If you’re looking to buy auto parts online or if you want to understand which car parts your mechanic is fitting when you take your car to the garage or body shop here’s what you need to know. 
What's the difference between OEM and Aftermarket Parts? 
This is probably the most frequently asked question about car parts so let’s start with the basics. 
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, the parts are made by the same company that made the specific vehicle. 
Aftermarket parts are made by an independent company and designed to be less specific and more compatible with more makes or models. 
This leads us to the next obvious question…..What’s better OEM or Aftermarket? 
But it’s not necessarily the right question because both have their strong points depending on your circumstances. 
We know every vehicle owner, be it a car, truck, scooter or tuk-tuk, will need to repair their transport at some point. 
For new cars straight off the production line, often for the first few years, the car’s warranty will stipulate it’s serviced at an OEM-approved garage with OEM parts. Using aftermarket parts could void the car's warranty in those circumstances. 
However for used cars over three years old, you have the freedom of choice, and this is where aftermarket parts really come into their own. 
The rise of DIY maintenance 
Those now interested in tackling their own vehicle maintenance will come across the words OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and Aftermarket Parts as soon as they try and source spare parts online. 
So while there might be some hard-core, die-hard OEM supporters who want to keep their car with carbon copies, for everyone else the main considerations come down to quality, availability, performance and price. 
Is there a difference in quality between OEM and Aftermarket parts? 
The short answer is no as all vehicle parts are regulated, have strict standards to meet and are stringently inspected. 
Does using aftermarket parts instead of OEM have an effect on performance? 
Specialised aftermarket parts companies are often able to produce more durable parts than OEM. While vehicle manufacturers will be more concerned about noise, cost, performance, and durability, the aftermarket company’s design will be aimed directly at the performance by working out any weaknesses that may be present in the original design. High-quality aftermarket parts function just as well as OEM parts, if not better. 
Why are aftermarket parts more readily available? 
Because they fit more than one make and model they are more cost-effective to mass produce. This is why independent garages are likely to use aftermarket parts because it's a lot quicker to get hold of them and they fit a broader range of customers' needs. 
Why are OEM parts more expensive than Aftermarket parts? 
They’re not as versatile - they can only be used on a specific model and make - which limits production. 
OEM parts must have some advantages over aftermarket parts surely? 
As the original producer of a vehicle's components their identical so if you’re buying them online there is just one option, which lessens research time. 
While most reputable companies will provide a warranty for their products, sadly, not all will so check before you buy. 
Some insurance companies insist on OEM parts as quality assurance - check your policy before replacing your car parts. 
In the end, it is about personal preference. 
We’d urge you to be an informed customer, shop around, and settle on high-quality aftermarket products that are safe for your car and family. 
Check out our SMIC Autoparts product range safe in the knowledge it’ll be time, and money, well spent. 
Tagged as: product tips
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