Q. Does it really make a difference to use manufacturer specific parts in my vehicle instead of generic parts?
A. There are a few major differences between generic and OEM (Original Equipment Manufactured) parts.
Generic or non-OEM parts (also known as aftermarket parts) are made by anyone other than the original maker of your car. These third-party manufactured parts are compatible with your car, but may be of a lower quality than the original equipment. It’s like that laptop battery that will work with your MacBook, but isn’t a genuine Apple product.
There are a few benefits to aftermarket parts. They’re everywhere. If you’re out of town and need a repair quickly, you probably won’t have to wait for an aftermarket part to be ordered. A generic is on hand that will do the job. They’re typically (although not always) cheaper. But the big downside is that the lower price often means lower quality.
OEM parts are generally manufactured to a higher standard. They have the maker’s name on them and that means something. They can’t afford to put out inferior parts. OEM parts also usually come with a one-year manufacturer warranty, which is often not the case with an aftermarket part. OEM parts also help your car’s resale value.
If you take your car to a service station or private mechanic for work, you should be sure to ask about what parts they use. Your dealership will only use OEM parts, so you know what you’re getting.
One area where it’s critical to make sure you’re getting OEM parts is collision repair. Aftermarket body panels and other exterior parts are often substandard and ill-fitting. Check your insurance policy to see if they cover the cost of OEM parts for repairs.