Original or alternative spare parts: pros and cons of each one

Auto parts can vary in price and quality of manufacture.

Auto parts can vary in price and quality of manufacture.

Photo: El Ahuehuete Auto Parts / Pixabay

When it comes time to get your car repaired, you have to choose between the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket parts. aftermarket. aftermarket parts They tend to be cheaper, but price isn鈥檛 the only consideration when it comes to getting your car repaired. Understanding the pros and cons of aftermarket parts will help you decide if they are a good fit for your particular situation.

What are aftermarket parts?

aftermarket parts, Also called generic parts, they are made by a company that is not the original manufacturer of your vehicle. They are new replacement parts, not used parts. They are made by a third-party manufacturer, so they may not fit perfectly in the same way as OEM parts.

Mustang Mach E
Mustang Mach-E. / Photo: Courtesy Ford.

As usual, they are as safe as OEM partsbut they cost much less. They are also usually the sheet metal or plastic components that make up the exterior of the car: bumpers, fenders, hood, etc.

Your insurance company can鈥檛 require you to use a certain type of auto part for your repairs, but they may ask you to pay the difference if the part you want is more expensive.To

Advantages of aftermarket parts

The benefits of generic auto parts generally center around price.


Aftermarket part prices are almost always lower than OEM parts, which can be 60% more expensive. Since parts are nearly half the cost of most auto body jobs, saving money here can lower the overall cost of the repair. Insurance companies prefer the cost savings of aftermarket parts, especially when they are as safe as OEM parts.


Your car has only one manufacturer, so if you want an OEM part, you鈥檒l only have one option. But with aftermarket parts, you may have many manufacturers to choose from. A large selection means more competition and lower pricesas well as more comfort. You鈥檙e much more likely to find the aftermarket version of a part you need at your local parts store, while you may have to order the OEM version, delaying your repair.


Of course, the quality may vary depending on the component that needs to be replaced. But you can find aftermarket parts whose quality matches or exceeds the OEM version. There is even an independent testing authority called the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) that tests and certifies replacement parts. If you find their seal on a replacement part, you know that it has been proven to meet or exceed their quality standards, that it will fit, and that it will be safe.

Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Silverado. / Photo: Courtesy Chevrolet.

Cons of Aftermarket Parts


You鈥檒l have more options with aftermarket parts, but not all aftermarket parts are created equal. You may find items that are of lesser quality or may not fit your specific vehicle well. If these pieces have not been certified, it is more difficult to know their quality. However, in the event that a part does not fit your car, your auto insurance company may pay to replace it at no additional cost.锘

For cosmetic parts like bumper covers, it may be easier to distinguish an OEM part from an aftermarket part, but functionally they should be the same.


Practically All OEM parts come with some level of warranty protection, typically one year. Aftermarket parts sometimes come with little or no warranty.

It is illegal for companies to void your car warranty for using aftermarket parts. You can file a complaint with the FTC if you believe a warranty claim was wrongfully denied.

The Kia EV6 is a crossover that may be the entry-level vehicle to an electric car for many buyers.
The Kia EV6 is a crossover that may be the entry-level vehicle to an electric car for many buyers. / Photo: Kia

Determining the quality of aftermarket parts

While determining the quality of aftermarket parts can be uncertain at times, OEM parts can also be a bit of a gamble. After all, if you鈥檙e repairing a broken or worn OEM part, chances are the part was the problem in the first place.

If you鈥檙e deciding whether to use aftermarket parts for your car repair, you can seek a second opinion for your specific car and the parts in question.



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