Understanding the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts is important for UTV, snow, dirt bike, and other off-road lovers. Off-roading exposes a vehicle to dust, dirt, water, and mud, which causes parts to wear out quicker. It is tough on the auto body and components, and even if you stick to casual fire roads and perform a regular maintenance check, pushing things to the limit will ultimately wear and tear your car parts down. If you want to avoid breakdowns and continue running smoothly when you’re out on the trail and traveling at high speeds, you need to be prepared for auto body repair and parts replacement at some point.
Whether it’s changing a brake pad or collision repair, you will face the decision of OEM part vs aftermarket. When it comes to choosing OEM or aftermarket parts, it’s best to understand the differences and why one option may work best for your personal preferences.
OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts
There are two options to choose from when buying a motorsports part:
- New parts or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
- Parts manufactured by a third-party company (Aftermarket)
OEM parts and aftermarket parts each have their pros and cons. To help you find out which kind will work best for you, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between OEM and aftermarket parts.
- OEM parts. These parts are not made by a third-party, but by the car’s manufacturer. Because they are made directly by the manufacturer, they perfectly fit the specifications of a particular vehicle make and model.
- Aftermarket parts. These parts are not made by the original manufacturer but by a third-party company. Aftermarket car parts can be made to fit the specifications of various types of vehicles (not a single vehicle or model) and can be produced at high volume. They are similar to OEM parts in quality, are often much cheaper, but may not be a perfect fit.
Which Parts are Your Best Bet?
OEM parts come straight from the original manufacturer and may fit your vehicle perfectly. However, it doesn’t mean that they are the best for you, particularly if your hope was to save money. Because OEM parts come from the original brand, they typically also come with a higher price tag compared to aftermarket parts.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal preference. Owners of a brand-new vehicle and car enthusiasts who are concerned about the car’s warranty or resale value typically request OEM auto parts because they are considered genuine. On the other hand, off-roaders understand how much stress their vehicles are put through, so they often prefer getting aftermarket parts because they are cheaper. Those familiar with aftermarket brands also know that aftermarket parts can sometimes be higher in quality than the original.
To many vehicle owners, it definitely matters what kind of parts they will use. If you want to keep the vehicle closer to its original state, you can only do it by getting original equipment from the vehicle manufacturer. Car insurers can also be particular about auto insurance if you repair your vehicles with aftermarket parts from an unreliable brand or source. For example, an insurance company may question insurance claims against a vehicle manufacturer after discovering the car no longer runs on its original parts.
However, today’s market for motorsports vehicle parts is highly competitive, and third-party companies reverse-engineer the original parts to remove any issues or shortcomings and provide a better solution. In this sense, aftermarket parts can be considered compared to the original. And even an insurance agent can recognize that, particularly if they are familiar with aftermarket brands.
Aftermarket companies recognize that carmakers can make compromises regarding the performance and cost of every vehicle component. Aftermarket companies can often be more creative and nimbler when it comes to specialty items, such as suspensions and brakes. Some aftermarket parts manufacturers can offer unparalleled quality, but not all aftermarket products on the market today can beat OEM quality. In the battle between OEM vs aftermarket, it is important to recognize which aftermarket parts are considered superior compared to their OEM versions. Look for the ones that boast the best reputation based on online reviews and years in the business of delivering unbeatable quality.
Both aftermarket and OEM parts come either new or used. For example, when independent shops or dealerships order a part for a specific vehicle, but the part never gets sold, that part is called NOS (New Old Stock). Also, certain parts get produced by a manufacturer in anticipation of demand that never materialized. Aftermarket parts and accessories can also be new or old, and when buying a NOS part, it is important to buy from a trusted seller and look at product documentation.
Where Can I Get the Best Part Selection?
When it comes to OEM parts, you only have the original brand to consider, and there are usually just a few configurations of one item. When you get a genuine part, you have peace of mind that it fits perfectly and will ensure the same vehicle performance. Compared to shopping for aftermarket products, it makes the decision a bit easier. Usually, there might be dozens of different aftermarket brands, each bringing its own design based on desired performance or fitment specification.
With aftermarket, you need to narrow your options down to exactly what you believe works best for your auto repair needs. This also means that you have to spend more time learning about those products to make sure you get what works as intended. The research is often worth your time if you consider that an aftermarket part can provide better quality for a lower price. Those familiar with aftermarket brands would say that aftermarket parts offer the right balance between cost and quality.
All OEM parts are created equal, but not all aftermarket parts are. That’s why it’s essential to understand all the pros and cons or both. Aftermarket parts can save you a fortune if you work on your own vehicle or are familiar with various aftermarket brands. Some of these brands have been in business for decades, earning a reputation for undeniable quality. Read through the pros and cons of both options to make a well-informed decision and get the most out of your off-roader.
On the one hand, OEM versions of many preowned vehicles are limited and more expensive, but you can’t get some parts unless they are OEM. On the other hand, aftermarket parts bring the same (or better) quality and can be purchased at a lower price. MX PowerPlay sells quality parts that are comparable to OEM for a better price. You also get more variety when looking for aftermarket parts.