Genuine vs Aftermarket Car Parts – Which Should You Buy?

If you get your car repaired following an accident you have the choice of using either genuine OEM parts, or aftermarket ones to make those repairs.

Both types of parts do have their pros and cons, but it’s important to know the difference so that you can make an informed decision should the situation arise. If you visit your dealership they will always use genuine parts, but if you take your vehicle to an independent garage you will usually have your choice of aftermarket parts, or may not even tell you which type of part you are using, making it all the more useful to have enough knowledge to ask the question.

What is the difference?

A genuine part was made by the manufacturer of your car, and not by a third party. It will be a perfect fit for your make and model, and match the part that originally came with the car exactly.

Usually official OEM parts cost a little bit more than aftermarket ones, but they tend to be made to rigorous safety and quality standards and often last longer, so as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Aftermarket parts were made by a third party, and usually made to fit several different vehicles, not just one single make and model. They may not be a perfect fit for your car, and are often mass produced from cheaper materials.

This is not always the case, however, as some aftermarket parts are made specifically to perform in a certain way. For example, an aftermarket manufacturer may have reverse engineered the OEM part to identify any weaknesses and improve on the original design.

It often depends upon your individual priorities, so you may be happy to deal with a little extra noise from the brakes in exchange for slightly better performance and an aftermarket part may be able to offer this trade off.

Which should you choose?

We spoke to VW Motor Parts who told us “whether you opt for genuine or aftermarket parts is a matter or personal choice, but as a general rule those who own a new vehicle or want peace of mind tend to be better off sticking to genuine parts.”

If you have been involved in an accident and you need bodywork or airbags replacing it tends to be the safest option to choose genuine parts, as you could be risking your life if you use parts that turn out to be unsafe.

Often the airbag deployment is carefully calibrated and using parts that are of a different material or weight to the original parts can affect these calculations. There have also been incidents of fake airbags being circulated such as this investigation in London , so it is important to make sure you always acquire your parts from a reputable source.

Aftermarket parts can be a good choice if you are looking to deliberately modify the way that your car performs, or if your vehicle is very old and spending the extra money on genuine parts is something you would like to avoid.

We hope this has given you a little more insight into what the differences are between aftermarket and genuine car parts, so that you can make an informed choice the next time your car needs any repair.s