Navigating your way through the spare part market can be a nightmare. There are thousands of options and a vast range of prices. So, it’s hard to know what you’re buying. All parts are not created equal. So, let’s take the sales hype out and examine what you get and if it’s up to the job.
A Genuine part is a safe bet because this component was originally fitted to your car when it was new. It’s made by the manufacturer, specifically for their brand of cars. Millions of dollars are spent every year researching and developing these parts for durability and longevity. Genuine parts are a way you can be sure that you are using a product with proven safety standards.
People may tell you that genuine spare parts are expensive, because you’re paying for the brand. Not true… you’re paying for quality and a pre-determined standard of manufacture. Genuine parts don’t come in plain packaging. They have the maker’s logo and specifications on the box (and often on the part itself), so that you know you’re buying the real deal.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)
Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM are parts made by the vehicles manufacturer. Again, they’re exactly the same as the part that was originally fitted to your car. They just don’t bear the logo.
While car makers manufacture bodies, chassis, engine blocks, drive lines. The other major components, like hoses, lights, tyres, electronics and gauges are manufactured by others. It’s a huge and regulated industry.
These parts are not replicas, they are the same as genuine parts and will work exactly like the one you are replacing. Because the vehicle was originally fitted with an identical part, you will have peace of mind in its compatibility and performance. Most OEM parts are better value and are covered with a one-year warranty.
Aftermarket parts are made by a company other than the original manufacturer. The problem is, that they can vary significantly in quality and price. Aftermarket spares can be cheaper than a genuine or OEM part, making them appear good value for money. But not always. The biggest niche for aftermarket parts is the modified performance car market.
This includes modified street cars, track, rallying or drag cars. In some cases, aftermarket parts have been developed and engineered to out-perform the original part and these specialist parts are expensive. Performance modification is a realm for the experts, because there’s always a risk when you modify or adapt the vehicle to operate past its original design specification.
The risks of using genuine or OEM parts is minimal, because you’re using something tried and tested in an application that it has been designed for.
Aftermarket spares may be a higher risk because the quality is variable and it’s not always obvious at first glance. The saying “you get what you pay for” is especially true here.
Some products are inferior because they use of low grade materials. The few dollars you may have saved upfront can quickly turn into hundreds of dollars when the part fails, meaning you end up paying twice to get it fixed.
As with everything, there’s no substitute for experience. If you’ve got any questions about parts for your Audi, VW, or Skoda, talk to your trusted mechanic and be guided by them or call us on 9309 3636 for all your service and maintenance needs.