What's the difference in OEM and Aftermarket auto parts?
OEM or Original Equipment Parts are what is put on the vehicle at the factory, so one and the same as the original parts installed. Aftermarket auto parts are parts created by the same or other manufacturers, so the quality will vary. We embrace those manufacturers that identify the weaknesses of the original design and actually improve the part to increase its life, and this is one of the many things that makes the Aftermarket so strong.
When should I not request OEM parts?
If there has been a repeated failure on a specific part then a different manufacturer should be tried. Many people will continue to warranty a part and replace with the same manufacturer netting the same results. This is often time consuming, thus expensive repairs such as fuel pumps will be replaced through the dealerships versus the Aftermarket which can have negative results. The Aftermarket has great if not better products available, but knowing the right brand to purchase can be difficult without proper guidance at the auto parts store or installer. Proper guidance can save the consumer money and help them get an "improved" part from the original design.
Which parts are the most expensive to repair?
The cost of labor will be the greatest expense, which is why selecting the proper replacement parts is very critical. Any job that will require tear down to replace the part will be more expensive to repair. It is recommended to replace other items in the area being torn down while the technician is there.
Who installs Aftermarket parts?
Almost all installers can use Aftermarket parts including those at dealerships.
Are places like Amazon or Craigslist reliable places to order auto parts?
It may often be difficult to return or warranty any items purchased online. There will be very little input or service given by the online retailer helping the customer through any of their questions and helping to advise them on proper brand and other parts or service that should be taken into consideration. If time is a factor this can very much be a concern. We have had machine shop customers bring in their own parts only to find out they are sized incorrectly or just wrong. In one instance it took a customer three weeks to return and get the proper pistons so we could continue work whereas the job would have been done and probably installed by then had he had the right parts.
Can I bring my own parts to a mechanic?
Most mechanics will use the parts you bring to them but will not warranty their labor as they are unable to vouch for the quality of the part. The better mechanics will know what brands are best as they do not want to have a warranty situation.
What parts should be bought new versus used?
New parts should always be purchased unless trying to restore a vintage vehicle. Used parts may have unseen stress, and on electronics such as relays and sensors it is also difficult to ascertain condition.
How can I dispose of parts I no longer need?
Depending on the part, many will be able to be recycled. Whether it is a local scrap yard, the local landfill, or your local auto parts store, there are plenty of places that will take back your unwanted cores and properly handle.