When you need parts for a European automobile, you basically have three choices. These choices include genuine, OEM, and aftermarket parts. To understand your options better, a quick definition should help.
What Are Genuine, OEM, and Aftermarket Parts?
This is a very basic summary of the difference between different places that you might source your auto parts from:
Genuine Parts: These are parts that are made by the company that manufactured your car. Typically, these will be the most expensive options that you can choose, but most people consider them the highest quality alternative too. Typically, they will have the manufacturer’s logo.
OEM: OEM stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturer.” This means that the part producer was originally contracted by the car manufacturer to make the parts. In many cases, these actually are the genuine parts because the auto maker does not produce them. They may not have the manufacturer’s logo.
Aftermarket: Other companies may make parts that are pretty close duplicates of the genuine or OEM alternatives. In some cases, they may be lower quality, but that isn’t always true. Typically, aftermarket parts are cheaper than OEM or genuine parts.
When To Choose OEM, Genuine, Or Aftermarket Parts
If your vehicle’s warranty specifies that you need to have genuine or OEM parts, you should follow those guidelines. You certainly don’t want to void your warranty. This is usually only an issue for the original manufacturer’s warranty and fairly new cars. Even though the parts may cost a bit more, they can save you money if you have to make a warranty claim.
What is your vehicle is no longer under any kind of warranty, so you know that you have to pay for your own repairs? The truth is that aftermarket parts can vary greatly in quality. Some may actually be better than OEM, but sadly, some may be worse.
These are some things to consider about different sources of parts:
- Of course, independent auto shops are likely to use aftermarket parts, just because they are cheaper.
- However, if you take your car to a dealer for repairs, you are likely to get OEM or genuine parts.
- If your repairs are covered by insurance, your insurer is likely to favor aftermarket parts just because they are probably cheaper. You may be able to negotiate that if you are even aware of it.
Should You Put Aftermarket Parts In A European Car?
If you don’t have a reason to choose OEM or genuine parts, you may be very motivated to save money by buying aftermarket parts. If you can get assurance that these parts are good quality, there’s not much of a downside. However, if you’re not knowledgeable about parts or have no way to verify quality, you might be better off by insisting on genuine or OEM.
You might also compare the warranty, as genuine and OEM parts will almost always come with one. Aftermarket parts may or may not be warrantied so well.
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