It’s very tempting to choose an aftermarket part, but is it worth the risk?
Aftermarket parts are cheaper, they are available through multiple outlets and their makers claim their quality is equal to that of genuine parts. While it might be tempting to choose the cheaper option when you’re in a hurry and need to get back on the road quickly, the question is how long will you actually be on the road?
Purchasing genuine parts is an easier option as you only have one type to choose from and you can be confident that it will fit right the first time, but it needs to be viewed as a package. It’s not just about buying a genuine part; it’s also about the benefits and added value you get from that first purchase that will support you for the long haul.
Better warranty – You won’t find a better warranty than one provided by an original equipment (OE) manufacturer. Most aftermarket companies will only offer the standard 12-month product warranty, with very limited support.
Better performance – It should go without saying that if the manufacturer of the original part also makes the replacement, you can be confident it will perform exactly as the manufacturer intended it to. Not only will it be reliable, using the same materials ensures the part will not warp or distort over time. This saves you money in the long run as you will not have to replace the same part over and over. For example, a genuine OE clutch disc will almost always provide smoother engagement, easier shifting and greater durability than a non-genuine item simply due to the use of higher quality materials and a more stringent assembly standard.
Staying safe – Using non-genuine parts could compromise the safety performance of your vehicle. Common aftermarket replacements include brake drums and linings, which are critical for the safety of the vehicle’s driver and passengers and also other road users and pedestrians. Genuine brake linings are guaranteed to fit better and are tested to withstand repeated heat cycles with lower fade characteristics. Some non-consumable aftermarket parts may be salvaged from a crashed vehicle or compromised in some other way, so you can’t be certain they’ll perform as intended. This is critical if the part houses sensors or triggers relating to the safety and crash performance of the vehicle.
The right part for the right market – If you’re buying a part from anywhere other than an accredited dealer, it’s likely it has come from another market outside Australia. This raises problems as the design or functionality of parts in different regions may differ, leaving you with a part that’s not intended for use in Australia’s demanding conditions. You want to be confident that the part you are purchasing has been tested on every road condition imaginable to ensure it will perform as intended.
Unparalleled factory support – OE manufacturers have put a lot of time and investment into developing and engineering each component of your truck, and as a result, the manufacturer is well versed in what a part does, and why it does it. An aftermarket manufacturer simply cannot afford to undertake the same level of development, generally taking measurements and simply copying what the OE manufacturer has created. While the aftermarket part and packaging may look correct, its ability to perform correctly can’t be relied upon. In the event of a quality issue arising, you can be confident that purchasing genuine parts from the dealer network means it will quickly be resolved.
Better range – Any good manufacturer’s parts division should be able to source any part you need for your vehicle, helping eliminate downtime spent looking for a suitable aftermarket item. Many aftermarket suppliers will only stock common parts.
Better support for older vehicles – Many aftermarket companies will produce only late model replacements or popular parts for an older model. Many OE manufacturer’s parts catalogues will not only include older models, but the range for those older trucks will also be more expansive. If you need to find a small item for a 30-year-old truck, your first point of call should be the OE manufacturer.
For a part that needs replacing, it’s hard to see the long-term worth in purchasing an aftermarket part. For a very comparable price, genuine parts provide the peace of mind that you have purchased the best possible quality part for your vehicle.