The  Premium vs Own-Brand Car Parts

In the perennial debate of Premium versus Own-Brand Car Parts, consumers are met with a buffet of manufacturers and suppliers. Each offering a multitude of replacement components and maintenance products. From my own wrench-turning experiences, I’ve learned that while premium brands—including OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts—are solely made to fit and function seamlessly. Their often steep price prompts a consideration of value.

 On the flip side, cheaper brands available in various stores and online venues offer an economically palatable maintenance purchase, though one may question the enduring quality of such parts. 

It’s this crucial balance between price and quality that guides us towards an informed choice. Ensuring our vehicles’ upkeep without unnecessarily burdening our finances. Hence, discerning car owners weigh the pros and cons offered by different suppliers to make a choice that steers clear from false economy.

Premium and OEM Car Parts

The intimacy of quality and materials used in both premium and OEM parts is akin to a kinship. Where each piece is meticulously crafted to closely resemble those rolling off the production line.

 Forged in the same fires of creation, OEM components uphold a standard of performance that enthusiasts of engineering marvel at. However, this craftsmanship comes with a price point that might lead some to eye their own brand alternatives with increasing interest. 

As a gearbox aficionado myself, I’ve marveled at the majestic synergy of high-end parts working in concert under my vehicle’s bonnet.

Pros of Premium and OEM Car Parts:

  • Quality: Premium and OEM parts boast superior quality with materials and manufacturing processes that meet manufacturers’ specifications.
  • Compatibility: These parts are made to precisely fit specific makes and models, ensuring seamless integration with your vehicle’s system.
  • Durability: Holding to a higher standard, premium and OEM parts often last longer, reducing the frequency of replacements.
  • Performance: Designed to match or exceed original performance, they can potentially extend the life of other vehicle components.
  • Warranty: Most come with substantial warranty periods which may include free replacement for defects.
  • Safety: The assured compatibility eliminates the risk of parts being incompatible, providing a safer driving experience.

Cons of Premium and OEM Car Parts:

  • Price Point: The higher quality comes with a higher price tag, which can be a significant factor for those on a tight budget.
  • Availability: OEM parts are generally only available through authorized dealers, limiting the ability to shop around for better prices.
  • Cost of Fitting: Premium parts may incur a higher fitting cost, especially if installed by the car’s original dealership.
  • Value: Considering the expense, it’s worth questioning whether longevity and performance will always equate to value over time.
  • Limited Option: As vehicles age, finding OEM car parts becomes more challenging since manufacturers. Typically only make spare parts for current models or up to a certain amount of years post-production.

Aftermarket parts

In the vast realm of car maintenance. The perennial debate of choosing between the long-heralded premium OEM parts and the progressively popular aftermarket replacements rages on. A comprehensive 2022 study found that a staggering 50% of total part purchases at independent repair shops were aftermarket. Spurred by the affordability and immediate availability which resonates well with both the mechanics and the cost-conscious car owners.

 As the market trend shifts, 30% of the 500 shops surveyed noted an increased reliability on aftermarket parts over the past two years, and with plans to invest even more in the coming years. The quality debate between authentic automaker parts and aftermarket pieces becomes increasingly nuanced. 

This surge in aftermarket purchases is fueled by economic pragmatism without compromising on performance. Heralding a new era where smart purchasing decisions are not just about cost-effectiveness but also about bold confidence in non-OEM innovations.

Pros of Aftermarket Parts

Less Expensive

Aftermarket parts often present a less expensive alternative to those sourced directly from the automaker. In a 2022 study by, it was accounted for that 50% of total parts purchases at independent repair shops were aftermarket components. Shop owners from 30% of the 500 shops surveyed reported an increased inclination towards aftermarket purchases in the last two years and plan to buy more in the next two years. 

They cite lower prices and more immediate availability as the top three reasons for increasing their reliance on aftermarket solutions. As a seasoned mechanic myself, I’ve seen customers often delighted by the money saved, and I encourage them to shop around to find the best price but also to be wary; if the price of a part is too good to be true, I recommend asking questions about its quality.

Quality can be Equal to or Greater than OEM

There have been many cases where my customers end up with a better part than they started with ,echoing what the late Tom Torbjornsen, host of America’s Car Show, once told Edmunds. Many aftermarket companies reverse-engineer the part, allowing them to work out the weaknesses in the automaker’s original designs.

 For instance, a set of brake pads must strike a balance between cost, durability, and noise levels. For someone who doesn’t mind a bit of extra brake noise if it means better performance. An aftermarket pad could be a very good choice, even if it means tolerating an occasional squeak when stopping the car effectively.

More Variety

The breadth of options available in the aftermarket industry is staggering. Hundreds of companies make aftermarket parts, with some, like NAPA, boasting the ability to make almost any part one can think of. This variety means a greater selection . A wider range of prices to fit almost any budget and need—a benefit that I often highlight to those wanting to explore custom or performance upgrades.

Better Availability

Walk into any gas station, auto parts store, or visit your local mechanic, and they’ll probably have the part that fits your car. This broad accessibility gives you more options to take your car in for service without delay. As someone who’s run a shop, I can attest to the convenience this brings to getting customers back on the road swiftly.

Cons of Aftermarket Parts

Quality Varies Greatly

The adage “You get what you pay for” often rings especially true in the world of auto parts. Some aftermarket parts are inferior, using lower-quality materials which can affect the safety and operation of your car. Potentially causing them to wear faster and force a return trip back to the garage sooner than expected. It’s why I stick with and recommend aftermarket brands I’m familiar with to my patrons, which, though may cost more, reliably maintain vehicle integrity.

Overwhelming Selection

For those not familiar with aftermarket brands, the selection can be downright overwhelming. There’s always a chance to get a bad quality part, even with something as simple as a spark plug. Which is made by dozens of different companies with numerous variations. To avoid the guesswork, I often consult with my clients and provide advice, or recommend they simply stick with an OEM part if the price difference isn’t significantly less.

May not have a Warranty

In an effort to reduce costs, some aftermarket parts are sold without a warranty. This is a crucial consideration for many owners and something I highlight during consultations. While savings are attractive, the assurance of a fallback in the event of part failure shouldn’t be overlooked.

When should you request OEM parts?

 Collision Repairs and OEM Parts

During collision repairs, the specificity of OEM parts becomes paramount to ensure that replacement body panels not only fit properly but also align with the vehicle’s original crash safety mechanisms. Such as proper crumple zones. Having been in the fender of a couple of close calls. I’ve seen firsthand how well-designed OEM components contribute to the integrity of a car’s design post-repair.

Economic Considerations for Leased Cars

When you lease a car, economic considerations come into sharper focus. Opting for aftermarket parts, even in seemingly minor repairs, can lead to a decrease in the vehicle’s book value. Potentially hiking up costs upon return of the lease due to diminished body integrity, and adding unforeseen expenses like losing part of your security deposit.

Catch in States and Insurance Considerations

Navigating repairs in one of the 21 states, or District of Columbia, involves wading through the body shop’s repair estimate. Here, aftermarket parts might be the insurance company’s favor due to being considerably cheaper. But if your preference is to request OEM parts, you may face an additional fee. As the insurance provider might only cover the cost of aftermarket parts.

Own-Brand Car Parts

Exploring own-brand car parts, the budget-conscious market is now steering towards more affordable options that keep vehicles on the road without breaking the bank.

Pros of Own-Brand Car Parts:

  • Affordability: They are often offered at a lower price point than premium or OEM parts, making them more accessible for budget-conscious car owners.
  • Availability: These parts are typically readily available at both physical stores and online outlets, reducing wait times for repairs.
  • Variety: There is a wide range of options to choose from, allowing car owners to make a choice that best fits their vehicle’s needs and their budget.
  • Local Garage Fitting: Own-brand parts can be fitted by local garages, which may be cheaper and more convenient than going to a dealership.
  • Quality Comparability: The quality of own-brand parts has increased, becoming more comparable to premium parts and offering a good choice for everyday use.
  • Cost-Effectiveness Over Time: They offer significant savings over the lifetime of the car, especially when considering replacement and maintenance costs.

Cons of Own-Brand Car Parts:

  • Perceived Inferiority: There is often a stigma associated with these parts, as they are seen as less reliable than OEM parts.
  • Variable Quality: The quality can vary significantly between manufacturers, making it important to research and select high-quality own-brand parts.
  • Uncertain Warranty: Warranties may not be as extensive or reliable as those offered by premium part manufacturers.
  • Fit and Compatibility: Some parts may not fit as perfectly as OEM parts, potentially leading to additional adjustments or compatibility issues.
  • Longevity Questions: While quality has improved, some still question if the durability matches that of premium or OEM parts.
  • Resale Value: Cars with OEM parts may have a higher resale value compared to those repaired with own-brand parts.

Tips for Buying Replacement Car Parts

  • Don’t feel pressured to purchase premium or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts; frequently, a dealer might recommend pricier options as a strategic means for a sale – consider own-brand parts if they meet your requirements and budget.
  • Make it a priority to read reviews before finalizing any car parts. As this can provide vital insights into the cost benefit of own-brand versus premium parts, guiding you to make an informed choice.
  • Thoroughly double-check the compatibility of own-brand and premium parts with your vehicle to ensure safety and functionality; avoid reliance solely on automated website registration plate checkers and refer to the vehicle’s user manual for accurate information.


Are premium car parts worth it?

Quality matters. The biggest reason for this is that quality products tend to be more durable than those of lesser caliber. So, even though quality car parts may cost a bit more. The durability you get is well worth the extra dollars you pay.

Does brand matter for car parts?

Every brand has different manufacturing processes that lead to different part qualities, so the more expensive parts are often a little bit better. Most auto repair experts will advise you to invest in quality parts to make sure you don’t have any problems shortly after repairs or maintenance.

Which is better, the OEM or the genuine parts?

Naturally, many people assume that the more expensive the part is, the better a choice it will be but it turns out, OEM parts are usually just as good, yet more affordable. Depending on the part you need, however, it may sometimes be that buying genuine parts is the only option.

Is it better to buy OEM parts or aftermarket?

OEM parts are guaranteed to fit and almost always come with a manufacturer-backed warranty. They may cost more than what the aftermarket offers, but the trade-off is a likely simpler purchase process. If you’re looking for a fast, simple experience and don’t mind paying extra, OEM is often the way to go.

Is it OK to use non OEM parts?

OEM parts aren’t necessarily better, nor are aftermarket replacements necessarily worse. Some are built to the same quality and specs as the factory-original part. Some are even made by the same suppliers but sold under the supplier’s brand or other private label.

Do OEM parts last longer than aftermarket?

OEM parts are manufactured to fit your vehicle and work like they’re supposed to with your car’s systems. Longer life. Because they are made in the same way as genuine parts, OEM parts tend to be more reliable than aftermarket parts and last for longer.