Aftermarket vs OEM Car Parts

Examples of OEM car parts and aftermarket car parts

If your car needs repairs, you’ll have a choice between OEM or aftermarket parts. What does OEM mean for car parts? What are aftermarket car parts? Here’s everything you need to know about OEM car parts.

What are OEM Parts?

OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are the ones used in the original manufacturing of your car. Sometimes, an OEM part can also be called a factory or original part.

When it’s time to replace worn or damaged parts of your car, you can get OEM parts for the repair. You can either source them new or used. Since an OEM part is identical to the one your car was designed with, it will always fit and work with your car as the manufacturer intended.

What are Aftermarket Parts?

An aftermarket part is anything not made by an original equipment manufacturer. Think of these as the “generic version” of an OEM part. Many aftermarket parts can meet or exceed OEM quality, without the markup of having a brand name attached.

When looking at parts, look for certified aftermarket parts that are made specifically for your vehicle. For example, the Certified Auto Parts Association (CAPA) tests aftermarket parts for safety and compatibility.

What are Remanufactured Parts?

A compromise between OEM and aftermarket solutions is remanufactured OEM parts. These are original parts that have been repaired and tested to their original specification. Remanufactured OEM parts meet the same standards as new parts at a fraction of the price.

There are cases where OEM parts are discontinued. In these cases, the only options are to source a remanufactured part or to get an aftermarket one.

What are the Core Differences?

OEM Parts
Parts used in the original manufacturing of a vehicle
Aftermarket Parts
Parts not made by an original equipment manufacturer
Remanufactured Parts
Parts that have been repaired and tested
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OEM replacement parts will fit best because the vehicle is designed with these parts in mind. While being an OEM part is not necessarily an indicator of quality, you’ll know what to expect.

Aftermarket parts, on the other hand, can vary greatly when it comes to fit. Many parts are made for a wide swath of vehicles, and it’s not uncommon to modify cheaper aftermarket parts to fit. To avoid this hassle, look for certified aftermarket or direct fit replacement parts. The correct part for your vehicle will make the installer’s job easier and save you time and money overall.


OEM parts tend to be pricier than aftermarket options. Many aftermarket parts are of equal quality to an OEM part, but at a fraction of the price.

We know that getting repairs done can be stressful. That’s why we’ve designed our claims process to be quick and simple. Our skilled adjusters will get you back on the road in no time.

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