What is the Basic Difference Between OEM and Aftermarket Parts?

The automotive aftermarket is concerned with manufacturing, remanufacturing, reconditioning, distribution, and retail sales of all vehicle parts, including equipment and accessories, after the sale of the automobile by the original equipment manufacturer. Many automotive aftermarket parts are regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration based on safety needs. 


There are two types of auto parts available in the market for use with your automobile. These are identified as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and aftermarket parts. An OEM part is made by your car’s manufacturer or a contracted third-party manufacturer and used in your automobile’s original construction.

 Aftermarket parts are those automobile parts that are made by third-party manufacturers and are  not included in the initial list of parts or available options used to build your vehicle. 


When you require maintenance or repairs on your vehicle and take the car to a dealer for service, the parts used to repair will be from the manufacturer (OEM). If you go with an independent repair shop, you may have an alternative source of less expensive parts that are just as good and serve the intended purpose. 


Aftermarket parts used for repair are  a quality comparable to  your OEM parts and therefore serve the same function under similar operating conditions. You may also install aftermarket parts as upgrades to improve the look or performance of your automobile. Before you use an aftermarket part, you should inquire about how it may affect your car’s value or performance. 


In short, Automotive aftermarket parts are usually less expensive than OEM parts and can perform just as well if not better than original equipment manufacturer parts. These can be found in your independent auto body repair shop. Dealers will always use original equipment from the manufacturer. It definitely does pay to shop around and compare the OEM to Aftermarket parts.

Interesting Note: Auto thieves prefer older cars due to the aftermarket value.

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