We’ve all been in that situation: a pricey aspect of your vehicle fails, forcing you to replace it. You’ll presumably research the GM parts (or any other applicable manufacturer) and find that these specific add-ons are rather pricey. You’ll subsequently come across some aftermarket parts that are considerably less expensive. However, does the fleeting financial benefit of these parts outweigh the other negatives?
Below, we’ve relied on several internet users and we uncovered three major downsides to pursuing these aftermarket parts. Yes, there’s no denying the brief financial benefit of this route. However, when you begin to read some user testimonials, you’ll start to understand that there are a variety of downsides that accompany this route. For instance, these parts tend to last for a shorter amount of time than their manufacturer-produced counterparts, and they could also compromise other areas of your vehicle.
Continue reading below to see why you should be avoiding these aftermarket parts. When you’ve finished reading, you’ll understand why it’s best to opt for the GM parts…
The price of those aftermarket car parts will certainly be enticing, and in some scenarios, you might be able to get away with these alternatives. However, as u/AboutToSnap points out, there are some areas of a vehicle that don’t justify this risk. Even if you ignore the fact that these parts might not even work on your car, you also have to consider that they might lead to reduced performance…
I’m in the middle of a fiasco with axles right now. I have an axle that is starting to click and has a leaky boot, so I figured it’s time for replacement. The dealer axle is $650, and RockAuto had one from Cardone new for $66, so I gave it a shot.
Axle 1 arrives: bearing dust cap is smashed flat (it’s a pressed on part). Send back for replacement since I assume it’s a fluke.
Axle 2 arrives: bearing dust cap is smashed again. I call them and get talked into trying once more from a different shipping warehouse (maybe it’s a bad batch)?
Axle 3 arrives and the outer joint is grinding as if there’s no grease. RockAuto gives me hell and demands proof, so I make a couple videos demonstrating. They refuse to admit there is a problem, but accept the return for a refund (I’m not trying another one from them at this point)
Axle 4 is remanufactured from Autozone; takes 5 days to arrive (no one stocks this axle) and it is missing the press in dust cap, and the inner joint is really loose.
So at this point, I realized I shouldn’t continue trying to mess with anything but OEM and I hit up eBay. I found an OEM axle with 30k in apparently great shape for under $100 and went for it.
Now I’m waiting for the used OEM axle to show up, and I’m confident this is what I should have done in the first place.
Ultimately, the best way to avoid this predicament is by researching these individual parts before you make a purchase. You could even consider talking to a trusted mechanic, who should be able to provide some clarity on what aftermarket parts are a good choice.
Another major reason for avoiding a particular part is described by Reddit user u/SlimKlim. It’s fairly common that these aftermarket parts won’t last nearly as long as their newer counterparts. Often times, the lower prices reflect this longevity discrepancy. In other words, by just opting for the slightly more expensive GM or manufacturer part, you might find that you’re ultimately investing less money in the long run.
Control Arms/Tie Rods and stuff like that. If not OEM it should be an OEM quality brand like Lemforder. Sometimes it makes sense to run the cheap part for a little while, but for those parts its not worth it. You install the OEM quality ones and you’re good to go for 30-50k miles, bargain brands might last you 5-10k, and then you’re back in there doing the work again, buying the parts again. No bueno.
Ignition coils. I once had to replace 2 coils with a 3rd one looking sketchy so I decided to get an aftermarket set of 6 that worked out to a similar price as a few OEM ones. They lasted maybe 18 months when the OEM ones lasted 150,000 miles. Not a happy camper with that purchase.
Finally, one way to upset your family mechanic is by unknowingly including an aftermarket part. For starters, as Reddit user u/automatedresponse describes, it’s an indication that you don’t trust the mechanic, as they’d usually prefer to install a specific part that they’re familiar with (and they’d assume that the customer would trust their judgment). Furthermore, they might be frustrated that the customer is making their job a bit more difficult:
“Real Life tip: This pisses your Mechanic off.
My local mechanic said he’d do it for me once, but typically these cheaper parts are cheap for a reason – they break, and then he has to go back and fix them.
They aren’t doing this to “rip you off” – they want to ensure a proper job which is hassle free once it’s done. I really trust my current mechanic and I told him that I’d just fore-go the cheaper part and take his word for it.
Especially with AC parts. I tried to buy some used ones and have a guy help me install. It was broke again a year later.
Somethings don’t pay to be “frugal” with. Pay enough upfront at a reasonable price and you won’t have to pay out the ass in the long run and un-fuck a cheap part. I think this falls more under being a “cheap” person instead of being frugal.”
Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s best to opt for the GM or any manufacturer part when you’re looking to maintain your vehicle. While you might save some money temporarily, it’s not worth the inevitable headache down the road.