Car Insurance On The Road

Original, OEM, and Aftermarket Car Parts: What's the Difference?

byIsaac Teo
  • Jun 18, 2024
  • 1 mins
mechanic reaching into car hood

There comes a time when every car owner needs to send their vehicle into the workshop to repair or replace a part of their vehicle. Whether it's due to wear and tear, an unexpected breakdown, a desire for an upgrade, or routine maintenance, understanding the different types of car parts available will help you make an informed decision when the time eventually comes.

The three main categories of car parts are original, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), and aftermarket. While each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, most reputable workshops will recommend original car parts for their quality, compatibility, and support from the car manufacturer. Let’s explore original vs OEM vs aftermarket car parts in greater detail and how they might affect your car.

Original car parts, also known as genuine parts, are manufactured and supplied directly by the car's manufacturer. These parts are specifically designed to match the exact specifications of your vehicle, guaranteeing optimal performance and safety. Here’s why choosing original car parts is often the best option:

  • Guaranteed Compatibility: Original parts are tailor-made for your car, ensuring a perfect fit and seamless integration with your vehicle's systems.
  • Reliability: Since these parts are produced by the car’s manufacturer, they meet the highest standards of quality and durability.
  • Maintaining Warranty: Using original parts helps maintain your car’s warranty, providing you with peace of mind and financial protection against potential defects or failures.
  • Optimal Performance and Safety: Original parts are engineered to work harmoniously with your car’s existing components for optimal performance and safety.
car parts

Whilst original car parts are highly recommended, people sometimes opt for OEM or aftermarket car parts due to cost or availability. What are the pros and cons of choosing other types of parts? Let’s compare the differences:

OEM vs Original Car Parts

Compared to original car parts, OEM parts are produced by companies that supply parts to the car manufacturer but are sold separately. Reading this, you might be asking yourself, if that's the case, “Are OEM parts as good as original?”. While they are often similar in quality to original parts, there are some key differences:

  • Potential Quality Issues: OEM car parts may vary in quality. This is because these parts do not undergo the quality checks done by the car manufacturer.
  • Fit Problems: Although they are made by the same supplier, OEM parts might not always fit as perfectly as original parts. This is due to minor variations in production standards or slight differences in specifications that can occur when parts are not made specifically for your vehicle's model and year. These discrepancies, though small, can lead to issues with installation or performance over time.
  • Warranty Impact: Using OEM parts might affect your car's warranty, depending on the manufacturer’s policies.

Aftermarket vs Original Parts

Aftermarket parts are produced by third-party companies and are designed to fit multiple vehicle makes and models. Someone might choose aftermarket parts over original car parts because they are often more affordable or to modify their car outside of the manufacturer’s specifications. While often cheaper, aftermarket parts come with their own set of issues:

  • Quality Concerns: Aftermarket car parts can range from high-quality to subpar, making it difficult to ensure reliability. This variability is due to the different manufacturing processes and materials used by various third-party companies.
  • Fit and Compatibility: These car parts might not fit as well as original or OEM parts, potentially leading to performance issues. Since they are designed to fit a wide range of vehicles, they may not adhere to the precise specifications required for your specific car model.
  • Warranty and Safety: Using aftermarket parts can void your car’s warranty and may not meet the safety standards set by the original manufacturer.

Besides the potential issues with OEM or aftermarket car parts outlined above, there are also external circumstances you should consider that make choosing original car parts a better choice.

Regulatory Considerations

In Singapore, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) regulates vehicle modifications, which include the replacing, adding or removing of a vehicle’s components or systems, such that the vehicle is different from the original manufacturer’s specifications.

Before making any modifications to existing parts, vehicle owners are advised to check their car’s manual, consult with their dealers for the manufacturer’s recommendations, and ensure that the modifications comply with LTA’s guidelines to ensure road safety and environmental standards.

fixing car

Regular car maintenance is vital to preventing breakdowns and extending your vehicle's lifespan. Follow these tips to keep your car running at its best:

  1. Routine Checks: Regularly inspect your car's fluid levels, lights, and tyre pressure. Neglecting these checks can lead to major issues later on, such as engine damage, poor visibility, or tyre blowouts.
  2. Oil Changes: Send your car to a workshop to change oil filters and other parts according to workshop or manufacturer recommendations. This helps keep the engine running smoothly and prevents long-term damage.
  3. Tyre Rotations: Send your car to a workshop to rotate the tires according to workshop or manufacturer recommendations. This ensures even wear and extends their lifespan, improving safety and performance.
  4. Brake Inspections: Regularly check your brakes to ensure they are functioning properly and replace worn-out brake pads.

Send Your Car to Professionals at Authorised Workshops

The last thing you want is a poor repair job that adds to the cost of owning a car. Engaging professionals at authorised car workshops to take care of your car maintenance or repair needs gives you peace of mind knowing that your vehicle will be taken care of by trained professionals according to manufacturer standards.

Authorised workshops are certified by the car manufacturer and employ technicians who are specially trained to work on your specific make and model. They have direct access to original car parts and use advanced diagnostic tools and equipment recommended by the manufacturer. By choosing an authorised workshop, you ensure that your car is serviced to the highest standards, maintaining its warranty and ensuring both safety and reliability.

Post-Repair Checks

After sending your car for repair, look out for the following to ensure everything is in order:

  • Check for Unresolved Issues: Test drive your car to ensure all issues have been resolved.
  • Request for a Detailed Report: Ask the workshop for a detailed report of the repairs performed and the parts used. This will help you verify that original car parts were used and that the work meets the manufacturer's standards.
  • Maintain Your Own Records: Keep detailed records of all repairs and maintenance work done on your car for future reference.

Understanding the differences between original, OEM, and aftermarket car parts is crucial for making informed decisions about your vehicle’s maintenance and repair. Choosing the right parts can significantly impact your car's performance, safety, and longevity. When it comes to ensuring your vehicle is in top condition, original parts are often the best choice.

Get real care on the road with Income's DrivoTM Car Insurance. Accidents may happen unexpectedly, causing stress and anxiety, but you don't have to face it alone. Our dedicated accident response team, Orange Force, will provide assistance anywhere in Singapore. Plus, with the DrivoTM Advantage Plan, you can ensure that you get original parts for repairs or maintenance on Toyota, Mercedes Benz and Nissan cars aged 7 years and below.

Safeguard your car with DrivoTM Car Insurance and enjoy these benefits:

  • Reimbursement of expenses for vehicle repairs from an accident.
  • Personal accident benefit and medical expenses coverage in the event of an accident.
  • Coverage for third-party property damages.
  • Exclusive roadside accident assistance and accident reporting service from Orange Force.

Explore the comprehensive coverage options and benefits DrivoTM Car Insurance in Singapore offers. Get a quote today to protect your car.

Isaac Teo is a seasoned writer with over five years of experience specialising in topics like insurance, money management, health and wellbeing. He is passionate about crafting informative, digestible pieces that empower readers to make informed decisions and enhance their lives. 

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