OEM -vs- Aftermarket Parts: What’s the difference?

While our preference is always to use OEM parts, the decision whether to choose OEM versus Aftermarket parts is not such a difficult decision. It usually just boils down to money.

You might not be aware that most insurance companies do not specify, or pay, for factory replacement parts. This is because aftermarket parts are less expensive and it’s what most of the industry operates on. Many people could care less whether or not aftermarket parts are used.

If, however, you’re a person who does care whether factory parts are used, your journey begins with your insurance company. Depending upon what company you or who hit you have your insurance with and whether or not there may be a policy or “rider” that specifies whether only factory parts may be used; that is what determines whether or not factory replacement parts are used on your vehicle. The best place to start this discussion is with your insurance company.

An alternative is to specify when your vehicle is brought to us that you want only factory parts used. Be aware though that you may be personally liable for anything the insurance company doesn’t cover. You may or may not be able to recoup the costs of the factory parts.

Why the hoopla about factory parts anyway?

Factory parts may be made from thicker metal, have special metal treatments such as galvanizing or anti-rust materials added, plus they may even be made from a different material or alloy. There’s a lot more to it than simply bending a piece of metal into a certain shape. How strong it is, how it responds to a future accident, these are additional differences.

Visually, body lines should line up perfectly with a factory part. Sometimes there may be small differences with an aftermarket part that most people won’t notice. Again, if you’re a car person, a picky person or just want it “right”, you may want to consider going the factory part route. We will do our best to blend any discrepancies but there may be things beyond our control. Most of the time though, we do our magic and you’ll never know it wasn’t a factory part.

However, if you just want your daily-driver back as soon as humanly possible; then opt for the aftermarket route. They are usually far more available from more sources so even if it’s not in stock at our local distributor we can typically still have a part within a week or perhaps a day or two.

With factory parts; you and we are at the full mercy of the manufacturer. Some manufacturers do regular runs of replacement parts. Others only put replacement parts into their production when the schedule suits them. It’s possible to wait weeks even more for a part from one of these bothersome manufacturers.

If you drive an exotic import, be aware that some parts have to be made by hand and then hand fitted once they arrive, and yes, this does indeed take extra time.

Thankfully, most of the time we use aftermarket parts or a mix of OEM and aftermarket parts with great success. They are usually your best route to getting back on the road with a breeze blowing across your shoulder.

Talk to us today about your preferences and give us a shot at shielding your car with one of our care packages!


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