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What Are Aftermarket (Non Genuine) Car Parts ?

Educational  ·  March 9, 2019

What Are Aftermarket (Non Genuine) Car Parts ?

When you buy a car from a dealership, you're buying a finished product of a particular brand. Emphasis on the word 'finished'. What this means is that the car you are buying – a Ferrari, Ford, Toyota, you name it – has undergone a series of processes to wind up as a finished product. Different car parts and automotive systems have been combined to create the car that you see and admire. 

While few carmakers build their cars from the ground up, most of them depend on auto parts manufacturing companies for the components of their cars. The parts that these companies supply to the brand are called original equipment manufacturer (or OEM) parts. On the other hand, there are third-party companies that produce aftermarket parts

What are aftermarket car parts?

Aftermarket auto parts are manufactured by companies other than the automaker or the OEM. They are designed to offer similar or better performance as OEM or genuine auto parts. OEM parts come factory-fitted on cars and, for that reason, they are often thought as superior to their aftermarkets equivalent. That isn't always true. 

Aftermarket car parts may have varying qualities, but they are often as reliable as their OEM counterparts, if not better. Since these aftermarket parts are designed to provide the same results as OEM parts, they are the best alternative for anyone looking to fix a broken-down car. As a car owner, you have two options when you want to replace the broken parts in your vehicle: aftermarket parts or original equipment manufacturer parts. Both options have advantages as well as disadvantages. In this blog we'll compare the two.

OEM vs genuine parts

The belief that OEM parts are genuine parts is not entirely correct, although they're practically the same in design and construction. Besides, they're both made by the same OEM. The difference (you can say 'superficial difference') is that OEM parts carry the emblem of a manufacturer (not the automaker), while genuine parts carry the emblem of the automaker. Genuine parts are expensive and quite scarce; for these reasons, you'll most likely find them in the used or refurbished parts section of your favourite auto parts store. You may locate used car parts by sending a request to

Auto parts that carry the automaker's emblem are not necessarily better than aftermarket parts or OEM parts. A genuine part's obvious edge would be that it carries the automaker's warranty. An OEM would carry its manufacturer's warranty.  

Aftermarket vs OEM parts

Choosing between aftermarket and OEM auto parts can be difficult because they have more similarities than disparities. We’ve created a list of pros and cons of aftermarket parts and explain the many misconceptions about OEM parts, to help you make an informed decisions when you source parts for your car.

Pros of aftermarket parts

Asking price: 

This is probably the biggest advantage aftermarket car parts have over genuine and OEM parts. As a matter of fact, it is almost certainly the reason why you're reading this now. The asking price for aftermarket auto parts is more competitive than genuine and original manufacture parts. 

In fact, you can purchase an aftermarket part and save up to 40% off the price for an OEM part of the same caliber. These cheap auto parts will help you save money without compromising quality and design. In some cases, you can purchase an improved version of the OEM parts much cheaper than the ordinary parts offered by your dealership.


Your vehicle was built by one brand or maker; so if you need an OEM part, you don't have a lot to choose from. That's true for any product. The sole maker or supplier dictates the price. This isn't the case with generic, universal or aftermarket parts. There is a wide range of aftermarket manufacturers to choose from. 

Unless you live in the same city as your auto dealer, you won't have a quick access to OEM parts for your vehicle. Imagine leaving your car in the garage for days because the OEM parts for your car aren't accessible in your area. You may even have to place an order for it, then wait for weeks to finally receive it. 

Why waste that kind of time on OEM parts when you can have the equivalent or improved version at a much cheaper price? Cars break down all the time, and they do so without warning. As a car owner, you need to increase your options to get back on the road quickly.

Quality and performance:

Almost anywhere you look you can find a generic or aftermarket parts manufacturer with top quality products of equal or superior standard to the genuine or OEM parts. Even though aftermarket manufacturers design their products to fit a wide range of needs, they use quality materials to make their products. 

Like we said earlier, you get what you pay for with aftermarket manufacturers. However, you can expect the highest-quality aftermarket parts to be cheaper than standard-quality OEM parts or genuine parts. This means you can enjoy the best quality parts without spending too much. What's more, you can find these quality aftermarket parts in your local store.


Some aftermarket auto parts have better designs than their genuine or original manufacturer equivalent. For instance, if you are sourcing a replacement for your car’s headlight, you’ll find aftermarket headlights that are more stylish than the factory-fitted ones. Even though you can get some of these designs from your dealership, they are often more expensive than the aftermarket brands. In other words, when you buy aftermarket parts, you can get the best quality, top-notch design at a ridiculously reduced price. Now that's value for money!

Cons of aftermarket parts

Potentially poorer quality:

We can look at the quality of an aftermarket product from two different perspectives. On the positive, aftermarket parts seem to be the best way to go since they’re manufactured using quality raw materials. But is this quality consistent throughout the range of aftermarket parts? 

Without a doubt, you’ll have access to a wider selection of aftermarket parts, but there may be some disparities in the materials and finished product. When you have too many options, you can wind up with substandard products. What’s more, you can pick an aftermarket part that won’t match your vehicle like an original manufacturer part. When you use substandard products on your car, you expose it to faults and damage. 

The best way to avoid this is to source your aftermarket parts from trusted suppliers. For best results, go with your personal mechanic or ask for a quote from CarPart's certified sellers. Your mechanic should know the best fit for your car. Furthermore, your mechanic will know trustworthy aftermarket manufacturers of the parts you’re looking for.

Too much to choose from: 

What may seem like an advantage to one person can be a detriment to another. The huge variety of aftermarket parts can be overwhelming to some people. It can also result in choosing the wrong part or choosing parts that are not appropriate for your car. This can be avoided by asking a trusted retailer to give you informed advice on the best aftermarkets parts to use for your car. 


Genuine parts and original manufacturer parts come with a guarantee in the event that the parts purchased develop faults before the contract expires – aftermarket parts usually don't. Even when they do come with a warranty, the warranty only covers a short period of time. 

This may pose an issue for anyone who purchases these parts for broken-down vehicles since they won't know that the product is substandard until it develops a fault. To avoid this, purchase your aftermarket parts from a trustworthy retailer who will give you a guarantee on all purchased parts.

Why you should consider aftermarket parts

Deciding on which aftermarket part to buy is to a certain degree like placing a bet. But purchasing genuine and original manufacturer parts can be a bit of a bet, as well. If you need to fix a broken or damaged genuine/original manufacturer part, it's likely that it was produced with inferior materials in the first place.

How should you choose which part to use? Consult your specialist. Do your research online – find out what buyers are talking about. Look at your supplier's website. Does it seem too cheap? If the asking price is too discounted, keep your distance as it's probably inferior. It doesn't make sense to save money on a replacement car part if you need keep replacing it over and over again.

Misconceptions about OEM parts

Assured quality: 

The idea that OEM parts are of better quality compared to aftermarket parts is a misconception. Even though OEM parts are more expensive than aftermarket parts, they are generally of the same quality as aftermarket parts. As a matter of fact, it's not uncommon to find brand-name OEM parts that are inferior to aftermarket parts of the same caliber. The quality you get when you purchase your auto parts is determined by the manufacturer. 

For that reason, it's important that you get your auto parts from trustworthy auto parts manufacturers. If you are not sure of what to look out for when choosing between OEM parts, genuine parts, and aftermarket parts, seek the help of an expert.

Extended warranty: 

It's true that most OEM parts come with a warranty; however, we can't say conclusively that these warranties are better than those of aftermarket parts. Some aftermarket auto parts suppliers give warranties for a period of one year to one-and-a-half years. Depending on the price of the aftermarket parts, the manufacturer can reduce or extend the warranty. 

Easier to choose good parts: 

The idea that it's easier to choose good parts when you're replacing damaged auto parts with OEM parts, is not always true. Here’s why; when you approach a dealership for parts, you’ll have one option only – OEM parts. This implies that you may end up with auto parts that are as problematic as the ones you're replacing. As a result, you’ll be stuck with the same problem without hope for improvement.

Proof that aftermarket parts are equal to original equipment manufacturer parts (OEM)

When you purchase your car directly from a dealership, they’ll advise you as follows: If your car develops faults and you want to replace any parts, contact us and we’ll supply you with good quality parts directly from the manufacturing plant. This is good advice because the parts obtained from the brand’s manufacturing plant will be of good quality. However, they won’t tell you that aftermarket parts and OEM parts have more similarities than disparities. In fact, aftermarket parts are equal to OEM parts. Here’s proof:

Aftermarket parts are designed to function like the original part.

Aftermarket parts are produced by proficient companies that hope to make a profit selling the best quality parts to automakers and car owners. Typically, they produce these parts to fit the specs of the auto manufacturer. This implies that their products are just as good as the ones produced by the automaker, but with different branding and label. 

It’s similar to how top android smartphone producers use parts sourced from third-party producers for their smartphones. For instance, you can find Samsung parts in an iPhone and vice versa. Irrespective of how the tech nerds feel about the two smartphone giants, it is not Samsung versus Apple; it is Samsung AND Apple. This is not a problem – as a matter of fact, everyone benefits from this exchange of parts as it reduces the cost for the brands as well as the consumers.

Aftermarket parts are often produced by the same companies that manufactured the OEMs but sold under different trademarks.

How about we investigate the Silverado Z71? It's a competent brute of a truck, made with top-of-the-line suspension and motor. However, the OEM suspension used in the Z71 is sourced from the same supplier of its aftermarket counterpart. If you look under this truck, you'll see what's written on its OEM suspensions: the factory fitted suspensions of the Z71 are marked with a label that says "Rancho". 

When you approach your trusted automobile parts store for a Silverado Z71 parts replacement, you'll find that the aftermarket version is branded "Monroe". Is that a superior or inferior transition from the original equipment manufacturer part? All things considered, it's not one or the other. Both labels are used by the same company – Tenneco – which produces quality auto parts using the name of both trademarks.

Another example showing how aftermarket parts are equal to OEM parts can be found in the production of brake pads. Most brake pads that come factory-fitted on the car models produced by renowned brands are sourced from aftermarket parts producers. 

For instance, GRI –  a renowned producer of a great deal of OEM brake pads – produces several aftermarket brake pads with similar specs as the OEM brake pads. These brake pads are supplied to renowned car brands and installed as OEM parts. Having a hard time believing this? Google "MAT Holding Inc". You’ll notice that their list of aftermarket and OEM parts are integrated. This should tell you one thing; aftermarket parts = OEM parts in many cases.

We told you earlier that we’ll be showing you how aftermarket parts contrast with OEM parts, and we’ve shown you how aftermarket parts are equal to OEM parts. Now let’s dive into why aftermarket parts are considered superior to OEM parts.

Aftermarket parts can be tuned to provide better performance than OEM

One of the main advantages of sourcing your car parts from aftermarket parts stores is their quality and superiority. Most of the time, the aftermarket parts offered by auto retailers have been tuned to offer better performance than the factory fitted parts. The manufacturers of these tuned aftermarket parts offer greater variety than the automaker or brand. They offer their products to match their customer's financial capabilities. As the saying goes; you get what you pay for, nothing more nothing less. 

I know it seems like a hoax that a third-party company can produce parts that are superior to the ones supplied by the car brand itself. Be that as it may, innovation progresses, and aftermarket car parts makers stay aware of the changes, looking to improve these parts. 

But then again, the original equipment manufacturer does little or nothing to improve their products in light of the fact that their products are already in the market or outdated. It may not be overly economical to improve outdated parts; however, when the entirety of your business focuses on building parts, it bodes well for you to create parts that are much better than those of your competitors. 

With aftermarket parts, proprietors can have access to an improved version of the damaged parts in their cars long after the brand has stopped the production of the OEM part. Since the improved aftermarket version is expected to last longer than the obsolete OEM counterpart, car owners will get value for their money. Moreover, aftermarket parts are accessible at a greater number of spots than the dealership.

Car parts that are available in the aftermarket market

Apart from the engine and chassis of a car, almost any part contained in a vehicle’s framework can be sourced from third-party parts manufacturers or aftermarket parts suppliers. Even intricate parts like the transmission of the car, clutch and brake system are sourced as aftermarket parts from third-party manufacturers. 

If you’re looking to get aftermarket parts for your broken-down vehicle, here are a few categories of aftermarket parts available in the market.


Even though a car’s transmission is regarded as one of the most intricate components of the car, some auto brands contract aftermarket parts manufacturers to make it for them. It’s a waste of time for automakers to invest time and resources into the creation of a car’s transmission when they can get any of the numerous aftermarket parts manufacturers to do it to their specs. In some cases, even better than their specs.  

Brake pads

When you are sourcing for brake pads replacements for your automobile, you’ll have to make a choice between aftermarket brake pads and OEM brake pads. Even though OEM brake pads are hyped to be the best, aftermarket brake pads tend to offer more, performance-wise. 

In addition to their performance, they offer a wide assortment of compounds, for instance, you can find the improved ceramic aftermarket version of your OEM brake pad. They are also designed to have a better appearance than their OEM counterparts. Usually, the brake pads that are produced by aftermarket auto parts manufacturers are more fashionable than OEM parts and come in many different colors.

Sound systems/devices

Believe it or not, the radio in your Mercedes is manufactured by a third-party company contracted by your carmaker to create a sound system for your car. Automakers know how much it will cost them to create these kinds of gadgets. You may think that a radio is a small part of your car, but you'll miss it if it's not there. 

Automakers know that their customers crave perfection, which is why they contract aftermarket sound system manufacturers to produce these parts for them. Most aftermarket manufacturers focus on one item; which is why they are the best at what they do. This is why aftermarket parts are probably the best substitute for the broken parts in your car.


You’ll find a wide variety of your car’s suspension at your autoparts store. You can expect to find quality suspensions from aftermarket manufacturers like Bilstein, KW suspensions, Koni, KYB, Monroe and so on. These aftermarket suspensions are usually cheaper than OEM suspensions of the same caliber. You can also request for upgraded suspensions that are tailored for your car’s model. This is one of the advantages of aftermarket auto parts.

Clutch system

Aftermarket parts manufacturers usually supply advanced clutch systems that automakers use for their cars. When these clutches fail or break down, car owners can supplant them with aftermarket alternatives.

What is the best choice for your car?

When you are looking to replace damaged car parts, bear this in mind - the quality of aftermarket parts varies with price, while the quality of all original equipment manufacturer parts doesn't. If you're acquainted with various automakers, or you are an auto expert, aftermarket parts can spare you a great deal of cash. On the other hand, if you're inexperienced, or you want to stay loyal to your dealer and are not worried about spending more for that genuine feeling of serenity, OEM is a fitting selection for you. 

Aftermarket parts are the best options when it comes to replacing damaged parts with improved parts. If you are working to improve the performance of your car, you should consider going for aftermarket auto parts instead of OEM parts.

Did you enjoy reading this blog about aftermarket parts? Try reading How a Diesel Engine Works.

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