Even the most looked-after cars need a little bit of work doing at some point in their lifetime.
But when your vehicle needs repairs, where do you go? The official manufacturer’s dealership? Or to an independent garage?
The most obvious difference is that independent garages are often cheaper, but there’s a lot more to it than you might realise.
Independent dealers will usually use what are referred to as ‘aftermarket’ car parts, whereas official dealerships will use genuine (OEM) parts, but what’s the difference?
Aftermarket parts are any parts which haven’t been made by the vehicle’s official manufacturer and are preferred by the majority of independent garages.
While they’re sometimes designed to be identical to the parts they’re replacing, it’s important to know that they’re not made from the same materials, and won’t necessarily function as well as the original.
The big positive of opting for aftermarket parts is that they’re usually cheaper, however, this does come with its caveats.
The main problem with aftermarket parts is that their quality can vary greatly between garages, brands and parts.
As a rule, if the price of an aftermarket part seems too good to be true, it’s probably for a reason, and it’s best to ask a couple of questions.
Just like anything else, you get what you pay for when it comes to aftermarket car parts.
Another reason many choose to opt for aftermarket parts is that there’s a much wider variety of parts available for you to choose from.
However, this can actually provide more problems. If you know your stuff about cars then perhaps you can be quite savvy, and shop around to get the best part for the best price.
But for most of us, the amount of choice on offer is simply too overwhelming, and chances are that you’re going to be making a rather uninformed choice, leading to a poor quality or expensive part.
One final thing to note about aftermarket parts is that they could potential void your vehicle’s warranty.
And for more information on what aftermarket parts are, check out this piece from About Money.
Genuine or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are made by the vehicle’s manufacturer and are exact replications of the part which you are trying to replace.
The great simplicity here is that there will only be one variant of each OEM part available to you, so you don’t have to mess around choosing which part you need, it’s all just straightforward.
And best of all, you know that the part that you are given is guaranteed to be of the highest possible quality and will work exactly as the part it’s replacing.
This gives you a much greater peace of mind over your and your family’s safety, and these parts will usually also come with a warranty of at least a year.
Of course, the downside is that genuine parts are often more expensive, although this isn’t always the case.
But before being put off by the price, remember that genuine parts are made with materials of a much higher quality and will perform much better in the long run.
We spoke to genuine Honda parts dealership, Cox Motor Parts for their verdict: “We would always recommend getting genuine car parts, especially when you consider what the consequences could be if you get a lesser quality part.
“We personally don’t believe that the savings that you’ll make from aftermarket parts are worth the risk of something potentially going wrong.”
One other thing to note is to check what kind of parts your insurer recommends you use.
There have been instances of insurance firms using cheap aftermarket parts to cut down on their own costs, and it’s important that you’re vigilant on this.