When it’s time to get your car repaired, fixed or even just maintained, do you know which parts your auto technician is using? Are you aware if they’re using brand or generic auto parts and which you’re being charged for?
Because so few of us don’t keep tabs on which parts are actually being used but want to keep costs as low as possible, we’re often willing to overlook that there may be benefits to using OEMs, like Chevy car parts, or brand name parts, even if it does cost a little bit extra.
By examining how each can benefit or harm your car and/or wallet, you become more informed about what you may want to choose for yourself.
What Are the Similarities and Differences?
OEMs, or original equipment manufacturer, are the parts that come with your car when you buy a new car. They are the parts specifically used by the manufacturer for that vehicle.
Should you choose to use only the dealership for car maintenance and repair, these are the brand name parts that they will use. They are similar to brand name car parts, in that they come with a reputation and provide consistency in quality. OEM’s differ from brand and generic auto parts in that they may only be found at the dealership.
Brand name auto parts come as a name like “Bosch” or “Moog” . As with OEM’s, these parts will be more expensive because you’re paying for the name that is put on the product as well as the reputation. Should the brand be highly recognizable and known for its outstanding quality, then you’re paying for that quality as well as the peace of mind.
Generic auto parts are just parts. No brand name attached. If its a screw, it’s going to say “screw” on the package, not “Billy’s Screw” or “Whitney Screw”. There is no brand name attached to generic parts which means it’s not beholden to any standard of quality. It can be as good or bad as it wants because no name is effected by its quality.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Because there are definitely pros and cons to the use of each of these products, let’s take a look at what they are. Information is king and knowledge is power.
Pros and Cons of OEM
Pro: Being the original equipment that the manufacturer is using, you know you are getting the best in quality for two reasons: reputation and warranty. The dealership is going to use their car parts which they ensure will be most compatible with your car. When the vehicle and parts are still under warranty, the dealership guarantees the quality of their work and parts for duration of warranty. You will also have certified technicians working on your car rather than someone who’s credentials you are unsure of.
Con: Because the dealership will be using OEMs as well as certified technicians, the cost of the product and service increase.
Pros and Cons of Brand Name Auto Parts
Pro: Like the OEM, when you buy a brand name product you are paying for the name attached and the reputation that comes along with the quality of that specific brand name. The quality is going to be top notch and usually these parts come with optional warranty or guarantee attached, to ensure that quality is met.
Con: Because these parts are top quality, they’re going to be more costly. Brand names are notoriously more expensive than generic parts for all the reasons listed above.
Pros and Cons of Generic Auto Parts
Pro: The obvious answer here is generic auto parts cost the least. They are plentiful because they are mass produced and shipped to auto body stores worldwide. There is no special ordering so there is not waiting.
Con: It’s a risk. You don’t know what kind of quality you are going to get. New standards for automotive industry require regulations are met, but you won’t have the insurance of knowing there is a name, guarantee or reputation to back up a generic auto body part.
Questions and Answers
For a lot of customer’s, price is the determining factor when choosing car parts. For other’s it’s quality. Sometimes, quality is the compromise for price. Other times, it’s not. There’s a couple things to consider before making the final decision.
Do the car parts I choose make a difference on how well my car runs?
The simple answer to this is yes. The more complicated answer is why. First, you must make sure you’re buying parts that are compatible with your car. Sometimes brand plays into this and sometimes it doesn’t.
If you drive a base model car, most likely a generic auto part will be fine and will have saved you money. However, you may find out that the quality of the product is lacking which may cost you more in the long run in you have to bring your car back to the mechanics or dealership to fix it.
Does year and model matter when choosing auto parts? What about a luxury brand?
Yes, year and model matter when purchasing auto parts. Your technician will know this and should always be choosing the most appropriate part for the model year. If you drive a luxury brand then you are already aware that everything about that car is going to cost more money, from a lug nut to an oil change.
Most items on a luxury brand vehicle have to be special ordered, take time and cost extra. What you want to consider, however, is that you are paying for high quality items and materials. You can choose to use whatever oil you want on your luxury car, but the high quality one is suggested for a reason; to make it run better and longer.
Can I put old parts on a new car?
It’s not a great idea to. Some people hear you need a new car part and get excited about scouring junkyards for the best possible part, but that may not be the best choice for you, especially if your car is less than five years old.
Most cars that have been built within the last five or so years have been made to follow more strict regulations from the government to the auto industry. Therefore, older parts for newer cars are not going to bode well for the longevity you require of your vehicle. It is also, another risk that you may not want to take on a newer vehicle.
Are there newer generic parts that can work on newer cars?
Because brand names operate under large corporations, those corporations usually also own generic manufacturing companies, as well. This isn’t to say that they are all made with the same quality, but it’s to say that parts may be made in the same plant. Recognition that markets exist for both brand name as well as generic parts lets one corporation capture two markets rather than just one.
However, same rules apply: because there is no brand name attached to a generic product, there is still a risk involved when using it. Only a brand name product is going to be able to guarantee quality you want in your vehicle.