Let’s face it: Real motorheads are always looking for ways to fine-tune their vehicle’s performance. Whether it’s restoring and modifying a classic car or tweaking your daily driver, you need to have high-quality parts. And so the question becomes, do you use OEM or aftermarket auto parts to get the job done? What’s the major difference between the two? Are aftermarket auto parts worth the investment and the risks? Our complete guide will help you make the decision that’s best for your particular project.
What Are Aftermarket Auto Parts?
First things first, let’s discuss what aftermarket auto parts actually are. To oversimplify somewhat, aftermarket parts are car parts made by third-party groups, rather than the original equipment manufacturers.
Aftermarket auto parts can be used for simple repairs and replacements. However, their most common use is tuning up and enhancing the performance of the vehicle in ways not intended by its original maker. Far from generic parts to substitute for a manufacturer’s dedicated kit, these parts can take a vehicle’s performance to new heights in the right hands.
What Are the Benefits of Using Aftermarket Parts?
Now that you understand what aftermarket auto parts are compared to their OEM counterparts, let’s talk about how they can help you. There are many benefits to using these alternative parts. These benefits can include but are by no means limited to:
This is one of the greatest benefits of using aftermarket parts. When you buy OEM replacement parts, you’re limited by the few tools the manufacturer uses to fix your car’s issues. This also means that if the manufacturer relied on a specific company to produce a part that’s known to be defective, you can end up going back for the same repairs again and again.
Aftermarket auto parts come from a wide variety of companies, all of which compete against each other for use. This means that you get your pick of the litter when it comes to price, quality, and features.
Another major benefit to using aftermarket parts is that they often cost less than their OEM counterparts. If you have a strict budget you need to stick to for your repairs or enhancements, aftermarket parts are a godsend. They can work as well as any OEM part, as long as you vet your brand thoroughly, so you needn’t fear that you get worse performance by paying less.
Availability and Access
We touched on this above, but aftermarket auto parts have greater availability than OEM parts. If you’re working with an older vehicle, the OEM part that you need may well have been discontinued.
This can make replacing it either impossible or prohibitively expensive. As in, it would be cheaper to buy a new car, expensive.
Aftermarket parts are available in every corner of the internet, making it easy to access the part you need for your project in a hurry.
Higher Quality Options
If you want to optimize your vehicle for performance, you need to go aftermarket. OEM parts are high-quality parts, but they lack the necessary oomph that a performance vehicle needs. Brands like allstar performance, among many others, can offer you that extra edge that you need for your car.
What Are the Risks of Using Aftermarket Auto Parts?
For all their benefits, there are some risks inherent to using aftermarket auto parts. These potential risks include:
Could Void Your Warranty
Many auto manufacturers will void your warranty if they discover that you’ve been using aftermarket parts to repair or augment your vehicle. This goes double if your vehicle gets damaged due to a faulty aftermarket part. Once your car’s warranty gets voided, you’re not getting it back.
This can pose a serious problem if your car’s brand new, as repairs can get expensive in a hurry. Especially if the parts that got damaged include electronics or computer systems.
So, if you intend to use aftermarket parts, make sure to check if doing so voids your warranty. That way, you avoid unpleasant surprises and sticker shock at the mechanic.
Insurance May Not Cover Repairs or Replacements
Any changes that you make to your vehicle’s form or function with non-manufacturer parts can cause your car to be considered a “modified car”. Depending on how much of a stickler your company is for car modifications, this could lead to them dropping the vehicle’s coverage. That could leave you scrambling to find a custom or modified car insurance company, even if the alteration you made was a small one.
Make sure you run any and all adjustments with aftermarket auto parts by your insurance before you do them.
While for the most part, aftermarket parts have the same or better quality than OEM parts, you do run into the occasional dud. Some brands don’t have as much verification as others, and if you swing and miss, you could do severe damage to your car. Make sure you research the brand you’re buying thoroughly when you shop for aftermarket parts.
Short or Nonexistent Warranty
The main benefit to using OEM parts is their extensive warranty. Most aftermarket parts have a limited warranty that lasts for around a year if any warranty at all. After that, you’re on your own in terms of repairs.
Those out-of-pocket expenses can add up in a hurry, especially if a lot of parts suddenly fail at once. Make sure that you research the company’s warranty and returns policy before you decide to buy from them.
Let’s Circle Back to the Basics
Using aftermarket auto parts can save you time and money, as well as allow you to enhance your vehicle’s performance. However, it could also run the risk of voiding your warranty and forcing you to look for new car insurance.
Overall, what you need to keep in mind when you choose aftermarket parts over OEM is the importance of research. As long as you research the brands you intend to use thoroughly, you should be able to use these replacement parts without fear.
If you’d like to read more helpful guides and how-tos for your car, check out our blog each day for more content like this!