Customers who come into our East Bay auto body shop often wonder whether it is best to go with aftermarket or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. This post demystifies that choice by giving background information and going over the pros and cons of each option.
Background on the Options
As the name suggests, OEM parts are made by the manufacturer that produced the car. These parts tend to be perfect fits and are often used at dealerships. As Ronald Montoya at Edmunds puts it, OEM parts “match the parts that came with your vehicle” when it left the factory that produced it.
By contrast, aftermarket parts are made by another manufacturer. For example, Ford OEM parts only come from Ford, but many companies make aftermarket parts that fit Ford vehicles as well. In fact, a single aftermarket manufacturer may create parts for a wide variety of vehicle makes and models.
Pros and Cons
Each choice has pros and cons. If you’re not getting your car fixed at a dealership, then aftermarket parts will usually be a faster option. It may take some additional time, for instance, for a Berkeley auto body repair shop to obtain OEM parts, while it will likely have aftermarket parts already on hand.
Cost is another factor. OEM parts tend to be more expensive, but they deliver peace of mind because an OEM part is guaranteed to be an exact fit. However, many aftermarket parts perform just as well at a fraction of the price. That’s because aftermarket companies can tweak designs to optimize performance, according to Montoya, and have fewer constraints than automakers. Individuals who wish to keep their car in as close to its original condition as possible—collectors, for instance—will usually want to spring for OEM parts, though.
Pros and cons aside, insurance often is the deciding factor. As auto insurance expert Emily Delbridge points out, in many cases, insurance companies essentially make the choice for the customer: Because of the lower cost of aftermarket parts, insurance policies often insist that that be the option used. If a customer truly wants OEM parts in this circumstance, they may need to pay extra. Any Oakland collision repair service provider worth its salt will work with your insurance company to find parts that are affordable for your budget and appropriate for your vehicle.
Find an Oakland Auto Body Shop You Can Trust
Shattuck Auto and Collision Center specializes in a wide array of auto body services, which include but not limited to collision repair, and paint matching. Get in touch with us today by calling 510-848-6281 or by visiting our website, and let’s get your ride repaired.