Choosing Between OEM & Aftermarket Parts

One of the major choices that those restoring classic cars or working on restomods will make is between OEM, original equipment manufacturer, and aftermarket parts. There is just as strong an argument on both sides that comes down to personal choice, availability and the car you’re working on. It is best to make the most informed decision either way though depending on your situation.

OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts
OEM parts are made directly by the original vehicle’s manufacturer. They are identical to whatever part is being replaced, using the same materials and techniques as the originals. They are widely available through most retailers and most third party sellers.

Aftermarket parts are produced by a competing part supplier, not the original manufacturer. They are mostly similar, being made to replace a specific part but it can be difficult to function exactly as the original part as it is not made by the original manufacturer.

Pros of OEM Parts
When you choose OEM parts, you’re getting an exact replacement of the part from your vehicle’s original manufacturer. The consistency, materials, performance and fit of the part is the same as the part that was replaced without question. You can feel secure with the quality and it is easier to choose your part, since there is only one option. Continual use of OEM parts ensures your warranty remains intact as well.

Cons of OEM Parts
The major caveat in choosing OEM parts is that they are typically more expensive and need to be directly purchased from the dealer. OEM parts costs about 60% more than a aftermarket part and are able to be requested from your chosen mechanic but can often take longer to receive. In some cases, the quality may be less than using an aftermarket part that has been optimized to be a better solution.

Pros of Aftermarket Parts
Usually, aftermarket parts are less expensive, with the brand dictating the price. There are also some cases where certain aftermarket parts may actually perform better than the OEM equivalent. Parts are designed and tested under the same performance and fit standards as the manufacturer Since more companies make aftermarket parts, there is also more variety which offers a larger selection and range of prices.

Cons of Aftermarket Parts
Quality is usually one of the major issues when dealing with aftermarket parts. Because they’re lower priced, lower quality materials may be used. Just as variety is a perceived benefit, it can also be a hindrance. More options and choices can be confusing and parts can come in many variations. One of the other major disadvantages to aftermarket parts is that by installing them over OEM parts, the original factory warranty can become void.

Some other things to consider are that collision repairs should always include OEM parts as fit from aftermarket parts may not allow for proper crumple zones or fit. There is also the risk of counterfeit parts being available. However, by doing adequate research, paying attention to packaging and only purchasing from reputable retailers and companies, your choice between OEM and aftermarket parts is sure to be the right one for your project.

If you are looking for some insight into the best parts for your restoration or restomod, contact us today for a consultation and quote at 561-729-0911