What’s the difference between an OEM part and an aftermarket part?
An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) part was made by the car’s original manufacturer.
An aftermarket or “generic” replacement part, which is made by another company, is designed to function like the original. Some companies reverse-engineer their generic parts to make them even better than your car’s original part. But some generic parts, like generic ketchup, don’t measure up to the real deal. A generic radiator hose, for example, may be sold as a replacement for various types of cars, so it almost fits your car. Aftermarket body panels may not align properly or may have a slightly different finish.
How will I know whether I’m getting OEM or aftermarket parts?
In California repair shops are legally required to tell you which types of parts will be used before any work begins. Review your estimate carefully and if you have any questions, be sure to ask.
Can I demand OEM parts?
You can ask your repair facility to use OEM parts, but keep in mind that your auto insurance policy may not cover the full cost. An OEM part is usually pricier than its aftermarket counterpart, so if it isn’t covered, you may need to pay the cost difference.