeping the vehicle from being totaled. These parts also cause less diminished value concerns for older vehicles.

Fears of warranty mishaps when it comes to aftermarket auto parts can also be thrown in the bin. Warranties on aftermarket auto parts are as good as OEM warranties. When a crash part has to be replaced, any original warranty on that part lapses but the warranty on the rest of the vehicle is unaffected. After a replacement part is installed, a new warranty takes over. Federal law prohibits manufacturer from basing warranties upon the exclusive use of OEM parts.

While both the OEM and aftermarket parts industries continue to develop and smooth out their negativities to gain the favor of the consumers, the competition can only benefit both the purchasers and the industry. As critics have remarked, when there is no competition, the OEM part seller price a part as it would like. But when a product competes with an aftermarket part, it would be priced cheaper than it originally would. It’s a two-way process though. If OEM parts were becoming more cost-competitive with aftermarket auto parts, aftermarket parts would have to strive harder to become more quality-competitive with OEM parts. If that believed distance of quality between the two is actually being bridged at present, aftermarket auto parts should still work on gaining the full trust of the public in the fact that they are indeed as good or even better than the original parts.

Aftermarket, OEM, OE Auto Parts Explained

Aftermarket, OEM, replacement parts–you see these words in almost all auto parts stores online. What do these terms mean?

For a passive buyer, these things are but ordinary terms used in the automotive market but for someone meticulous and who wants the best for his auto, these things matter considerably. Deciding which among these to purchase is just like deciding what car to buy.

O.E.M. stands for Original Equipment Manufactured. This means that OEM Ford parts are manufactured by Ford itself, Chevrolet parts are manufactured by Chevrolet, Toyota parts by Toyota, BMW parts by BMW and so on. The terms O.E.S. and OE are also used; these mean Original Equipment Supplied and Original Equipment, respectively. While in many cases, OEM and OES mean the same, OE is more general referring to any part that came as original equipment on the car. Some of OE car parts and components are not actually made by the car manufacturer but are purchased and assembled by the automakers to create a vehicle.

Those referred to as “aftermarket auto parts” are not made by the original car manufacturer; furthermore, they are bought and added to the vehicle only at the dealership or after the vehicle left the dealership. In terms of design and function, aftermarket products are almost the same as the stock auto parts since they are primarily used to replace a damaged original part so that the vehicle can continue to run. If you need replacement parts for your car, however, you can either buy O.E.M. or aftermarket auto parts. There are numerous sources of aftermarket auto parts. Stores like Auto Parts Discount give you a great variety of parts for almost all makes and models.

Some cars, especially the base models are not completely equipped so users just add aftermarket parts later on. For example if you have purchased an old Toyota Corolla, you can add aftermarket Toyota fog lights, Toyota spoiler, Toyota turn signal light or Toyota mirrors. Aftermarket products can also help you give your car a fresh new look. Even if your original parts are not yet damaged or worn out, you can replace them with or add specially designed aftermarket auto parts like Honda taillights, Ford center cap, Chevrolet chrome bumper, and Mercedes Benz Front Cover Towing Eye found at Auto Parts Discount.

Enthusiasts, on the other hand would opt for custom parts and specialty equipments. Compared to a universal fit auto part, which can be installed to any vehicle make, year and model, custom aftermarket products are designed to fit only a particular application. Examples of custom parts are your Ford hood, Ford fender and Ford doors. Specialty equipments on the other hand, are intended to make the vehicle more stylish, comfortable, convenient and more up-to-date.

Most auto users prefer aftermarket products because they are less expensive than OEM replacements. While it is true that there may be some aftermarket auto parts that do not meet high standards of original equipments, it is not right to say that aftermarket products are generally inferior in terms of quality and style. Replacement parts sold at Auto Parts Discount, for example are made by car parts manufacturers that are mandated by high international standards.

Which is better, OEM or aftermarket replacement part? It depends on the product. Some OEM parts are not durable enough while the aftermarket parts you use to replace them could last for many years. If you want to give your car a different look and also, if you want to save, aftermarket products are worth a try. However, make sure to get these replacement parts from trusted sources.

Buying Aftermarket Car Parts Online

Aftermarket spare parts are made as per the original manufacturer’s specifications of the product. Usually an aftermarket dealer buys the patent from the original manufacturing company and makes it at a reduced cost.

People would want to buy aftermarket spare parts for various possible reasons, some of them are mentioned here below.

• Because of the scarcity, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) spares are not easily obtainable in the market.

• For old or out of fashion motor vehicle models, the original company is not manufacturing the parts.

• You are out of pocket to buy original auto parts.

• Though you can’t afford an OEM auto part you would certainly want to buy the right aftermarket auto part for your motor vehicle as you will never want to compromise on the competence and performance of your vehicle at the same time you don’t want to harm your motor vehicle with inferior quality automotive parts.

• When you decide to buy an aftermarket auto part for your four wheel drive you need to be careful of certain facts, which is listed underneath.

• Always buy from a company that entirely deals in making or supplying aftermarket spare parts as it establishes them as a specialist in their specific field. This will aid you in obtaining the finest quality automotive spare parts for your vehicle which will uphold the performance and competence of your vehicle and at the same time will not harm your vehicle with inferior parts.

• It is prudent to remain with the particular aftermarket supplier with whom you have already dealt with in the past and received quality parts for your vehicle. This enables you to buy with conviction as you are certain to get the right aftermarket car part.

• In any circumstance you will want to buy quality automotive aftermarket spare parts only that are obtainable at affordable rates but not necessarily low priced products that does not meet the requisite quality standards.

• In order to get the trust quotient, you need to purchase aftermarket spares that have appropriate guarantees.

• You need to be cautious and go over the guarantee section and see if the right steps are mentioned that needs to be followed in case something goes wrong with the product.

• Once you finalize an aftermarket part supplier it’s imperative to check for its credentials by going over the customer opinions and reviews.

• You need to be realistic regarding your specific budget and ensure that you are obtaining your money’s value.