Aftermarket Versus OEM: Which Parts Should You Choose?

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If you’re planning on restoring a Chevy truck or having one restored for you, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is whether or not you will use OEM or aftermarket parts to restore your truck. Each of these options have their own advantages and disadvantages which should be taken into account before deciding on which type of parts to use. This article will explain the difference between Aftermarket and OEM parts, along with the pros and cons of each to help you in the decision making process.  

OEM Parts

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Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are car or truck parts that are made by your particular vehicle’s manufacturer. Since these parts are made for that exact model of car by the manufacturer, OEM car parts will fit seamlessly with the rest of your vehicle. 

OEM Advantages

Some of the advantages of choosing OEM parts to restore your custom Chevy truck include, as first outlined by this article:

  • Backed By Warranty – Probably one of the biggest advantages of selecting an OEM part is that many auto manufacturers will warranty their parts for at least one-year. Moreover, if you have your car or truck repaired by the dealer, rather than a private auto body shop, the manufacturer may also cover the cost of the labor. 
  • No Guesswork Required – Since these parts are designed to exactly fit the make of your vehicle, it makes it that much simpler to choose the part or parts that you need. This takes away any guesswork and the need to research other brands to compare reviews and prices. 
  • Guaranteed Quality – OEM parts come with the same standard quality as the original part. This provides a peace of mind that is not usually synonymous with some aftermarket parts. 

OEM Disadvantages

A few of the most common drawbacks or disadvantages of choosing OEM parts include:

  • Standard Quality – While one of the advantages of OEM parts is that they are guaranteed to be of a certain quality, some aftermarket parts are actually of superior quality. For example, performance parts like off-road bumpers are usually of a heavier-duty quality than that of the bumpers that come standard.
  • Higher Prices – According to this article from the Property Casualty Insurers Association, OEM parts tend to cost about 60% more than aftermarket parts. For this reason, many people tend to choose aftermarket parts over OEM parts; especially if they want to save money. 
  • Could Take Longer – When restoring older vehicles like a custom Chevy truck, OEM parts are actually be more difficult to find since they are not made by the manufacturer any more. This is one of the many reasons that truck enthusiasts will have a shop work on the restoration of their custom Chevy rather than doing it themselves. 

Aftermarket Parts

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Aftermarket parts are considered to be any other truck or car part that does not come from the original manufacturer. Most independent auto body shops work mainly with aftermarket parts when they rebuild or restore custom Chevy trucks. As this article points out, make sure to do your due diligence in order to find a reputable shop that uses aftermarket parts that are either of the same quality as OEM or better*

*CAPA certified aftermarket parts will offer the closest to OEM specifications available. Usually the only type of aftermarket parts approved by insurance companies to repair a vehicle in the case of an accident.  

Aftermarket Advantages

Many shops use aftermarket parts because of the potential to cut costs and enhance a vehicle’s performance. Other pros of choosing aftermarket parts include:

  • Not As Expensive As OEM – Generally speaking, aftermarket auto parts are less expensive than the original. This of course varies by brand so it’s critical that you shop around before settling on a part. If you’re having a shop restore your vehicle, they will do the research for you. 
  • Customizable – One of the greatest advantages of using aftermarket parts is that you can customize your vehicle. OEM parts don’t allow you to do this. For example, if you wanted to add a custom cowl hood to your restored custom Chevy truck to accommodate for a bigger motor you wouldn’t be able to find an OEM part suited for the job; you’d have to find an aftermarket cowl hood. 
  • Equal or Greater Quality – While some aftermarket parts can be questionable for the most part, aftermarket parts sold by quality manufacturers are at least equal if not greater in quality when compared to OEM parts. 

Aftermarket Disadvantages 

Some disadvantages of opting for aftermarket parts include:

  • Possibly Won’t Have a Warranty – One of the ways that aftermarket manufacturers are able to keep costs so low is that they don’t provide a warranty on their products. However, if you have good insurance, this really doesn’t matter in the long run. 
  • There is a LOT to Choose From – The aftermarket parts market can be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with the market or are just starting out. There are thousands of different companies selling similar products for varying prices around the world. A good rule of thumb when searching for aftermarket parts is: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Also, if you’re ever unsure, speak with a mechanic or friend who you trust that is familiar with aftermarket parts. 
  • Potential To Be Bad Quality – In the aftermarket world, it’s not unheard of that some parts are less than stellar. This is why it’s so important to purchase parts from a reputable source or to work with a professional, trusted auto body shop. 

Bottomline

Like most things, choosing aftermarket or OEM parts comes down to personal preference. If you don’t mind spending extra money knowing that you’ll get a warrantied, quality auto part that is specifically made for your car or truck, choose OEM. If you want to save some money or are restoring a custom Chevy truck and want to make it a one-of-a-kind build, go the aftermarket route. Also, keep in mind that most people mix and match OEM and aftermarket parts to achieve the look they’re after in a restored truck or car.