What Types of Spare Parts are There? Genuine, OEM, Aftermarket and Used Parts Explained.

Buying your own spare parts can save you a significant amount of money whether you decide to fit them yourself or supply them to mechanic to fit instead of letting them buy the parts and adding a mark up before charging you.

But this can be confusing because there are several different types of parts and the jargon used in the motor industry can be hard to understand.

This can lead to you losing money if you end up buying a type of part that wont last. We will go through the different types of parts that you can buy for your car and what the benefits are of each one.

Genuine Original Equipment Parts

These are often referred to as OE and these are the exact parts that your car was originally fitted with when it was manufactured, although they can sometimes be made by another company but they will still be supplied in a car manufacturer branded box.

Buying these types of parts gives you the most peace of mind because you know for a fact that it will be compatible and fit your car, plus you have the added benefit of the parts being covered by a manufacturer guarantee. OE parts are generally the most expensive because of their added quality.

Replacement Parts

These replacement parts are referred to as original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM parts which are made by a third part company which has also supplied the parts to the actual manufacturer.

These parts are the identical to the Original Equipment parts except they won’t come in the car manufacturers branded box. This means that the part works exactly like the one its replacing giving you the added familiarity and identical performance.

The price of these parts is less than OE parts and often will not invalidate your cars warranty. If you’re not the first owner of your car, then OEM parts are a worthy choice. You’ll often find that there are still a large range of big household name brands that supply OEM parts such as Bosch.

OEM parts are easier to source because you can just walk directly into the parts counter at your local dealership and they’ll only have one variation. This means you don’t waste time comparing the quality of lots of different brands.

Aftermarket Parts

Aftermarket parts are often also called replacement parts and are usually cheap substitutes for OE parts, and are manufactured by aftermarket companies that purchase the design from the original manufacturer.

Aftermarket parts don’t just mean cheap alternatives, because some of these companies sell higher quality than the originals by improving on the flaws in the design making the park work more efficiently.

This range of quality between different aftermarket part manufacturers makes it difult to know the quality of product that you’re buying especially when you consider some of these parts could be made from substandard materials which could wear out in half the time of an OM part.

One way to ensure that the manufacturer is trustworthy is to make sure the part has the International Organisation Standardisation stamp. The benefits of aftermarket parts is that there are literally hundreds of companies that manufacture aftermarket parts which increases the selection and choice that you have.

In addition because of the numerous choices there is better availability so instead of waiting weeks for your part to come into stock you can just walk into your local auto parts store and they’ll most likely have it stock.

Remanufactured Parts

This describes parts that are made up of numerous components such as an engine. For example when an engine fails, it’s usually a single component that breaks so remanufacturing an engine would involve breaking the unit down and only replacing the broken part with a brand new one.

The entire engine would then be fully tested to ensure it works then put back on the mark to be sold to a car owner.

If you have an older car then this is the best way to get it back on the road, however fitting new parts into an old system can sometimes cause weaknesses in the existing parts. You can cover yourself by only buying remanufactured parts that come with a warranty or guarantee.

Reconditioned Parts

Reconditioned parts involve the process of stripping down major car parts and replacing the broken parts with used parts instead of new parts. This is significantly cheaper but you never know how long these parts are going to last for and because of this they’ll very rarely come with a warranty.

Neither do you know how old the parts are or how many miles they’ve covered when they were in the previous vehicle, so it could be a matter of months or just days until new problems develop. We recommend you avoid reconditioned parts because it isn’t worth the hassle and time.

Salvaged Parts

This is definitely one to avoid and are essentially used parts which have been stripped from scrap cars. They are the cheapest parts on the market and unless you’re driving an extremely old model then you should avoid.

This is because you don’t know how many miles they covered or what condition they were in before they were fitted into your vehicle. Salvage parts are often dumped in a scrap yard so won’t be in the best of condition and once water gets onto the part the quality fall massively.

Salvaged parts are one step closer to being completely scrap, which brings a serious safety hazard because the part could completely fail and cause an accident.

These parts definitely will not be coming with a warranty so you’re best of spending more for a higher quality part and having added peace of mind that the part will deliver each time you use your car.

What Type of Car Part Should You Use?

Generally speaking, if you have a car that is less than three to four years old then you should aim to buy an OEM part.

 After four years it’s recommended that you look at OEM and aftermarket parts depending on your budget. If you have an older model of car, then aftermarket and remanufactured parts are your best bet.

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