It's no secret that car maintenance is expensive, especially when you consider the cost of parts shipped straight from the manufacturer. Because automobile companies spend vast amounts of money on research, development, and brand recognition, it's no wonder they insist on charging thousands of dollars for car parts that are only worth a fraction of that in raw materials. That's why in order to cut down the cost of replacing car parts, many motorists will turn to aftermarket parts, which are often substantially cheaper than their manufacturer equivalents.
Before you hop aboard the aftermarket car part bandwagon, however, it is important that you understand the many advantages and disadvantages that come with purchasing aftermarket car parts.
What Are Aftermarket Car Parts?
Simply put, aftermarket car parts are parts that were created by a party other than the car's original equipment manufacturer, or OEM. Being that they were built by a company other than the one who knows your car best, aftermarket parts may not always be the ideal fit for your vehicle. The quality of aftermarket parts can vary wildly, with some of them on par with OEM parts, and others far below industry standards.
However, aftermarket parts are generally much more widely available than OEM parts. This means that while an auto mechanic may have to send away to produce a set of OEM parts, he could simply run down to a local auto parts store and produce an aftermarket part that serves the same function. This can do wonders when attempting to cut down on your vehicle's downtime in the event of a collision.
Will Aftermarket Car Parts Void My Warranty?
While many car owners shy away from aftermarket parts for fear of voiding their warranty, this fear is generally unfounded. The fact remains that unless an automaker or dealer can prove the car was damaged by aftermarket parts, the warranty is still valid. In fact, the cheap price tag associated with aftermarket car parts often makes them a popular alternative for insurance companies. That's why it's important you check with your insurance agent to know exactly what they're putting on your car before you authorize any repairs.
Are Aftermarket Car Parts The Same Thing As Salvage Car Parts?
Because aftermarket parts and salvage car parts are two types of cheap car parts, many people lump them into the same category. However, this is incorrect, due to the fact that salvage car parts could possibly be OEM parts that were transplanted (or salvaged) from another vehicle. While salvage parts may be similar to aftermarket parts due to their discounted price, salvage parts may have damage that is invisible to the untrained eye. That's why aftermarket parts are often a less risky alternative to OEM parts for the budget-minded car owner.