Aftermarket parts are truck or auto parts that aren’t manufactured by the original vehicle manufacturer (OEM). They include locally-sourced generic parts that are significantly cheaper and more readily available than OEM parts. When the cost of parts is often nearly half of truck repair costs, sourcing aftermarket replacements can lead to significant savings.
However, not all semitruck parts are created equal, and a faulty part can lead to more problems down the road. Below you’ll find the pros and cons of everything from cost to quality and warranty.
How do aftermarket parts work?
Aftermarket truck parts, ideally, work exactly the same as their OEM counterparts. However, that’s not always the case. The major advantage of OEM parts is that they come with a manufacturer guarantee and assurance of compatibility and quality standards. However, without competition, prices can rise. Manufacturers and sellers can charge any price, and in some cases a part may be rare or delayed, leading to extended repair times.
Aftermarket parts can be produced by any other manufacturer and aren’t regulated. Greater competition means greater availability and lower costs. However, there is no guarantee that a particular aftermarket part will fit your vehicle or meet quality standards.
To protect yourself, look for semitruck parts with at least one year of warranty. You can also purchase truck or auto parts that are tested and certified by the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) to ensure quality. With this seal, you can be confident that the part is compatible with the specified vehicles and that it meets or exceeds quality standards.
5 things you need to know about aftermarket parts
If you’re weighing the pros and cons of aftermarket truck parts, consider the price versus quality for your specific needs. Of course, the required part may also play into this decision. Here’s what you need to weigh to make the best decision for your vehicle.
The first biggest and pro of aftermarket truck parts is their cost. Aftermarket prices are cheaper than OEM parts, saving you often unnecessary additional costs. OEM parts can be up to 60% more expensive. Insurance companies usually prefer aftermarket parts for their cost savings.
Lower costs remain a major advantage as long as the quality is comparable. If you’re paying 40% less but have to replace the part annually instead of every five years, the up front cost-savings isn’t worth it. For the parts you need, look at not only cost but manufacturer guarantee and reviews from other users. You can also consult your truck mechanic to recommend parts that have a good cost-to-durability ratio.
You have more of a selection with aftermarket parts, which means you can get exactly what you want. However, greater variety doesn’t always equal greater quality. Not all aftermarket parts are created equal. Because vehicle parts are unregulated, there are definitely parts out there of poor quality and durability being sold.
You can check for quality by looking for the CAPA seal. Consider the manufacturer’s reputation and user reviews to choose a high-quality part.
Your car only has one manufacturer, so OEM parts only provide one option. The car manufacturer essentially has a monopoly on OEM parts. However, choosing aftermarket parts gives you loads of makers to choose from, including many that have built a reputation for quality.
This selection becomes especially important if you need to replace an uncommon part or live in an isolated area where it’s difficult to source certain items. Automobile manufacturers face supply chain delays, which means you could be waiting for an OEM part for weeks or months without an operating vehicle.
Unlike OEM parts, aftermarket parts sometimes come with little or no warranty. Don’t purchase those! The risk is not usually worth the small cost savings. Instead, look for vehicle parts that come with a standard warranty of 12 months or more.
Keep in mind that it’s illegal for vehicle manufacturers to void your vehicle warranty if you choose non-OEM parts. If they tell you the vehicle warranty is voided after choosing aftermarket parts, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Car parts are highly specific. Even within the same year and model of car, variations exist that require slightly different parts. You need to be sure you are working with parts that are compatible with your car. Unlike OEM parts, all other vehicle parts aren’t specifically made for your vehicle. It’s certainly possible to get aftermarket parts that are compatible with your vehicle. It just requires extra diligence or a mechanic’s input to secure the correct parts.
Balancing cost and quality
With research and a mechanic’s advice, you can find aftermarket truck parts that are less costly than OEM parts and offer excellent quality. Aftermarket truck parts that are certified and carry guarantees offer the safety and reliability you need while saving you up to 40%.
Aftermarket parts can provide comparable quality at a lower cost. Check the warranty and compatibility for your vehicle to ensure the greatest value.
Aftermarket truck parts can be as good, or even better than, OEM parts. However, the highest quality vehicle parts will usually cost more than low-cost competitors. Talk to your mechanic about the greatest price-to-quality ratio for the parts you need.
Original parts, often called OEM parts, are made by the original vehicle manufacturer and come with a warranty and guarantee of compatibility. Aftermarket parts are made by any other manufacturer and have varying quality, cost and durability. Some of these vehicle parts are as good as the original, and offer significant cost savings.
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