Replacement Car Parts: Buy Oem or After Market?

By: Tony DiFiore, Jr.

Consumers face two options when buying replacement car parts following a collision - buy after market, or shell out for original equipment? Beyond the obvious considerations of costs and quality, it's important to understand that comparing either side-by-side isn't always as straight forward as you might think. There are multiple variables and scenarios that can impact the over cost of a replacement part. Collisions, for example add a whole other layer with regards to insurance policies, reimbursements and future risks. The effects of which parts you choose on the resale value of a vehicle is also a concern and plays a part in cost. To make an informed decision, consider all sides of the debate.

OEM parts are parts my by the original equipment manufacturer made expressly for a specific vehicle. They are more expensive than their after market counterparts, parts made by third parties after the original sale of a vehicle. Examining the issue of cost from an insurance perspective, the more affordable option is favored. In fact, because after market replacement parts are almost always less expensive than OPEM parts, they are actually often required by an insurance company for a 100% percent reimbursement if you're involved in an accident. From a buyer's perspective who also factors cost as a high priority, these policies are important to understand thoroughly. Imagine you're in a collision in a vehicle stocked with OEM parts, only to find out you'll be paying the cost differential between it's after market version.

This is where 'ifs' come into play. It's no wonder a consensus hasn't been made on the "best," "safest" or "most inexpensive" option. Probability and preference are facts that can be used in a straight out side by side cost comparison. Individual conclusions can be made in the absence of a community standard, provided all of the angles are explored and factored in to your decision.

Moving on to another such angle, many will argue that OEM replacement parts are superior given the strict safety testing and standardization to which they are subject, and are quick to forgo insurance reimbursement for this peace of mind. It's a position that unsupported however, at least according to a contradiction by by the Insurance institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) who claim that after market replacement parts do not in fact degrade the safety of an automobile in a crash.

The third main argument for cost comes from those concerned about resale value, which diminishes greatly with the use of after market replacement car parts.

Knowing these, an informed consumer can ask themselves the following questions, the answers to which will depend solely on personal values and financial position.

Do I have a history of collisions?
Can I immediately afford OEM parts?
If I can't, can I afford to incur after market replacement costs in the event of an accident?
Will I sell, or how soon do I plan to sell my vehicle?
Do I value an insurance reimbursement over a higher resale value?

Finally note that with a high-end vehicle, you may be forced to purchase OEM replacement parts simply because after market replacement are less common for top of the line imports.

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