Tips and Terms for Smart Auto Parts Shopping
Ever wondered or been confused about codes and acronyms when checking out auto parts online? It can be difficult to find the best part if you do not fully understand what the terms mean. Also, there are some misconceptions about some types of parts that may lead you buying the more inferior products. So read-on and know the truth about the smart way to shop for auto parts.
Here are some basic terms to start:
- Original Equipment (OE) – a generic term that refers to the brand that came as original equipment of the car, either manufactured by the carmaker, or made by a supplier, but ends of being branded with the carmaker’s name. Note though, that most auto manufacturers assemble the cars from component parts that they purchase from suppliers, and mostly manufacture only their own sheet metal components.
- Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) – the company that manufactures the products or components that are purchased by the auto manufacturer. In this case, the purchased parts are sold in retail under the purchasing company’s brand name. OEM then specifies the name of the company that originally manufactured that product.
- Original Equipment Supplier (OES) – Mostly the same with OEM, these are genuine parts manufactured by a company other than the auto manufacturer. So, these parts are “supplied” by those original manufacturers, in those manufacturers’ brand names. Examples of popular OEMs and OES are Bosch, Bilstein, Boge, and many others.
- Aftermarket parts – These are non-OEM replacement parts that are not made by the car manufacturer. They can be made by an OEM company, or by a completely different manufacturer. These aftermarket manufacturers usually buy the rights to reproduce the same parts and sell them to the same distributors of the OEM/OES parts. Although these companies are not associated with the car manufacturer, many aftermarket companies have proven to make parts of the same, sometimes even better quality, than the ones that originally come with the car, at a much lower price, through cutting the middlemen much like in OEM/OES.
- Dealer Only Parts – Some parts, especially for cars which only 2 years or less, are only available through the car dealers. This is because some OEM/OES companies cannot independently release the parts because of licensing agreements. After a few years though, is when most OEM/OES companies are free to sell the very same parts under their names. Although a bit inconvenient, buying dealer-only parts can be an advantage to the customer for warranty reasons, exceptionally if the car is very new.
The most basic advantage of OEM/OES and Aftermarket Parts are the cheaper price, for some reasons:
- OEM/OES parts are less expensive simply because they do not go through the car manufacturer’s parts system. OE parts are more expensive because every time an OE part goes through the long process and many transfers from the OEM factory, to the warehouse or parts depot of the carmaker, to the dealer, to the customer, the cost of the part increases. Put simply, buying OEM/OES parts cuts the “middleman” by buying the exact same parts from the original maker.
- Many people don’t know that many OEM/OES brands are not only normal, but in some cases, they are actually mandated by international standards as part of the qualifications for ISO certifications.
- This is the same with Aftermarket parts. Because they are sold by the part manufacturers, they are cheaper. The advantage is that these cheaper, differently-branded parts will work just as well as the OE parts or other branded parts. Technically speaking, there are some car parts that will perform similarly even with parts from different brands.
- There are also aftermarket parts that are not OE, but have better quality than OE. There are cases when the car manufacturer does not select a certain parts supplier, even when they produce the better product. In this case, they are branded as aftermarket parts. A good example is Stewart EMP BMW water pumps. Stewart EMP is not an OE, nor an OEM/OES, but the pumps they make are known and tested to be better and stronger than the BMW OE.
While it is completely acceptable and safe to buy aftermarket parts, be careful not to be “conned” by some knock-offs! This is the biggest burden of reliable “aftermarket parts” companies. There are some countries where reverse-engineered fake parts are not forbidden, and so there are some fake parts that hit some markets. It is not rocket science: if it’s a knock-off, it is probably made of substandard products that may harm instead of help your car. If it’s a perfectly working, yet cheaper product, then they can be sold as they are, and not as fake goods. There is a huge difference between big discounts made by OEM/OES and genuine aftermarket producers through cutting middleman costs, and knock-off parts that are way too cheap to be real.
But although aftermarket parts sometimes receive a bad reputation because of those companies that make knock-offs, there are many more respected sources that make high quality aftermarket parts. Autopartsway carries aftermarket parts only from these respected manufacturers, which add to a huge selection of OEM parts. In addition, Autopartsway has excellent Customer Service Policies, valid shipping methods, secure and trusted payment systems that are proven by its many satisfied customers.
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