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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.
The leadership of National Pronto Association and Automotive Distribution Network announced today the merger of the two organizations. As of Jan. 1, 2021, the newly formed organization will be known as the Pronto Automotive Distribution Network.
Headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, Pronto Automotive Distribution Network will be led by Robert Roos as president and David Prater as executive vice president. The combined organization will represent more than 250 members in North America with an estimated revenue of approximately $5 billion annually. Members will continue to market under the Pronto, Parts Plus and Auto Pride names.
In addition, Pronto Automotive Distribution Network, together with Federated Auto Parts, will comprise the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group).
“Pronto members and staff are excited to partner with the Network team. The similarities between our two groups are significant, making the transition into one company a much easier path,” said Roos. “This merger will benefit Network and Pronto members, as well as our valued vendor partners, by increasing our membership footprint throughout North America and helping to ensure our collective future viability. In addition, the merger will enhance our position within The Group, working alongside our partners at Federated. I can’t think of a better way to start off the new year.”
“By forming the Pronto Automotive Distribution Network, we will have the ability to build on past success, make a greater impact in the marketplace, and identify more ways to benefit our members, supplier partners and associates,” added Prater. “Because the aftermarket is always evolving, taking this proactive step and merging two of the major program groups will help ensure our combined membership is well positioned to compete and achieve mutual success well into the future.”
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Uni-Select Inc. announced that, effective June 1, 2020, Uni-Select Canada Inc. has joined the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Inc. (the “Alliance”), the premier global network of independent automotive warehouse distributors, thus forming the largest Canadian group in this sector.
Uni-Select Inc. is a leader in the distribution of automotive refinish and industrial coatings and related products in North America, as well as a leader in the automotive aftermarket parts business in Canada and in the U.K.
“We are glad to join the Alliance as we are both driven by entrepreneurial spirit and have a strong commitment to the aftermarket,” said Brent Windom, president and CEO of Uni-Select. “This association will enable Uni-Select to accelerate our technological development while reducing development time to deliver world-class data management metrics across our customer spectrum. While both organizations and their respective brands will remain fully independent, we expect that our collaboration will drive increased brand recognition for Bumper to Bumper in North America and will maximize the impact of our newly launched Bumper to Bumper Auto Service program.”
Added John R. Washbish, president and CEO of the Alliance, “Uni-Select is an outstanding company led by some fine people, some of whom I have known for decades. They have an extensive footprint and an even more impressive reputation, and we are delighted to welcome them to the Alliance. We are confident this relationship will be mutually beneficial, and we look forward to working together and supporting our channel partners.”
With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) changing both daily life and business practices at a rapid pace, many automotive aftermarket businesses are taking preventative actions to stop the spread of the virus, as well as offering words of assurance for customers and employees during these tenuous times. Below is a round-up of messages from around the aftermarket regarding COVID-19 response.
From Auto Care Association President and CEO Bill Hanvey:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the auto care industry,
With respect to managing your inbox, I’ll keep this brief. We understand that due to the COVID-19 pandemic that these are times of uncertainty and stress for you, your business and your families. No doubt you have received countless emails offering advice and or services related to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past week. My message is simple: the Auto Care team is operating as normal on your behalf using technology to ensure communication within our industry is still taking place. My team and I are here to assist in any way we can.
We’ve put together a page with links to resources including safety guidelines, resources and contacts from the association as well as trusted authorities. Have something helpful to add to the list? Feel free to reply to this email and we’ll add it so the entire industry can benefit. There, you’ll also find the most up to date information on the status of upcoming events and we promise to keep you informed with additional communications as necessary.
To everyone: stay safe, stay healthy and don’t hesitate to reach out.
Lucas Oil Emphasizes Health and Safety In Response to COVID-19 :
In response to the recent news surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Lucas Oil Products executives, Forrest and Morgan Lucas, have shared the following update with Lucas’ loyal customer base around the world. As we all continue to navigate these uncertain times, the team at Lucas Oil would like to remind everyone health and safety are the number one priority.
These are unprecedented times which we are all in together, and the information we receive is changing rapidly. All of our families, our businesses and our communities are affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and it is changing the way we interact with one another and the way we do business. As we navigate this new environment, Lucas Oil Products is reaching out to share with you our Continuity of Operations Plan and the steps we are taking to mitigate the risk this pandemic poses.
Our first priority is the safety and well-being of all, and our hearts go out to those impacted, in any way, by COVID-19. We thank the healthcare employees and first responders who are working tirelessly to care for all those in need.
At Lucas Oil, we are focusing our efforts on the health and safety of our employees, families and communities. Through this, we have implemented alternative work locations to encourage employees to work remotely. For employees that must be in a Lucas Oil facility to perform their work, we have implemented alternative scheduling and distance requirements to ensure we maintain operations while minimizing employee risk. In addition to the above steps, employee travel has been temporarily suspended. These changes were implemented to protect the health and well-being of our employees, and while they may pose some change in your day to day interactions with Lucas Oil, they are designed to minimize the potential for business interruption and ensure we maintain full operational capabilities.
Lucas Oil is the owner and operator of many of your favorite grassroots motorsport’s events. While we never like to miss a race, we are following the CDC’s guidelines and postponing activities where large crowd gatherings occur. We look forward to re-launching our events once it is safe for all to attend, and we are excited to return to everyday life where we can enjoy the races with our family and friends.
Throughout all of this, the Lucas Oil team remains focused and committed to working with each of you to ensure we continue to meet and exceed your expectations on our orders and commitments. We are here for you and just as committed as ever to you, our customers and partners.
We thank you for your business and more importantly, your friendship. Please be safe and exercise extra precaution during this challenging time.
A message from PartsTrader CEO Steve Messenger:
Dear Valued PartsTrader Clients,
I am writing you today, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, to assure you that we have put in place the necessary measures to keep the health and safety of our PartsTrader employees paramount, while ensuring we continue to deliver world-class customer care.
As you know, the events of the past days and weeks have been unprecedented, and our team continues to monitor and navigate this rapidly changing situation along with the rest of the world. We are complying with CDC guidelines, as well as following the guidance of national and local officials regarding COVID-19.
We are taking all necessary precautions to help keep our employees safe, while still allowing our Customer Care Center to remain operational, providing the same level of customer service you’ve come to expect from our dedicated team. We are maintaining our normal business hours of operation and our team of committed Customer Care Representatives will be available to help solve any issues and answer any questions.
If you do have questions or concerns regarding your customer experience, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Care Center and we will promptly provide assistance.
At PartsTrader, we are prepared for events like those now taking place and we are fully committed to continue delivering normal operational efficiency for our customers.
Thank you for your time and please be safe.
AFA Industries Heavy-Duty Engine Parts and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Most important to us is the safety and security of our employees, their families, and our customers.
Accordingly, we are taking steps to address the concerns created by the COVID-19 outbreak. With the increasing health advisories, vigilance, and actions being taken at local, state, and federal levels we are limiting travel and face-to-face meetings for AFA employees. Instead, we will restrict such activities to conference calls, email, Skype and other digital formats.
The following actions are being taken by AFA effective immediately and until further notice to ensure the safety of all concerned:
* No off-site meetings until the crisis is over.
* No non-AFA employees will be permitted on-site
* Truck Drivers are required to stay in their vehicle or outside of the facility during
the loading and unloading process.
Please note that while there is uncertainty in many areas of our markets, During this crisis AFA remains committed and ready to supply the products you need to operate your business as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Thank You And Stay Safe.
VP Racing Fuels Continues To Power Global Motorsports:
VP Racing Fuels, Inc., a global leader in performance fuels, lubricants, and additives, continues to supply race fuels, coolants, and lubricants to race series and teams, despite the economic challenges caused by COVID-19. VP continues to maintain sufficient inventory and transportation to supply all professional and amateur race customers around the world.
“Product quality and delivery excellence are what we’re known for,” stated Alan Cerwick, VP’s President and CEO. “Amidst this challenging business climate, we remain committed to providing our race and retail customers with product availability and on-time delivery to support their business operations. Our product demand remains stable, and we continue to sign new race series and distribution relationships in 2020.”
From Armor Protective Packaging:
“Dear Customers and Partners,
We recognize that with the constantly changing COVID-19 situation around the world, this is an unprecedented time for everyone — a time that, for many, is filled with uncertainty. Our hearts and thoughts go out to each and every one of you.
I want you to know you have our commitment to continue providing you with the products and services you depend on. For more than 40 years, ARMOR has put relationships with our partners, team members and the community at the forefront. This enduring mission continues to guide us as we closely monitor, assess and respond to this pandemic.
ARMOR is following the recommendations of health authorities as well as the directives issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These include but are not limited to:
• Enforcing protocols for any employee that has been in proximity of the virus or is symptomatic
• Eliminating all non-essential travel among our teams and restricting access to our facilities
• Expanding the deep cleaning and sanitation efforts at our facilities
• Activating remote work scenarios for team members wherever possible
• Practicing social distancing in any situation where interactions are unavoidable
The majority of the items that are used in the production of our products are sourced domestically. At this time, ARMOR does not anticipate any raw material supply challenges, or disruption to our production. If the situation arises, we are prepared to manage through the emergency.
Should any of our facilities be impacted by COVID-19 in the future, we have multiple extrusion locations, redundancy in coating lines in the US and Canada, and our Stock & Ready inventory is a built-in emergency supply reserve to draw from as well. These redundancies should mitigate any potential disruptions. We appreciate your continued trust in ARMOR to protect both your parts and reputation.”