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Aftermarket Car Parts vs Genuine Parts – Everything You Need To Know

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When something goes wrong with your vehicle, depending on whether you take it to an official dealer or an independent garage, they will use either genuine parts or aftermarket parts to make repairs – but what is the difference?

We are going to run through everything you need to know about the differences, benefits, and things to watch out for when it comes to aftermarket vs genuine parts.

Quality

The quality of aftermarket parts has improved in recent years, and some may be just as good as official OEM parts. There is more competition between aftermarket manufacturers, and they will often try to reverse engineer the parts to eliminate certain flaws.

However, the quality varies greatly between brands, and often lower quality materials are used making the parts inferior. Unless you have the experience to know your aftermarket brands and which you can trust, you run the risk of buying a part that may cause you more problems down the line.

Warranty

There are few things to bear in mind when deciding between genuine or aftermarket parts when it comes to warranty.

If your vehicle is still within its warranty period, using unofficial parts may void it, meaning you have to pay for anything that goes wrong rather than being covered. While this is not always the case, it is well worth clarifying this before you go ahead and install any aftermarket parts.

As well as this, OEM parts themselves often come with quite a lengthy warranty, so it is worth factoring this in to your decision. If you run into difficulties with your OEM part that is covered, you could get it replaced free of charge, even though it may initially cost you a little more than an aftermarket part. As often aftermarket parts do not come with a warranty, so you could end up paying out even more in the long term.

Safety

Another thing to bear in mind, is the safety implications of having aftermarket car parts installed in your vehicle.

VW Motor Parts told us “Official parts are made specifically to fit your exact make and model of car, and as such you know that they are going to fit correctly and work as intended.”

Often aftermarket parts are made to fit more than one vehicle, or are made using different materials. While this is sometimes not an issue, in some circumstances it can cause incompatibility issues which can be serious. For example, installing aftermarket parts can affect the timing of the airbag deploying, which could be extremely dangerous should you be involved in a collision.

This article from consumer reports highlights the dangers identified with aftermarket parts from a study conducted by Ford.

Ultimately many people choose to use aftermarket car parts because they are often cheaper, but if you do not have a lot of experience with aftermarket brands and which you can trust to provide you with safe and reliable parts, we would recommend that you instead opt for genuine parts manufactured and installed by your car’s official dealership. It’s simply not worth the risk.