Benefits of Using Aftermarket Parts vs. OEM - Samco

Aftermarket Parts vs. OEM

Aftermarket vs. OEM: What’s the Smart Choice?

Picture this: You’re cruising down the highway, windows down, music up, and suddenly, your car sputters and coughs. Uh oh, it looks like a trip to the mechanic is in your future. The diagnosis: you need a new part. But now comes the real question – OEM or aftermarket? This choice can feel like navigating a maze, with twists and turns at every corner. Don’t worry, though, I’m here to be your guide! Let’s break down the differences between aftermarket and OEM parts, helping you make the smartest choice for your car and your wallet.

What Are Aftermarket Parts?

Aftermarket parts are like the cool kids on the block, offering a plethora of options beyond what the original manufacturer provides. These parts are produced by third-party companies, independent of the car’s maker. This often translates to a wider range of choices in terms of price, performance, and style.  Think of it as customizing your ride with accessories that reflect your personality.

For instance, imagine you want to upgrade your car’s sound system. You’d likely look to aftermarket brands known for their superior audio quality and innovative features.  Similarly, if you’re looking for performance enhancements like a turbocharger or a cold air intake, the aftermarket world is your oyster, brimming with possibilities to unleash your car’s hidden potential.

What Are OEM Parts?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. These are the parts that were originally installed on your vehicle when it rolled off the assembly line. They’re made by the same company or a company licensed by the vehicle manufacturer to produce parts to their specifications. In essence, they’re identical to the parts you’d get if you went directly to the dealership for replacements.

This means you can expect OEM parts to fit perfectly, function flawlessly, and maintain the integrity of your vehicle’s systems. They’re designed to meet the exact standards of your car’s manufacturer, ensuring optimal performance and safety.

When Should OEM Parts Be Used?

There are specific scenarios where opting for OEM parts is undeniably the smarter choice. Let’s explore some instances where OEM parts shine.

Safety-Critical Components

When it comes to parts directly impacting your vehicle’s safety, such as brakes, airbags, or steering components, OEM is the way to go. These parts undergo rigorous testing and adhere to stringent safety standards, providing peace of mind and ensuring optimal performance in critical situations.

Complex Electronic Systems

Modern vehicles are equipped with intricate electronic systems that control various functions, from engine management to infotainment.  OEM parts are designed to seamlessly integrate with these systems, ensuring compatibility and preventing potential glitches or malfunctions.

Maintaining Vehicle Warranty

If your vehicle is still under warranty, using OEM parts for repairs or replacements is often a requirement to maintain warranty coverage. Opting for aftermarket alternatives might void your warranty, leaving you responsible for any future repairs.

When Should Aftermarket Parts Be Used?

Aftermarket parts can be a fantastic option in several situations. Let’s explore some of the key benefits they offer and when they might be the perfect choice for your needs.


Let’s address the elephant in the room – price. Aftermarket parts are almost always less expensive than their OEM counterparts. The cost savings can be significant, making them a very attractive option for budget-conscious consumers. If you’re looking to save money on repairs or upgrades, exploring the aftermarket can be a wise decision.


Now, you might be wondering, “Are aftermarket parts good?” The answer is – it depends. The quality of aftermarket parts can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and the specific part. While some aftermarket parts might be of lower quality than OEM parts, many reputable manufacturers produce parts that meet or even exceed OEM standards. It’s crucial to do your research and choose parts from well-known and trusted brands.


Sometimes, finding specific OEM parts can be a challenge, especially for older vehicles or less common models. In these instances, aftermarket parts can be a lifesaver. They offer a wider range of options and are often more readily available, ensuring you can get your vehicle back on the road quickly.

Choice and Variety

The aftermarket is a vibrant marketplace with a vast selection of parts and accessories. This abundance of choice allows you to customize your vehicle to your exact preferences, whether it’s performance upgrades, aesthetic modifications, or functional enhancements. The possibilities are truly endless!


Many reputable aftermarket manufacturers offer warranties on their parts, providing peace of mind and protection for your investment. While the warranty terms might differ from those of OEM parts, having some level of coverage is always a plus.

One saves you money, the other saves you hassle.

Ultimately, the choice between aftermarket and OEM parts comes down to your individual needs and priorities. If cost is a major concern, aftermarket parts are an excellent way to save money. However, if you prioritize convenience and guaranteed compatibility, OEM parts might be the better option.

Cost Can Be a Factor — But So Can Quality

The “aftermarket vs OEM” debate often boils down to one key factor: cost.  Aftermarket parts are generally less expensive than OEM parts, although the price varies by brand. According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, “OEM parts cost about 60% more than aftermarket car parts.” This price difference can be significant, especially when you’re facing a major repair.  But is the lower cost of aftermarket parts always the best choice? Not necessarily.

There are instances where opting for OEM parts makes more sense, particularly when dealing with critical components of your vehicle like the engine, transmission, or safety systems. In these cases, the assurance of quality and compatibility that comes with OEM parts can outweigh the cost savings of aftermarket alternatives. After all, the potential consequences of a faulty part in a critical system can be far more expensive than the initial price difference.

Going Above and Beyond OEM

So, we’ve established that OEM parts are the safe, reliable choice, mirroring the quality of the original components used by the manufacturer. But what if you’re looking for something more? What if you want to enhance your vehicle’s performance or give it a unique personal touch? This is where the vast world of aftermarket parts truly shines.

Aftermarket manufacturers often go the extra mile, producing parts that not only match OEM specifications but surpass them.  These parts are specifically designed to boost performance, improve fuel efficiency, enhance durability, or simply add a touch of style that sets your vehicle apart from the crowd.

Which is Better?

The age-old question in the automotive world: OEM or aftermarket? It’s a debate that sparks discussions among car enthusiasts and everyday drivers alike.  There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the “aftermarket vs OEM” dilemma.  The better choice truly depends on your individual circumstances, priorities, and the specific situation you’re facing. Let’s delve into the factors that can help you make an informed decision.

Which is better, OEM or aftermarket?

Choosing between OEM or aftermarket parts isn’t a simple “one size fits all” answer. It’s more like selecting the right tool for the job. Both options come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, and the “better” choice truly depends on your specific needs and priorities. Let’s break down some key factors to consider when navigating the OEM vs. aftermarket decision.

Which is better, the OEM or the genuine parts?

When discussing car parts, you’ll often hear the terms “OEM” and “genuine” thrown around. It can get a bit confusing, especially when trying to decide which type of part is the best choice for your vehicle. Let’s clear up any confusion: OEM and genuine parts are essentially the same thing. They are both produced by the Original Equipment Manufacturer, the company that made the parts for your car when it was first built.

So, whether you see a part labeled as “OEM” or “genuine,” you can rest assured knowing it’s the real deal and specifically designed for your vehicle’s make and model.

Are OEM parts more expensive than aftermarket?

Generally, yes, OEM parts tend to be more expensive than their aftermarket counterparts. There are a few key reasons for this price difference.  Firstly, OEM parts are manufactured to meet the exact specifications set by the vehicle manufacturer. This often involves using higher-quality materials and more rigorous quality control measures, which naturally increases production costs.

Secondly, the research and development that goes into designing and engineering OEM parts is extensive.  Vehicle manufacturers invest heavily in ensuring that each component perfectly fits and functions within the complex systems of a car. This investment in R&D is reflected in the final price of OEM parts.

Why are aftermarket parts so cheap?

Let’s unravel the mystery behind the affordability of aftermarket parts. The lower price tag often boils down to a few key factors:

  • Materials: Aftermarket manufacturers sometimes use alternative materials to reduce production costs. While this can lead to a lower price point, it’s crucial to ensure the materials meet safety standards and won’t compromise the performance or longevity of your vehicle.
  • Research and Development: Unlike OEMs who invest heavily in research and development, aftermarket companies often focus on replicating existing designs. This reduces their overhead costs, allowing them to offer parts at a more competitive price.
  • Brand Recognition:  OEM parts carry the weight of the car manufacturer’s brand, which often comes with a premium price. Aftermarket brands may not have the same level of brand recognition, but they can still deliver quality products at a more affordable price.
  • Manufacturing Processes:  Some aftermarket manufacturers might employ different manufacturing processes or have lower overhead costs, contributing to the lower price of their parts.
  • Competition: The aftermarket industry is highly competitive, with numerous manufacturers vying for your business. This competition helps drive prices down, giving consumers more options to choose from.

What’s the difference between OEM parts and aftermarket?

Let’s delve into the world of replacement parts. The terms “OEM” and “aftermarket” often pop up, but what do they actually mean? Understanding the distinction is crucial when choosing the right parts for your vehicle. Let’s break it down.

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. These are the parts made by the same company that produced your vehicle. For example, if you drive a Ford, OEM parts would be manufactured by Ford itself. These parts are designed to be identical to the ones originally installed on your car, ensuring a perfect fit and optimal performance. They also maintain the integrity of your vehicle, especially when it comes to complex systems like safety features.

On the other hand, aftermarket parts are produced by third-party manufacturers. These companies are not affiliated with the original car manufacturer. This opens up a wider range of options for consumers, offering a diverse selection of parts with varying features, qualities, and prices. The sheer variety is a significant advantage, as you can find parts that cater to specific needs, performance enhancements, or even aesthetic preferences.

Are Aftermarket Car Parts Always Worse Than OEM?

Let’s dispel a common myth: aftermarket parts aren’t inherently inferior to OEM parts. The truth is, the quality of aftermarket parts can vary significantly depending on the manufacturer and the specific part in question. While some aftermarket components might fall short of OEM standards, others can match or even surpass them in terms of performance and durability.

In fact, many aftermarket manufacturers specialize in producing high-performance parts designed to enhance a vehicle’s capabilities beyond what the original equipment offers. Enthusiasts often turn to the aftermarket for upgrades like performance brake pads, suspension components, or exhaust systems. These parts are meticulously engineered for specific applications, and their quality often rivals or surpasses that of OEM counterparts. So, when considering the question “is oem better than aftermarket”, the answer is more nuanced than a simple yes or no.