A Quick Guide To Choosing Replacement Car Parts

If your car breaks down or is involved in a crash and requires repairs, you will need to replace some of the parts with new ones to fix it up. But when you take it to the dealership or local mechanic, how much do you actually know about the type of part that is being fitted?

There is a big difference between genuine and aftermarket car parts, but the average driver may have no idea exactly what they are buying or which they should choose. We thought we’d help you out a little bit if this sounds like you, so read on for our quick guide to choosing replacement parts for your car.

What is the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts?

OEM or genuine parts are those that are made by your vehicle’s official manufacturer and are made specifically to fit your particular make and model of car. They will fit and perform in the same way as the parts that your car rolled off the factory line with, and will have had to pass the same safety tests.

Aftermarket parts are simply any part that is made by another manufacturer, and these can range from cheaply made parts designed to be sold cheaply, or high-performance parts that have been specifically engineered to perform differently to the originals they replace.

Typically any proper modifications are made by car enthusiasts, but for the average driver, we are simply comparing like for like replacement parts.

Safety

We spoke to VW Motor Parts, who told us “when people try to cut corners by buying cheap replacement parts to save money, the one thing they rarely think about is whether or not they might be putting their lives in danger, as well as the lives of others.

For certain parts you really can’t afford to take shortcuts, for example, the police are constantly on the lookout for counterfeit airbags which are extremely dangerous as they would fail to deploy safely in a crash. Unless you are going to your official dealership, you may not be aware of whether your parts are genuine or not.”

Reliability

When cheap parts are manufactured using inferior materials, although they will initially cost you less money, they are more likely to break and need replacing more often, which could end up costing you more in the long run than simply using the official part in the first place.

Aftermarket parts are also often designed to fit several different makes and models of car, and so may not work in quite the same way as the original part. This could end up causing further problems down the line.

Value for money

Whether genuine or aftermarket parts are better value for money will depend on your circumstances and the age of your car, but in most cases if your car is new then you ought to maintain it with genuine parts, as not only will these perform better, but they will help to retain the value of your vehicle.

In some cases where your car is extremely old and you are not too sure how much longer it will last you, seek the advice of a reputable car mechanic to see whether you would be better off maintaining it in the short term with good quality aftermarket parts until you are ready to upgrade your vehicle itself.