Aftermarket vs OEM Car Parts Whats the Difference

When you take your car to get repaired, do you take it back to the dealership where you bought it or take it to an independent garage?

You might not think that it’s that big of a deal, but there are a couple of differences, the most important of which is that while the dealership with use OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts, independent garages will likely use aftermarket ones, so what’s the difference?

Aftermarket Parts

Aftermarket car parts are essentially any parts which haven’t been sourced from the manufacturer of the vehicle.

There are lots of companies which produce these parts, which are designed to work the same as the OEM version, but cheaper.

The big difference is that these parts aren’t made specifically to fit your vehicle. Instead, they’re multi-purpose and will fit a few similar vehicles.

This means that inevitably, the performance isn’t going to be quite as good. The fact that there are hundreds of different aftermarket parts to fit one car means that the quality is going to vary greatly and you’ll get what you pay for with cheaper parts, which are made from cheaper materials.

Aftermarket parts could even be dangerous, as you can see in this Jalopnik post.

If you’re not too familiar with cars, this sheer choice of parts that all do the same thing can also be a little overwhelming. Even the simplest of parts may have dozens of different options.

Of course, we’re not saying that all aftermarket parts are bad, but the main reason people choose them is that they’re cheaper, and it’s the cheaper ones which put you at risk, so you might want to think twice.

One final thing to point out is that installing aftermarket parts could count at modifying your car, which could void your warranty. Read more in this post from Autotrader to see how modifications can affect your warranty.


Genuine car parts are those which were made by your vehicle’s manufacturer and will be an exact match for the piece which they are replacing.

The obvious benefit of OEM parts is that you’re getting a much greater assurance of quality.

For more information, we spoke to VW Motor Parts, a genuine Volkswagen parts dealer. They said: “When you choose genuine car parts, you can count on the highest quality. Genuine parts are manufactured to strict quality standards imposed by engineers for an exact fit and precise operation.

“Many non-genuine parts may claim to be of the same quality, but they are not produced to meet the manufacturer’s engineering and material specifications.”

Not only this, but it makes your decision a lot easier. The part made by your manufacturer is the only one you need, so there’s no messing around deciding which brand is best.

Finally, OEM parts always come with a warranty, which can’t always be said for aftermarket parts and it’s good to have that extra peace of mind.

Of course, OEM parts generally will cost a bit more, but probably not as much as you’d think, and when it’s your own safety that you’re putting at risk, surely it’s worth spending that little more extra?