If your vehicle needs repairs and you will do the work yourself, you may need to buy some parts for the job. Getting the highest-quality auto parts that fit your vehicle correctly is critical, and there are some excellent ways to ensure that you get the parts you need.
Original Equipment Manufacturer
The term OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, is used a lot in the auto parts industry, and it refers to auto parts made for your vehicle by the same vendor that made the parts that came on the car from the factory. When you are making repairs on your vehicle, you can get OEM parts from the parts department of a factory dealership in your area.
Often the price of these parts is a little higher, but the quality is equal to that of the original part, and it will fit on the vehicle perfectly. In some situations, the part you need may only be available through the dealer. You may not be able to buy it anywhere else unless you are considering used parts, which is a viable option for auto parts in limited supply.
OEM auto parts often carry the best warranty, and because they are duplicates of the original piece, they can be easier to install without problems, making the repair more manageable and allowing you to complete it faster. If you do not have a dealer near you, you can order the parts from one and have them ship the parts to you.
Third-Party Replacement Parts
An alternative to OEM auto parts is replacement parts from third-party manufacturers, often offered in auto parts stores around the country. These parts are often standard replacements for the original part, but they are made by a different vendor than the OEM parts, so there may be slight differences.
Third-party replacement auto parts are supposed to match your car, but because some manufacturers are trying to make replacement parts to fit several different vehicles that use the same engine, they may manufacturer the replacements with slight variations to facilitate that goal. Typically this is not a problem, but it is still important to buy the best quality auto parts from the vendor that you can afford to reduce the risk of it not fitting on your car or truck correctly.
Warranties on third-party auto parts are often shorter than OEM parts, but that can depend on the quality level of the part you are buying. For example, the retailer may offer an alternator in three price tiers that reflect the part's quality. The top tier part may have a full replacement warranty of a year, while the next tier down could be ninety days, and the lowest only might only be thirty days.
For more information on where to find auto parts, contact a professional near you.