How to Choose Between OEM and Aftermarket Car Parts

May 10, 2022
Natalie Thorburn

Should you buy car parts from an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or an aftermarket seller? A company that sells aftermarket parts sells items that are either not made by the original manufacturer or parts that are sold under a different brand name. In other words, an aftermarket seller is not a manufacturer that produces parts for the original manufacturer, but rather a company that sells parts made by another company. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to know what you're getting before you decide. Here's a quick breakdown of the differences, and how to choose the right parts for your car.

OEM Car Parts

Original equipment manufacturers are the ones who make your car's parts. A manufacturer usually designs the part, then outsources the manufacturing to another company. Since the manufacturer has intimate knowledge of each part and all its specifications, it is a reliable option. When you order an OEM part, you are almost guaranteed to receive the same part that came with your car. Keep in mind that OEM parts are often more expensive than aftermarket parts so remember that when you’re making your decision.

Aftermarket Parts

Different companies make aftermarket parts than those who make original parts for your car. A brake pad may be made by a brake pad manufacturer, an exhaust system by an exhaust system manufacturer, and a catalytic converter by a catalytic converter manufacturer. Although the same type of parts is made by these manufacturers, they do not make them for the original manufacturer. Aftermarket parts can be found online, in car parts stores, or at car repair shops.

Your Specific Needs

As an example, when you need to purchase spare parts for your car, you may struggle with the decision of whether to buy OEM or aftermarket parts. Identifying your needs is the smart way to make this decision. Think about what you need. If, for example, an aftermarket part will work just as well for your car and you want to save some money, then that would be the most sensible option. An aftermarket part can sometimes cost half the price of an OEM. Conversely, if you want to optimize the performance of your newer car or there might be some compatibility issues with an aftermarket part, then an OEM is well worth the cost. Although aftermarket parts are compatible with most cars, some parts may not work on certain vehicles.

There are many different makes of cars and manufacturers that make parts for each. Consider contacting a company that sells Toyota spare parts, for example, if that’s the make of car you own. They can be sure to provide you with good parts for your specific situation.

If you're looking for new parts, you've got many options to choose from. OEM parts are made by the manufacturer of your car, while other companies produce aftermarket parts. Now that you understand the difference between an OEM and an aftermarket spare part, decide based on the compatibility of the parts with your car and your budget.


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