Differences Between Genuine, OEM, Pattern And Aftermarket Parts!

Jek Ray Low
20 Jan 2021

If you’ve ever done a spot of car parts shopping online, chances are that you would have come across 4 distinct types of replacement parts for your vehicle. The thing that makes the decision process so difficult, is that parts prices vary significantly between each category. The quality can be drastically different too.

So how can you decide which parts are for you? What are the main differences between the components?

These are components either manufactured by your automaker, or by a 3rd party contractor appointed and strictly regulated by the aforementioned automaker. The mangled and worn out components that have been taken off your vehicle would have been manufactured in a similar facility and to similar standards, allowing for excellent and reliable panel replacements without much fettling.

As they are built to their designed specifications, these parts will function in the way the manufacturer intended, and if in a structurally critical part of the vehicle, crumple or resist impact to the tolerances as pre-determined by the engineers. Consider this option if your vehicle is still under warranty, or if its a classic that can potentially be worth significantly more with all-original parts!

OEM Parts
OEM parts can be made by the same 3rd party manufacturer in the same facilities as their genuine counterparts. When negotiating a deal with an automaker, these vendors typically leave clauses in their contracts to sell the parts under their own brand and without support from the original manufacturer.

These parts are typically manufactured to the same standards and out of the same materials as the original, but are not supported by your automaker. This means the same part can be had for significantly less than a genuine equivalent, though your warranty may be voided if you choose to use these components!

Pattern Parts
Pattern parts are bits made not by an appointed contractor, but by a 3rd party that reverse engineers parts and resells them on the cheap. There are instances of these companies actually improving upon the original designs, though you’re more likely to hear the horror stories from the users of them!

This is because there’s no strict quality control, and no assurance that the part can perform as well as its OEM compatriots. As such, these may require more fettling to fit, though if you’re looking for parts for an older vehicle, you may be only able to get new bits from these organisations!

Aftermarket Parts
Unlike the aforementioned, which are respectful of the designer’s intent and the engineer’s tolerances, aftermarket parts can be built outside of parameters originally dreamt up by the car maker. Whole panels can be manipulated to allow owners to run meatier tyres, or even sport totally different body lines to their stock equivalents.

Lower end aftermarket body panels are usually fabricated from fibreglass, as it is a cheaper material to work as compared to the expensive metal presses needed to make steel or aluminium parts. Carbon Fibre is the material of choice for higher end aftermarket body parts, as they are lighter, stronger, and have a better finish right out of the mould!

Regardless of the marque of the vehicle that you’re daily, there will be some form of parts support in the aftermarket. If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a fender bender, opting for non-genuine parts, especially if it’s a car that isn’t worth all that much, or not have a lot of its COE left, can be the most financially viable way to go. If you care about only using the absolute best, genuine and OEM parts are the way to go.

There’s another reason why you’d need new parts is when you’ve purchased a used car, like the thousands that are available right now on the Carousell App, that has not been done up to your taste. With so many listings already live, and more being added daily, there’s surely something for everyone. That being said, if you still end up with a car that isn’t to your taste, OEM replacements and a trip to a paintshop can be a way to end up with a killer deal!

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