Aftermarket V.S OEM
Aftermarket Parts vs. OEM: What You Should Know
If you take your mower or equipment to a dealership for service, you will get OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. If you go to a small engine shop, you will most likely (though not all of the time ) get aftermarket parts. Many people assume that OEM is better, and worry that aftermarket parts may not be up to par. Is there any truth to this belief? Or does it make sense to save money by using aftermarket parts? What’s the difference, anyway? Here’s what you should know.
As the name suggests, OEM parts are made by the manufacturer. They are exactly the same as the parts that your equipment was built with. There are pros and cons to using OEM parts.
Only one option: If you request a particular part at a dealership, you will receive the one that matches your mower. You don’t need to worry about comparison-shopping.
Quality assurance/warranty: You can be 100% certain that the OEM part works identically to the one it’s replacing. You will normally receive a part and labor warranty as well.
Price: OEM parts generally cost more than aftermarket parts, in some cases as much as 60% more. However, as small engine shops use more and more OEM parts this might not always be the case.
Limited availability: OEM parts are typically either purchased at the dealership or sourced online. You can ask a small engine shop to use OEM parts, but they generally have to order them, which can significantly increase the repair time.
An aftermarket part is any part that is made by someone other than the manufacturer of the mower. Contrary to a popular myth, using aftermarket parts does not void the mowers warranty as long as they are direct replacements. Many aftermarket parts function just as well as, or even better than, the OEM version. Still, like OEM parts, aftermarket parts also have their own pros and cons.
Price: Aftermarket parts are generally less expensive than OEM parts, and the savings can be significant. Of course, an incredibly low price could signal a lack of quality, so ask your Small engine mechanic about any savings that seem too good to be true.
Variety: Aftermarket parts are made by reverse-engineering the OEM part, which can sometimes mean fixing some original weaknesses. You can also decide what’s most important to you. For example, you might find an aftermarket air filter works more efficiently than the OEM air filter, but at the cover does not fit as well. You get to decide whether the improved filtration is worth potentially the cover not being latched on all of the time.
Availability: Aftermarket parts are readily available at your choice of small engine shops. As long as you trust your shop to make good choices regarding quality, you can get the work done quickly wherever you like.
Overwhelming choices: There are so many options for each part that you may feel overwhelmed by your choices. That’s where a trustworthy parts company is key. They can narrow down the options and help you find the right high-quality aftermarket part at the right price.
Warranty issues: Not all aftermarket parts come with a warranty. Ask your small engine shop to use only parts that come with a warranty. You may pay slightly more, but the peace of mind is well worth it. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of OEM vs. aftermarket parts. Some people simply prefer to have all OEM parts in their equipment, and are willing to pay a premium for them. Others are cost-driven, and will gladly accept the least expensive aftermarket parts. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, preferring to strike a balance between cost, convenience, and quality. If you have questions about OEM parts, please don't hesitate to call us at 800-305-9255, or email us, and we'll be happy to answer