Most mechanics won’t discuss genuine and aftermarket with you. Generally they have been in the industry long enough to know which is better or necessary for the application. In our experience at GDL this is the case. There are certain car parts that based off previous experience you just never bother with.
However it is helpful if you are a DIY person or just for your own knowledge to understand the difference between Genuine, OEM and Aftermarket parts.
Why Not Always Use Genuine Parts?
In a nut shell it’s the costs involved. Genuine parts are normally (but not always) double or sometimes even triple the price of the aftermarket counterparts. In an attempt to keep the expenditure for customers as low as possible mechanics will often avoid Genuine parts when possible to avoid excessively expensive bills for the customer.
Availability is a factor too. In Australia the main parts hub is actually Singapore. This means that in a lot of cases the parts are not kept in Australia but need to be shipped over once the order has been placed. Ordinarily this is not a huge problem but with he recent supply chain issues caused by covid it can cause significant delays.
The differences Explained
These are parts supplied by the manufacturer of the vehicle and come branded or packaged so that it’s obvious it belongs to that manufacturer. A genuine part is exactly what was fitted to your car when it left the factory.
These parts are basically exactly the same as genuine, right down to coming from the same company that manufactured the genuine parts. The only difference is that OEM parts don’t carry the logo of the car manufacturer. Sometimes, going with genuine or OEM parts is your only option as there may be no aftermarket offerings.
These are parts made by companies other than the original manufacturer and can look and operate completely differently to the genuine/OEM parts. Any given car can have an untold number of aftermarket parts that aim to do the same job as the genuine or OEM parts. However, it’s worth noting that an aftermarket part may do the job better or worse than a genuine or OEM part.
Are aftermarket parts just as good?
At the cheaper end of the aftermarket, parts are generally made with lower quality materials and workmanship in an effort to reduce the cost, so the selling price can be as cheap as possible. This end of the market relies on quantity over quality and appeals to those looking for a quick and cheap solution. These parts are not normally supplied by your mechanic.
Mechanics usually have a few key suppliers of parts, that most local mechanics purchase from. They are companies such as Repco and Bursons auto parts. These companies don’t sell the lower quality parts as they are required to warrant them. Once bitten twice shy. Auto parts companies will always stock reputable brands.
The bottom end of the market is usually products made in factories with less than ideal quality control standards and usually are sold on platforms like eBay and alibaba. Your mechanic is unlikely to be buying your car parts from these companies.
There is a middle ground that majority of mechanics use. As mentioned before it is the companies the whole industry use as suppliers. In a nut shell my advise is to be informed but not to worry. Any decent mechanic will be making the right choice for you and your car.
When do we advise Genuine only?
There are a few circumstances where Genuine is advised and only genuine. These are generally, any electrical component. Sensors, modules or computers of any sort are always advised to go genuine only.
Aftermarket is not available. Some parts don’t have an aftermarket option or the aftermarket option is known to be inferior. Examples are EGR valves, some water pumps, door locks and dash parts.
Vehicle is under manufacturers warranty. The warranty requirements from some manufacturers but not all, stipulate that genuine parts must be used in order to retain the vehicles warranty.