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Used Vs. OEM Vs. Aftermarket Parts

oem vs aftermarket parts

Navigating the world of car parts can be as complex as navigating a road in heavy fog. Whether you're a DIY car enthusiast or just a concerned car owner, you've probably heard the terms OEM, used, and aftermarket, and wondered about the implications of each. Which is the safest bet for your beloved vehicle?

In this journey, we'll steer you through the fog of the OEM vs aftermarket parts debate, clarify the meaning of these terms, and help you understand the potential impact of your choice on your car's performance.

Let’s get this journey started!

What Are Used Car Parts?

used car parts

Used car parts, as the name suggests, are components that have been previously installed and utilized in another vehicle. They are often sourced from cars that have been decommissioned due to age, severe accidents, or those that have ended up in a salvage yard for various reasons.

The primary appeal of used car parts lies in their cost-effectiveness. They typically come at a fraction of the price of new OEM or aftermarket parts, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious car owners or for older vehicles where new parts may be scarce or excessively expensive.

However, the condition of used parts can vary significantly. While some may have many years of service left, others could be near the end of their functional lifespan. Therefore, it's essential to thoroughly inspect used parts and, where possible, source them from reputable sellers to ensure you're not compromising on safety or performance.

What Are OEM Parts?

oem parts meaning

OEM parts, or Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, are components produced by the vehicle manufacturer that built the original parts in your vehicle when it first rolled off the assembly line. The genuine OEM parts meaning, therefore, signify a level of authenticity and originality in terms of design, performance, and fit.

What do genuine OEM parts mean for you as a car owner? When you purchase an OEM part, you are essentially getting a component identical to the one your car was manufactured with. It guarantees an exact fit and optimal performance since these parts are designed specifically for your vehicle model.

The main benefits of genuine OEM parts include their superior quality and ease of selection. There's no need to worry about comparing brands and reviews, as you would with aftermarket parts.

However, OEM parts can be more expensive and might only be available at authorized dealerships or specialized auto shops. Despite this, many owners find the assurance of compatibility and quality worth the higher price point.

What Are Aftermarket Parts for Cars?

what is aftermarket parts

Aftermarket parts can be broken into two different categories: OE Replacement and 'performance' aftermarket.

OE Replacement parts for cars are components made by a company other than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of your vehicle. They are designed to look and function as replacements for the original parts but are not produced by your car's manufacturer. These parts are made of the same materials as the genuine OEM parts which would be a type of plastic or metal.

'Performance' aftermarket parts are designed to be compatible with a range of makes and models, rather than one specific vehicle. These parts typically do not look the same as the OEM parts and require fitting (drilling holes, shaving areas for fitment, etc). This universal approach means they can sometimes lack the perfect fit and finish of an OEM part. These parts are typically made of fiberglass, polyurethane, plastic, or metal.

However, it also brings benefits. Because there's such a vast array of manufacturers producing aftermarket parts, you'll often find greater variety in terms of quality, price, and performance.

High-quality OE Replacement parts can match their OEM counterparts, often at a lower cost. 'Performance' aftermarket parts can be a good option if you're looking to customize your car or enhance its performance, as the variety available is significantly wider than with OEM parts.

However, the quality of aftermarket parts can vary, and lower-priced options may not meet the same standards as OEM. Therefore, it's crucial to purchase these parts from a reputable seller to ensure quality and compatibility with your vehicle.

Used Vs. OEM Vs. Aftermarket Parts: How Do They Differ?

When it comes to choosing car parts, the decision often boils down to Used, OEM, or Aftermarket. Each category has its distinct advantages and potential drawbacks, influenced by factors such as cost, quality, availability, and vehicle compatibility. To help you navigate these options, let's delve into a comparative analysis.

Used Parts

OEM Parts

Aftermarket Parts


Parts previously used in another vehicle.

Parts made by the original car manufacturer.

​Parts made by a different company than the car's manufacturer.


Typically the most cost-effective.

Generally more expensive due to guaranteed fit and quality.

Wide range, from cheaper alternatives to high-end options.


Varies greatly depending on previous usage and care.

High and consistent; identical to the parts your car was built with.

Can vary significantly. Can match OEM quality or be lower.


Wide availability, especially for older models.

Available at authorized dealerships and specialized auto shops.

Widely available and come with a broader variety than OEM parts.


May not always offer a perfect fit or optimal performance.

Guaranteed perfect fit and performance for the vehicle's make and model.

Compatibility can vary; some parts may not fit or perform as well as OEM parts.

Best for

Budget repairs or older vehicles where new parts are not available or too expensive.

When wanting a guaranteed fit and willing to pay more for peace of mind.

Customization or performance upgrades, budget considerations, or when a variety of options is preferred.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are OEM parts better than aftermarket parts?

It's not always the case that OEM parts are better than aftermarket parts. While OEM parts provide a guaranteed fit and performance, some high-quality aftermarket parts can match the performance of OEM parts. The best choice depends on your specific needs, budget, and the quality of the aftermarket parts available.

Can used car parts be reliable?

Can aftermarket parts void my car's warranty?


The choice between used, OEM, and aftermarket parts depends on a variety of factors, including your vehicle's specific needs, your budget, and your personal preferences. Understanding the differences can help you make an informed decision that best serves you and your vehicle.

At Painted OEM Parts, we pride ourselves on offering genuine OEM and high-quality OE Replacement parts depending on your preference and needs. If you're looking for that peace of mind that comes with knowing you're investing in parts designed for your specific vehicle model, we're here to help.

Click, pick, and kick-start your car's makeover with our wide range of OEM parts. Give your vehicle the love it deserves. Dive into our catalog today!


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