“We are our choices” is what French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once believed. Do you believe that as well? Acknowledging that we, and in part our lives, are products of the choices we make can be a difficult pill to swallow. If we are our choices, we need to think deeper about the consequences and rewards of possible outcomes. Truly, what decisions will give you the life you want? What choices do you need to make?
The first step of the process is recognizing that we do have a choice. We always have a choice as responsible, reflective, and worldly individuals. What we need to realize is that the decisions we make today impact us down the road. We cannot always make light of them. There may be obvious choices one can make, but no clear right or wrong answers. This is especially true in the automotive world.
Automobiles are immense investments in our twenty-first-century era. Even after the initial purchase, there’s a slew of upkeep and enhancement factors to consider. When shopping for maintenance or vehicle component upgrades, car enthusiasts will come across two types of automotive parts in the industry—original equipment manufacturer parts (OEM) or aftermarket parts. Let’s uncover the difference between OEM and aftermarket car parts to provide valuable insight for better, informed decisions.
Defining OEM: What To Know
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are just as their name implies: replacement parts made directly by the branded manufacturer for the model of your vehicle. These parts are essentially carbon copies of the parts that are already inside your vehicle—the factory settings that the car came with when it rolled right off the assembly line.
If you were to take your vehicle to the dealership for service, you’d get an OEM part to seal the deal, typically no questions asked. Is that beneficial to you or not? That decision is entirely up to you. The OEM part should work exactly like the part you are replacing, which might provide you with some peace of mind. All OEM parts are created equal—which has its apparent advantages and disadvantages.
The Alternatives: Aftermarket Car Parts
A wide array of aftermarket car parts are valuable replacement or modification items in the current marketplace. These specified pieces are defined as any aftermarket parts produced by different companies or manufacturers than the original brand. Oftentimes, these vehicle components are designed with the same intention and function in mind as OEM parts. Most times, these aftermarket parts offer function that's just as good as the original—or an even better upgrade in performance.
The majority of independent or brick-and-mortar auto shops have a variety of aftermarket parts available. Aftermarket parts have even risen in popularity due to e-commerce retailers, where hobbyists, consumers, and auto repair companies can explore alternative replacement options for vehicles. The variety of parts means greater functionality and a wider range of prices to shop around for. Taking everything into consideration, all aftermarket parts are not created equal. This reality also has its own perks and shortcomings for modern consumers in the industry.
Differences in Availability
The greatest difference between OEM and aftermarket car parts lies distinctly in selection availability. The majority of the time, consumers must purchase OEM parts from the dealership because their supply comes directly from the manufacturer. Your local mechanic can request OEM parts on your behalf. Yet if a part is out of stock, they must order the component. The time it takes to ship a part adds extra hours or days to repair time. This limited availability is a major constraint consideration.
Comparably, consumers or merchandisers can purchase aftermarket car parts from auto parts stores, local mechanics, gas stations, and online retailers who specialize in certain makes, models, or components. More readily available options for servicing or modifying means time and cost savings, but you still must make an informed decision.
A range in price variation calls for the need to shop around. The greater the number of options, the higher the possibility of variations from part to part. Prepare a list of questions or ask around for professional opinions on popular aftermarket car parts. Incredible options are right in your grasp with a little decision-making research and patience.
Distinctions in Quality
While some consumers or merchandisers side with OEM parts for their guaranteed quality and warranty, others are drawn to the appeal of aftermarket parts that offer a unique sense of superior quality. It’s wise to be cautious in this day and age when you can encounter counterfeit parts, but all you really need to do is find a reliable, reputable company or reseller. A slew of aftermarket part suppliers offers unparalleled selection and service from OEM counterparts.
Keep in mind that an assortment of OEM parts offers even better performance than what you started with. Aftermarket companies can reverse-engineer the parts and work out the original weaknesses to supply consumers with an enhanced, high-grade component. The process is all about striking a balance between performance, cost, and durability.
If you’re more of a hands-on decision maker, there’s good news here. These aftermarket parts are ideal if you desire to get the most out of what your vehicle can offer on the road. You can also experiment with custom aftermarket parts to rebuild or upgrade your car in a more personalized manner.
Modifications: The Price Tag
OEM parts generally cost more due to their originality and branded name. When shopping for quality car parts, always keep in mind that the best choice factors in your budget, safety, and current lifestyle considerations. You can easily dive into the world of aftermarket car parts from the comfort of your own home. If you have basic knowledge of your car and its parts, you can make informed decisions on quality and price with relative ease.
For those on the hunt for high-performance aftermarket car parts, look no further than Private Label MFG. We believe that top-quality parts and high price tags don’t need to go hand-in-hand. Our company is founded on this idea, and as passionate car enthusiasts ourselves, we want to offer alternative tuning options to consumers that can’t be found anywhere else. For the finest products for your car, browse our top-notch collections by model or part today.