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OEM Parts vs Discount Parts: What Mechanics Should Know

Mechanics should be ready for questions about OEM parts. It will either be to justify the use of OEM parts due to the extra costs, or it may be to defend non-OEM parts as low-cost quality replacements.

The Case for OEM Parts

The use of non-OEM parts can be cause to reject warranty claims. However, as the car grows older, the threat of losing the warranty is gone. Luxury manufacturers make a strong case for OEM parts, and their shops often insist on these parts.

Branded dealerships will point out there is often no way to prove the discount part is certified to do the job for which it was made.  There really aren’t many standards governing these knock-offs, and that’s why adhere to OEM parts.

Choosing the original equipment manufacturer is the only way to know for sure that the engineering is sound, the sizing is accurate, and the materials are of the right quality. All of this is crucial to the success of the repair in the long run. An inferior part can lead to a shorter lifespan for the vehicle. 

In high-performance vehicles, every component has been tuned to play a role in top horsepower and torque delivery. It is logical to a true driving enthusiast to utilize OEM parts approved by the manufacturer. They don’t want to risk throwing off the rhythms of a finely tuned machine.

The Case for Non-OEM Parts

The first and most obvious reason not to use OEM parts is to save money. This can make a big difference in some of the biggest repair bills. This makes it important for mechanics to know how to defend this practice.

From this point of view, you can reassure your customers that non-OEM parts are put to the test constantly. The data is in the number of successful repairs that happen every day with non-OEM parts.  

Spending extra for OEM parts may make sense when the car is under warranty. However, after that, it’s just driving up the cost of the repair. There’s no way to know if OEM parts will really help you sell the car someday.  In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that, while consumers care about these things, dealers don’t really reward the practice of trade-in.

Customers are often putting repair work on a credit card. This makes it vital to save everything they can at the time of the repair. You can’t control the interest rates, but you can lower the initial charge that will accrue interest.

If a car is very old, then keeping repair costs down is important. There’s no guarantee that the vehicle will run long enough to justify spending a penny more than is absolutely necessary.

There is some evidence to suggest that certain OEM parts are more vital than others. You may want the radiator fan or other vital mechanical component to be made by the original equipment manufacturer. On the other hand, using a high-quality brake pad by a non-OEM manufacturer would be fine.

Mechanics will do well to know enough arguments on both sides of this issue to be able to discuss it with their customers.  

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