Genuine vs. Knock-Off Car Products
The debate has been waged for decades: authentic vs. knock-off car products. While generic car parts are generally cheaper, are they worth it when it comes to durability and quality? On the other hand, are authentic car parts just a waste of money when a knock-off car product could be just as effective?
If you’ve ever taken your car into a workshop to be repaired or serviced, your mechanic may ask you if you prefer aftermarket or OEM parts. OEM, or Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, are made by your vehicle’s manufacturer and will be identical in every way to the parts currently found in your vehicle. Aftermarket car parts and products are not sourced from your car’s manufacturer but are produced as copies, or ‘generics’, of existing parts. Most independent car shops use aftermarket parts so be aware of this next time you visit one. A car dealership’s service department, however, will only stock their brand of car products like Toyota or Honda parts.
Choosing between the two can be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with the pros and cons of aftermarket and OEM car parts so here’s a handy list:
Aftermarket/Knock-Off Car Products
Aftermarket car products are generally less expensive compared to genuine parts and it is due to this that aftermarket products have become increasingly more popular and desirable.
- Price: Aftermarket parts are less expensive than OEM parts, but savings vary depending on which generic brand is used. Do some research before signing off on which part will be used as your mechanic may stock various brands of the same part with different price points. If the price seems too good to be true- don’t be afraid to ask questions about its quality.
- Quality: In some cases, an aftermarket car product may be better than the OEM part. A knowledgeable car mechanic/salesman should be well versed in this so don’t be afraid to ask questions. The manufacturers of aftermarket parts may reverse engineer the genuine part, so the weaknesses are worked out and the resulting product is better engineered and more durable.
- Variety: Unlike an OEM part, aftermarket car products are manufactured by hundreds of companies. This means better availability of a part as well as the greater selection and a range of prices.
- Warranty: Not all aftermarket parts come with a warranty so always query if the part does have one. Be aware that parts which do come with a warranty may cost a little more.
- Quality Variation: It is true that some aftermarket parts are of bad quality because they are mass-produced with little quality control. It’s important to be familiar with different brands so as to not compromise your car or waste money.
- Selection: Because there are so many manufacturers of car parts today, there is an overwhelming selection of car parts. Being unfamiliar with brands may make choosing a part very difficult and you may run the risk of getting a bad quality part. Stick with the OEM part if there isn’t a significant enough price difference.
Genuine/OEM Car Products
Remember: OEM parts are made by your vehicle’s manufacturer and match the part found in your car exactly. The biggest downside, which most people are familiar with, is that they are more expensive than aftermarket versions.
- Assurance of Quality: Because the part is being made at the manufacturer’s assembly line, there is a better-quality control as all parts are expected to be identical. This is due, in part, to the car manufacturer’s reputation which may be tarnished if they produce bad quality parts.
- Warranty: Most car manufacturers include warranties with their parts to try to influence consumers to use their genuine parts.
- Price: OEM parts are almost always more expensive than aftermarket versions. In addition, because OEM parts are usually only found at official dealerships, the cost of installing them will be greater as opposed to a privately-owned workshop.
- Availability: The availability of OEM parts is severely limited as they are stocked the majority of the time at car dealerships. This means that you may have to travel far distances to your car’s dealerships in order to purchase OEM parts and products.