Nothing lasts forever. The things we purchase start out shiny and new, but over time parts wear out or break down. Have you ever had to replace car floor mats? The charger for your phone or tablet? A shower head or hose? Printer ink? When these need to be changed, the first thing most of us do is search online for options. And it’s then we realise that these options fall into two main categories – OEM and Aftermarket. What’s the difference between the two, and what do you need to know in order to make an informed decision?
What are OEM Spares?
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM parts are parts made directly by the original manufacturer, not a third-party manufacturer. For example, if the windscreen wipers wear out on your Audi, you purchase Audi-made wiper blades as replacements.
The benefit of purchasing OEM parts is that they fit perfectly according to the manufacturer’s specification, with no requirement for adjusting the purchased OEM part.
What are Aftermarket Spares?
Aftermarket parts are manufactured by a third party and are designed to replace the original manufacturer’s parts, often at a lower cost. For one part there may be many variations, so carefully check the original specification against the third-party options, otherwise you may not get a perfect fit.
OEM Parts vs Aftermarket Spares
- Keep the appliance in its original state
- Perfect fit
- Same part colour
- Perfect finish
- Original manufacturer’s Product ID
- Often more expensive when compared to aftermarket parts
- Usually lower cost when compared to OEM
- Look the same or similar to the original part
- Longer time to research to find the correct part
Hands down, OEM parts are the best option if cost isn’t an issue. However, you can always find a good deal, which means there might not be as big a difference in price if you take time to do the research.
You have to keep in mind that OEM parts are designed and built by the original manufacturer, whereas aftermarket parts are not. The aftermarket part may work at first, but will more than likely fail prematurely if the part quality is poor.
Where to go for OEM spares?
You can go back to the original manufacturer for the OEM part, which may be available through their website. Alternatively, there are other ways of purchasing OEM parts. The original designer and manufacturer of the part may not be the manufacturer of the complete product. How many companies these days outsource manufacturing of parts for their final product? For example, here’s one company selling OEM parts – First Choice Electrolux spares. This page is for Electrolux spares, used in repairing commercial kitchen appliances. They have the UK’s largest stock of genuine OEM Electrolux spares, accessories and consumables. Using a website like this, you can find the manufacturer’s same ID part number to enable you to purchase an identical spare part, which will come with the manufacturer’s warranty.
In conclusion, aftermarket parts can be a cost-effective alternative if you are confident that the part’s quality is as good as or better than the original. But for confidence and peace of mind, it’s often worth paying the additional amount to get a part that will be a like-for-like replacement for the original, will be easy to fit and will be backed by the manufacturer’s guarantee.