5 Questions to Ask When Buying Aftermarket Parts

5 Questions to Ask When Buying Aftermarket Parts

Aftermarket Parts | December 10, 2017

So, it’s time for you to purchase an aftermarket part. Maybe you’ve been in a collision, maybe your old part is checking out, or maybe you’re looking to upgrade your car, truck, RV, or trailer. Whatever the reason is, you want to be sure that the part you buy is high-quality and reliable.

Because the aftermarket is much more varied than OEM, there are some questions you need to ask of yourself or the dealer in order to get what you want. Below, we’ve outlined some important questions for ensuring the part you buy is going to work for you.

For more information, see OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts: Pros and Cons.

What are customers saying about the company?

To begin, do a little bit of online research on the company you’re considering buying from. What do customers say about them? And, what do customers say about their products and parts? Are their reviews positive?

This might seem obvious. A lot of people google companies or businesses that they might buy from. But it’s critical to do your research and get a sense of what their parts are like based on what customers think. If customers say good things about the parts they bought, it’s safe to assume that the parts are trustworthy.

How does the price compare to OEM?

If price is a factor in your purchase (chances are, it is), then you might want to look at the price of the aftermarket part compared to a similar OEM part. Usually aftermarket parts are much less expensive than OEM parts, but with some dealers it might not be the case.

Also compare the part to the price of other aftermarket dealers. Because the aftermarket selection is so wide, you’re guaranteed to find varying prices on the same, exact part.

How does the quality compare to OEM?

Depending on what you’re looking for, you should ask how the part compares to its OEM cousin. Is it of the same material and quality? What process does the manufacturer use to develop the product? Will it perform according to your needs?

Because aftermarket dealers often use reverse engineering to manufacture a part, they have the opportunity to build a high quality part from a certified engineering process. They might be able to construct a part that has superior quality, superior functionality, or both. Some companies also provide in-house assembly solutions, which takes care of labor involved with making the part or parts fit.

Remember, OEM parts are made to very high standards and to the vehicle manufacturers specifications.  They are made specifically for the operation and fit of your vehicle. Be sure to check reviews of non-OEM aftermarket parts to insure others have found them to function well and to be compatible with your vehicle.

Does the company offer good customer service?

When a customer finds a trustworthy manufacturer or assembly solutions provider, they are able to develop a good relationship with them. With a relationship, a company will be able to better understand a customer and exactly what they’re looking for. A strong relationship like this is easy to develop when the company offers exceptional service.

Auto shops or other customers that regularly work with an manufacturer will be able to give you good insight on what their relationship is like with them. If they’ve stayed with the company for years, that’s a good indication that their customer service is exceedingly great.

Obviously you want to work with a manufacturer that you can trust, and one that you know will deliver a quality part specific to your needs, whether it’s the part itself or the time constraints and labor that will be involved.

Is there a warranty?

OEM parts usually come with a warranty, and with aftermarket parts, it just depends. Maybe a warranty is not a huge deal to you. We’re not here to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong. And a lot of the time, it hinges on what kind of part you’re looking to buy.

If you’d like a warranty with your part, be sure to choose a dealer or supplier that offers it. For major parts and more expensive parts, it might be wise to get a warranty.

In the end, these questions depend on the exact part you’re looking for, so the answers will vary. But, they are important to ask because they may be the difference between you getting a shoddy part for your vehicle and you getting a quality, dependable, and affordable product.