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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.
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By Jacky Xine
I want to buy some exterior auto parts online for my off-road. I have scanned 3 online stores, including AutoZone, Carid, and Motorshive but have no idea of how to choose.
It seems like all of them are selling the auto parts and the quality of the products is similar. How to choose the best one?
Michelin has launched five new wiper blades designed for safer driving in all weather conditions. The new product lines include two hybrid blades: MICHELIN Cyclone and MICHELIN Storm, two beam blades: MICHELIN Radius and MICHELIN Endurance, and one conventional blade: MICHELIN HydroEdge. The new product lines are now available in retail stores across North America, including Pep Boys, Menards, Benny’s, Mills Fleet Farm, Blains Farm & Fleet and online through Amazon.com. The new MICHELIN Storm wiper blades will be available early 2018.
“We’re pleased to introduce these innovative new wiper blade designs in time for winter weather,” said Steve Harris, Pylon’s new vice president of sales. “Whether a driver selects Michelin’s hybrid, beam or conventional styles, all wiper blades are engineered for enhanced performance in rain, snow and ice. Our priority is to produce exceptional wiper blades for improved visibility and the safest drive possible.”
Hybrid blades combine the windshield-hugging features of a conventional spring-loaded blade with the anti-snow build-up feature of a beam blade for superior streak and noise free wiping in rain, ice and snow, the company says. The MICHELIN Cyclone and MICHELIN Storm hybrid wiper blades feature an exclusive Smart-Flex technology that automatically adjusts wiper blade contact pressure across the curvature of the windshield to deliver outstanding windshield wiping performance. The MICHELIN Storm wiper blades also feature new WeatherShield technology that is infused into the wiper structure to repel rain, snow and ice for superior wiping in the most severe weather conditions.
Michelin’s two new beam blades are equipped with a curved frameless beam design to provide even more wipe pressure for smooth, quiet wipes and improved visibility. The MICHELIN Radius and MICHELIN Endurance wiper blades are designed for enhanced performance in rain, snow and ice. A built-in aerodynamic spoiler grips the windshield under the toughest conditions, and infinite pressure points provide better windshield control. Engineered for durable wiping in extreme weather conditions, the wiper frame and suspension system are covered to protect the blades from clogging with ice and snow.
The new MICHELIN HydroEdge conventional wiper blades are engineered for all-weather performance in rain, snow and ice. An aerovented riveted blade design with multiple pressure points and compression-molded rubber ensures quiet, streak free wipes. The aerodynamic heavy-duty steel frame adds strength and durability.
The new hybrid and beam blades all feature a premium endurance-tested Dura-Glide rubber coating for advanced durability, quieter performance and extended blade life. All new wiper blades include the MICHELIN EZ-LOK Connector System, which attaches to most plastic arm types and allows for hassle-free installation, according to the company