Buyers' Guide: Not all parts are created equal
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You’re going to need a new ... ” It’s the start of that sentence that nobody wants to hear from their technician after they’ve taken their car into the workshop for a service or inspection.
The need for something new doesn’t have to be too scary, though. In loads of situations there are options to consider before stressing about the cost.
Genuine parts are those made by the car manufacturer, the same as those fitted when it was first built. They’ll come in branded packaging and look official. But if you’re not keen on having genuine parts straight from the manufacturer, you have other options.
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are built in the same factories as those with the slick branding.
For example, Bosch manufactures numerous parts for different car makers and in many cases the only difference between them is the packaging, but the price is often lower while the quality remains the same.
To find out if this option is available, you can ask your service centre or go to the parts counter at your dealership.
Aftermarket parts are another option. Mass-produced in factories that aren’t associated with the type of vehicle you drive, they look similar to genuine parts.
As they’re not manufacturer-specific, some car-proud motorists will be wary about having them fitted, but sometimes they do contain features that make them just as good as genuine or OEM parts.
They can be less expensive, too, but don’t be fooled by the upfront cost as sometimes they’re harder to fit and that will mean a higher labour bill.
To avoid compromising the safety of your vehicle, only buy aftermarket parts that meet New Zealand standards.
If you have an older vehicle and are struggling to find a specific new part, you may want to consider refurbished parts.
These can be any of the above which have been brought back to life after being thoroughly inspected and tested.
Spending money on a new engine or transmission for your 15-year-old vehicle doesn’t make sense, so it’s worth having that conversation with your technician beforehand.
A lot of research and development goes into the design of vehicle parts which ultimately dictates their price.
Having them fitted by a service centre that is recognised by your vehicle’s manufacturer will also help to keep labour costs down as they’ll have more knowledge and training around the parts and how to fit them.
Some motorists get more peace of mind by sticking with genuine and OEM parts as it’s what the vehicle came with when new.
For older cars that have seen better days, it may not be economical to fit genuine or OEM components anymore, so aftermarket parts would be the next best option.
They’ll help to bring maintenance costs down and will continue to keep your vehicle safe on the road.
If you’re worried about parts prematurely failing, you may also be pleased to know that whether you buy genuine, OEM or aftermarket, they should all be covered by a warranty from the components manufacturer.