A smooth-running vehicle is what all vehicle owners aim to have. Above all, safely ensuring proper maintenance throughout the vehicle’s lifetime is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth drive. But then, as we all know, as the years go by, vehicle upkeep and maintenance increases as it gets older, not to mention the cost of parts and components also increases.
Vehicle owners face a choice of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts or aftermarket parts. Aftermarket parts are considerably cheaper, but the price point shouldn’t be the only consideration for vehicle owners when fixing up their motors.
If you’re in the market for aftermarket parts, you want to leave the transaction knowing you’ve made a value-added purchase that comes with quality and reliability, and one way to do this is by understanding the value that aftermarket parts bring to your vehicle, should you choose this option.
What Are Aftermarket Parts?
Understandably, purchasing aftermarket parts is knowing what they are. Aftermarket parts are fabricated by a company other than the vehicle’s original manufacturer. For instance, you have a Ford SUV that has seen better days, and you’d like to change its O2 sensors. Instead of going for the Ford OEM part, you go for the aftermarket parts. Keep in mind that aftermarket parts are NOT used parts. They are brand-new, made by third-party manufacturers. In the example above, these parts aren’t made by Ford. The main concern with aftermarket parts is that they may not fit perfectly the same way the OEM parts would.
That said, aftermarket parts are equally good and equally safe as their OEM counterparts, and are usually sought-after by owners of older vehicles as they cost less. This cost factor makes a lot more sense to outfit an older vehicle, considering vehicles are liabilities. They don’t increase in value, so there’s no sense in purchasing brand-new parts unless necessary.
Here are five elements to look into when you shop for aftermarket parts:
1. The Type Of Aftermarket Parts
There are two main types, and knowing the difference between these two can help you make a better decision on the repairs done on your car, and whether or not you should choose an OEM part or an aftermarket part.
- Cosmetic aftermarket parts
These parts have an impact on the function and the looks of a vehicle. These parts are those such as the door skin, fender, or trim. They don’t affect the safety of the vehicle in a crash. Because none of these cosmetic parts chance a car’s crashworthiness or safety, vehicle owners can source aftermarket parts based on their availability and warranty. As long as they are well-made, good-quality, and reliable, these parts shouldn’t impact your vehicle’s safety or warranty in any way.
- Structural parts
These components are like safety cages and hoods. These car elements directly impact the safety of the car, absorbing shock in the event of an accident or crash. If you’re getting aftermarket structural parts, make sure it comes with a Certified Automobile Parts Association (CAPA) certification. This certification ensures that these parts have the highest standards and adhere to the aftermarket parts’ guidelines. CAPA certification is given to parts that have been tested and proven to have the ‘functional equivalence’ of OEM parts. This means that these aftermarket parts perform the same in safety tests just like the OEM ones, instead of just looking the same.
2. Understand The Requirements Of Your Insurance Company
Since the state regulates insurance companies, this means that the decision to use aftermarket parts depends on state regulations. Some may require consent from the customer, some don’t, some states don’t even allow aftermarket parts. Speak to your insurance adjuster on these specifications before purchasing and including them in your car.
3. The Costs Of Aftermarket Parts
Aftermarket parts are considerably cheaper than OEM parts, which can be extremely expensive. Sometimes, when it comes to repairing an older vehicle, these costs don’t bring value to the overall function of a vehicle. When it comes to repairing a car after an accident, parts take up almost half of the bodywork cost, so using aftermarket parts saves money on the overall cost of repair. Your insurance company may favor this, too, since it means less compensation.
4. Your Selection Of Aftermarket Parts
One car, one OEM manufacturer – that’s the rule. But then, with aftermarket parts, you have heaps of producers to choose from, such as from https://www.dpfpartsdirect.com/. The variety of selections means the competition is ripe, resulting in lower prices of parts for vehicle owners to choose from, not to mention more convenience. You can find an aftermarket version at your local mechanic store, but the OEM version would need to be ordered, which could delay repairs.
5. The Quality Of These Parts
Well, of course, where you buy your aftermarket parts also matter. Some aftermarket parts could even surpass the superiority and safety of the OEM version. Whatever you do get, make sure they come with CAPA certification.
Deciding On Your Aftermarket Parts
All in all, you want value for money from the parts that you choose, whether it’s OEM or aftermarket. Sometimes, an OEM part may be too expensive to justify the replacement for your vehicle. It’s a stake with OEM parts, too, because if you’re replacing a worn-out or shattered OEM part, that could also mean the issue would repeat, or the issue is the OEM part itself.
Speaking to your mechanic can help you choose the best way forward for your vehicle, as you have a professional opinion and your judgment to weigh the pros and cons. Checking out forums and online groups on users’ opinions can also help you make a better decision.
If you’re on the lookout for aftermarket parts, cheaper doesn’t always mean better, especially if they aren’t of good quality. Always check who the manufacturers are and their reputation in the vehicle market before you make a purchase.