OEM vs aftermarket mechanical car parts - What are the pros and cons of each?

<i>Image: Motorpress</i>
<i>Image: Motorpress</i>

There shouldn't even be a debate as to whether aftermarket parts can be compared to that of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) ones.

OEM parts will always be better no matter what because it is a component specifically made for a car. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that they can only be purchased at a dealership and is almost always very pricey.

Weighing up options

If you're fortunate enough to be driving a new car where all the plans and warranties are in place, then you have nothing to worry about regarding mechanical parts for quite some time.

READ | Good news, car owners! You can now acquire insurance for 36 critical vehicle components

The vast majority of South African motorists makes use of used vehicles as Autotrader second-hand sales indicate since the pandemic has left the economy reeling these past few months.

According to Autotrader CEO George Mienie, second-hand cars are very much in demand.

"Searches for second-hand vehicles under R50 000 have increased by almost 300% versus normal pre-lockdown levels," he said.

Choosing to go with OEM or aftermarket parts is dependent on a number of factors like the preference of the owner, budget and the type of car it is being fitted to.

                                                                     Image: iStock

Most mechanical components of your higher-end cars like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus can only be sourced straight from the dealership because of the amounts of technology that those cars have and make use of.

This is where the big bucks get spent if out of warranty, and a quotation of R50 000 upwards is not shocking. In some cases, the very same part you are forking arduous amounts of cash for can be bought at your local parts store but because the car is of higher spec owners will rather not take the chance.

Many local mechanics actually suggest to buy all the parts needed for a service at the dealership and then just have it fitted elsewhere. You are at the mercy of a dealership if you're not covered with warranties etc.

Still does the job

Some people often classify aftermarket as fake parts which is not entirely the case.

The great thing about aftermarket parts is that they are much cheaper than OEM's but it is also widely available.

For example, if you're going to your local Midas, Autozone, or Masterparts centre and enquire about a specific part, there will be more than one brand to choose from depending on your budget.

air filters

                                                      Image: Motorpress

With that, you tend to get advice from the person behind the teller as to which one is designed closer to the manufacturer's specification.

While the pricing and availability is a definite plus, aftermarket parts do have their downside. There is a risk that choosing an inferior part, and this impacts performance when choosing parts from the lower spectrum of the price range.

There are several reputable aftermarket brands that lasts just as long and does the same job as OEM ones. Sometimes choosing the cheapest option isn't always the best as quality can be compromised.

Disclaimer: Wheels24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of contributors/columnists published on Wheels24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24 or Wheels24. 

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