One of your rights when you take your car in to the repair shop is to choose the replacement parts you want (if you need them.) You may be looking at OEM parts, aftermarket parts, or recycled parts, and each kind has it’s benefits and drawbacks.
When you’re comparing them keep in mind that while price doesn’t mean everything, if it sounds too good to be true, it just might be.
Aftermarket vs OEM vs Recycled Auto Parts
These are the three main kinds of replacement automotive parts you’ll find.
OEM parts are the exact same parts as the vehicle had when it was new. They’re made by the same manufacturer in the same way.
Recycled parts are pieces from other cars that are no longer running. Usually they’ll come from a junkyard or something similar.
Aftermarket parts include any parts made by any other manufacturer, so they generally offer a lot of variety in both price and quality.
Let’s take a look at what aftermarket parts might offer you.
Aftermarket parts may cost less.
Generally, aftermarket auto parts cost less than their OEM alternatives. (This isn’t always the case.)
In the past, aftermarket parts were the cheaper alternative to use in repairs. Choosing aftermarket parts was like picking the off-brand car part. Today, however, aftermarket parts can cost more for a variety of reasons. (Check out why below.)
Aftermarket parts offer lots of options.
If you’re looking at OEM parts, you only have one option: the one used on your car when it was new. With recycled parts, you’re limited to what’s available at the junkyard.
Aftermarket parts, however, are made by a variety of manufacturers, designed to fit your car, and may include new features your car didn’t when it was new or be simplified to fit a small budget. You likely have tons of options at a variety of price points.
The quality of aftermarket parts can vary.
This one can be a benefit or a downside depending on the specific part you choose.
Sometimes aftermarket parts are cheaper because they’re made cheaply like the traditional off-brand part.
Aftermarket parts may not include a warranty.
Generally, OEM parts have a warranty for about a year. Aftermarket parts may or may not include a warranty. If you’re worried, ask your repair tech for information on warranties!