Budget Auto Repair: Should I Buy Used OEM or Aftermarket Parts?

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are factory installed parts. They are the original parts that came with your automobile when it was sent to the dealership to be placed in their new car inventory. One would think you would consider OEM parts to make repairs because they are new, but they are extremely expensive to purchase and depending on the age of your vehicle or the impact of the repair cost on your budget these parts may not be easy to come by or the most efficient choice. As your vehicle ages, automobile manufacturers are introducing new automobile models to the marketplace and may discontinue this option leaving you no choice but to find an alternative. Locating that alternative is easier than you think. Let’s take a look at an outstanding, favorable budget solution to fix your car or truck with a used part.

Used OEM parts can be an excellent choice in locating the best part selection for your automobile repair while securing the ideal budget friendly option. Used OEM auto parts are parts that are pulled from autos in which circumstances led for them to be submitted for salvage or recycling. Many salvage car parts have an extremely viable and productive life left and are readily available to be installed in your car. In general, because the part is a manufactured clone, the guarantee that it will be an exact match and the ideal fit leaves little room for error making for a smooth transition when making your repair. Used OEM auto parts are easily located for purchase online and many retailers have extensive inventory management systems like those incorporated by AutoPartSearch.com, an online recycled part marketplace. These retailers are able to will find your exact parts quickly and ship them promptly to your door. The cost associated with repairing or replacing non-functioning parts with a high-quality used OEM part can be 50% to 70% less than the purchase of new OEM parts. Used OEM parts are the right choice if you are looking for substantial savings on the cost of your repair and keeping manufacturer specifications intact in your automobile. Many salvage yards extend 30 to 90-day warranties on used OEM parts so the consumer is easily able to return or exchange a part if it does not meet their expectations. Concerns about the efficiency of the used OEM part is alleviated so that the customer can feel confident in what they are buying.

Purchasing used OEM parts for reuse is also an important way to contribute to environmental conservation and rehabilitation. The predominant goal of the Auto Salvage Industry is to recognize, treat and dispose of automotive waste and byproducts by encouraging the reuse of operable automotive parts, maintaining proper disposal of toxic fluids and eliminating waste piling up in landfills and decreasing air and water contaminants. According to the online article “Why Use Recycled Parts”, Automotive Recyclers Association, “Approximately 86 percent of a vehicle’s material content is recycled, reused or used for energy recovery.” The scrapping of steel reduces the need to acquire new iron ore and largely decreases the associated air and water pollutants born from the refinement of it in the automotive manufacturing industry. The consumer plays an extremely valuable part in this conservation effort when selecting and installing used OEM parts. Keeping the planet green for future generations to enjoy is a collaborative effort and both the automotive industry and the consumer can work together to take beneficial steps to accomplish this goal. Recycled OEM auto parts are a fine alternative for making factory specific repairs, however, when making custom or creative modifications on an automobile many customers may turn to Aftermarket Parts to fill the void.

Aftermarket Parts are made by outside manufacturers to be similar to the original part. This type of part seems to be the “middle of the road” option for most consumers and can be obtained easily for both new and used vehicles. They are fresh out of the box, but careful research may be needed when considering buying from an unfamiliar or unproven brand. In some cases, the Aftermarket part can be less expensive or will be sold at top dollar prices. They may feature specific refinements that may be put into place to allow it to perform better than the original, making them an attractive buy. Aftermarket choices can provide extremely positive results or a depressingly negative outcome for the consumer. The difference between the two seems to be in the quality of the part sold and paying particularly close attention to the quality evaluation and fit specifications of these parts. Aftermarket Parts are generally more expensive than used OEM but less expensive than new OEM parts. There are plenty of choices of manufacturers in the Aftermarket parts industry but not all are reliable sources and offer less or no warranty protection, unlike their counterparts. This can leave the customer holding onto a part that will not fit with no prospect of getting their money back. Aftermarket parts are popular when doing modifications that were not a part of the original manufacturer design, so if creative or advanced performance options are desired they may be the only option to perform these changes.

The automotive parts industry is diverse and the options for parts with which to make your repair seem to lie solely on what factors are important to you or are necessary to achieve the desired outcome. If budget repair is your top priority you would be well urged to buy high quality used OEM parts and take advantage of the associated warranties which make them an extremely attractive buy and contributes to the health of the environment. If this option fails to secure your desired result, the pursuit of Aftermarket parts may be the next best avenue for making repairs or replacements.

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.