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When selecting parts for a car repair, it pays to know the differences between original and aftermarket parts. Whenever possible, get estimates for both.
Choosing between original and aftermarket car parts — and even used parts of either type — is all about squaring your priorities with your budget.
You’ll have different options depending on the part and the shop. And the best choice will depend on whether you’re trying to keep repairs cheap, restore your car’s appearance after a wreck or soup up your ride.
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Before we get into that, here are the key differences:
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts match those that came with your car, and are of the same quality as its original parts. They’re also the most expensive. Aftermarket parts are cheaper, and made by other manufacturers — often several, giving you more options. Used parts may have a bit of wear and tear, but should be inspected or rebuilt to ensure they’ll work. These are the cheapest option. Choosing between aftermarket and OEM parts
Your decision will depend on the type of repair and the quality and price of the parts. Always look for parts that come with a warranty, even if they’re OEM, so you’ll be protected in case they fail.
Auto body repairs
Some aftermarket parts may be OK for auto body repair, but others won’t be as good, says Michael Calkins, manager of technical services at AAA. “There’s a lot of variation in quality.” For example, he says, aftermarket parts often don’t have the same level of rustproofing as original parts, fit and finish don’t match, or panels don’t align properly.
If OEM parts are used in auto body repair, the car should look and work exactly as it did before the damage, because everything will match up. OEM parts are also crash-tested, unlike many aftermarket parts.
Aftermarket parts come at varying price points and levels of quality, but because they are cheaper, insurance companies often prefer them. If you want OEM parts but are dealing with an insurer that wants the shop to use aftermarket parts, ask to pay the difference.
“There’s also the option of used parts, depending on the age of the vehicle,” Calkins says. “It may be cheaper than an aftermarket part but still have all of the original quality.”
A used part, whether it’s OEM or aftermarket, can really save money on repairs under the hood, so long as it’s inspected first and warrantied. And some aftermarket companies reverse-engineer their products to be even better than OEM versions.
For example, many car buffs will tell you that you can get heavy-duty shocks and struts or brake pads that are made of stronger materials. Scan some reviews online, or talk with your mechanic if you’re not sure whether an aftermarket part could be an upgrade.
Adding some extras
If you’d like to modify your ride by adding something like a backup camera or back-seat TV screen, you’ll probably be looking for aftermarket parts. Certain aftermarket upgrades could increase your car’s resale value. This is especially true for improvements like a better sound system or alloy wheels, rather than mechanical repairs.
Who provides OEM or aftermarket parts?
The options you’ll have for parts depends on the nature of the repairs and what type of shop you take your car to:
Dealership repair shops will offer only OEM parts — they have no reason to offer a cheaper product from a competitor Independent mechanics may be able to offer you a choice between OEM and aftermarket parts Independent garages that specialize in your type of vehicle will likely have both, but with quicker access to OEM parts, including used OEM parts, which can really save you Auto body shops can offer both, but if your collision repair is part of an insurance claim, the insurer will likely prefer aftermarket parts to save money Depending on the job, the cost of OEM versus aftermarket parts varies. Whenever you’re given the choice, ask to see estimates for both so you can weigh your options.
By Auto News
One way to avoid a turkey of a Thanksgiving road trip is to make sure the vehicle you will be driving is running well. A 10-minute pre-trip check is a quick and easy way to help avoid the inconvenience of a breakdown many miles away from home, says the non-profit Car Care Council.
The Car Care Council suggests the following pre-trip check to help ensure safety and reliability on the road:
Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Check the hoses and belts that can become loose, cracked, brittle, frayed or showing signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. Check lighting to identify any problems with exterior and interior lighting as the chance of an accident increases if you can’t see or be seen. Check wipers. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months. Make sure the windshield wipers are working properly and keep the reservoir filled with solvent. “A pre-trip vehicle check provides peace of mind,” said Nathan Perrine, executive director, Car Care Council. “Taking proper precautions provides an opportunity to have any repairs performed by one’s own trusted technician before hitting the road, reducing the chance of costly car trouble away from home.”
To save on fuel costs during the trip, the Car Care Council suggests that motorists avoid aggressive driving, observe the speed limit and avoid excessive idling. Gas caps that are damaged, loose or missing should be replaced to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating. The council also recommends that car owners restock their roadside emergency kit.
The non-profit Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For the latest car care news, visit the council’s online media room at http://media.carcare.org. To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at www.carcare.org.
The post Don’t Let Your Thanksgiving Road Trip be a Turkey appeared first on Be Car Care Aware.
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