There are times when your truck needs repairs, and you will be wondering if you should take it to the dealership or to an independent auto mechanic who comes highly recommended by your friends and neighbors. At the dealership, you will be paying more, partly because they use OEM or original equipment manufacturer parts. Independent mechanics are more likely to use aftermarket parts, which helps them to keep costs low. What are the differences between the two options, and which should you choose for your truck?
Definitions: OEM and aftermarket parts
When your truck or auto needs repairs, you have two choices. If you go to the dealership, you’ll be paying more. This is at least partly because dealerships use OEM replacement parts, for everything from LED headlights to big machine parts. OEM parts are made by the car manufacturer, which means that they were made specifically for your model. Especially for bodywork, OEMs are a good choice because they will match the quality of the old parts being replaced.
But there is an alternative to using OEM parts. If you go to an independent mechanic instead of the dealership, they will probably use aftermarket parts which are made by different manufacturers. These cost less, but the quality varies, so you have to be sure to get the right parts. Or you have to be able to trust your mechanic to get the right parts for you.
Are OEM parts always better quality?
For all kinds of truck replacement parts, from LED headlights to machine parts, you will be paying less for aftermarket parts than you would for OEM parts. Further, with OEM parts you can be sure of the quality, while with aftermarket parts, it may vary. This does not mean that all aftermarket parts are of lower quality: many may be better than the corresponding OEM parts.
Sometimes in aftermarket parts, the weaknesses have been worked out and you may find that they actually perform better than the original parts did. That’s because the manufacturers of aftermarket parts reverse engineer the parts, and focus on quality. If you go to a trusted auto shop, you can be sure of getting good quality aftermarket big truck parts. Also, OEMs can be difficult to find and you may have to wait a long time before the repair shop can get the parts you need.
Which should you choose?
For all of these reasons, OEM parts are not always the best choice for your truck repairs. For all kinds of truck parts, including LED headlights and machine parts, sometimes aftermarket parts work as well as, if not better than, OEM parts. For bodywork, especially if panels need to be replaced, it’s better to go with OEM parts because they will fit better. But for other truck parts and accessories, aftermarket parts will do, provided you can choose the right quality.
Almost one out of five, or 18% of all vehicles sold in the U.S. is a truck, which means that there are a lot of aftermarket parts manufacturers making replacement truck parts as well. You may not be familiar with the different manufacturers of aftermarkets, but you can leave the choice to a trusted mechanic or body shop.
When you want the best parts and repairs for your truck, it helps to have a trusted mechanic who will use quality parts for the job. Whether you’re having LED headlights replaced or a major engine overhaul, you may find that aftermarket parts perform as well was or better than OEM parts.