OEM vs Aftermarket
Two of the most difficult to understand terms on the casual consumer side of the automobile industry are OEM and aftermarket. Aftermarket is not one of the most demonstrative terms that has ever come into existence. The word itself does not lend itself to an understanding from the beginning. For example, after what market? Are we talking about marketing? If it means marketing does that mean that they did not make it until after the marketing for the vehicle came out? It can be confusing.
OEM is just as confusing. O is somewhat understandable because you can guess that it means original. The next two letters could mean anything and you can get easily confused about them and it is understandable. Either of these two terms is completely confusing and it is why many people throw up their hands in disgust and go to professionals who do understand the terms. We hope that they do understand the terms and we hope that they have the consumer's best interest in mind. Of course, we all know that not all of them do.
What is OEM? OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. You may think that is all you need to know, but there is more you should know before moving on. OEM does not mean that your part is coming from the vehicle manufacturer. It means that the company who made the part they used when they made your car is the company supplying the part. It could be the vehicle manufacturer or the part manufacturer as noted before this sentence.
Aftermarket means that the company produced the part after the vehicle was being sold in the marketplace. It is not endorsed by your vehicle manufacturer and the reason why you might find wording in the manual that says, "we recommend using genuine GM parts." The company had nothing to do with your vehicle until the vehicle came out in the marketplace. It also means that there could be no relationship between the part manufacturer and your vehicle's manufacturer. Use of an aftermarket part might just void your warranty if you are not careful.
An OEM parts maker has certain standards they must meet set forth by the vehicle manufacturer. The aftermarket parts makers have nothing to do with the vehicle manufacturer until they have developed the part. The standards for the product are set and maintained by the company who makes the aftermarket part. Unfortunately, this means that the standards can vary widely across the marketplace based on how reputable that certain company wants to be in the marketplace. Although the parts are sometimes cheaper it does not mean they are of the same quality. You have to make a conscious decision whether or not that you are you are ok with gambling on parts until you find a reputable company.
Piece of Mind
If you buy a GM genuine parts and accessories then you know the part is going to work and it is right for your vehicle from the get go. You do not have to worry if it is going to fit or if it will be the right color. You have the peace of mind that it is the right part. You may not have that luck with aftermarket parts because of the lack of quality checks or standards. The last thing you want to do when you need is a part is to worry about all the logistics of using that part. OEM parts give you the assurance that they are going to work and that they fit the vehicle they are supposed to go inside of after you order it.
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