The Difference between OEM and Aftermarket Parts

When people take their vehicle in for repair, most will ask for an estimate and then leave it at that, but it may be worth your while to dig a little deeper and inquire about the parts that will be used for your vehicle’s repair.

Auto repair shops have three main options when they order parts to replace the worn out or broken ones on your vehicle:

  • OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
  • LKQ – Like Kind and Quality
  • After Market

The above categories are not just application to fenders and bumpers, but cover almost every conceivable component of a car that can be replaced during a service or repair, including batteries, wheels, brakes, fenders, bumpers, oil filters, fuel pumps, hoses, and air filters. If your repair is part of an insurance claim, there is still a chance you have a choice about the parts going into your car (depending on insurance carrier and policy).

OEM – These are the manufacturers own brand (or approved by them), which have been specifically designed to work most efficiently in your car, truck or van. An OEM part will be stamped with a seal of approval from the manufacturer, and you can be sure they will fit the vehicle as good as they did when it first rolled off the factory floor.

Like Kind and Quality (LKQ) – are recycled/used parts that are technically still OEM parts. While the cost of these parts vary, this can be a good way to save some money (and feel good about recycling!).

After Market – After market replacement parts are parts made by a third party manufacturer (not the manufacturer that built your vehicle). The biggest advantage for using after market parts is the price, as they are most often substantially cheaper than the OEM versions. As with most products made to save you money, the fit and finish might not be exactly right. It is best to talk to your auto body or repair shop to help you make the decision that is best for you.