Avoiding Aftermarket Parts Disasters

Anyone looking for aftermarket products for their motor vehicle should know how to avoid aftermarket parts disasters. There are different aftermarket products for motor vehicles, but today, we’ll focus on aftermarket parts.

Aftermarket products include installing sunroofs, adding special lighting, or other accessories. A more common type of aftermarket products are aftermarket parts which are used to replace damaged or non-functioning parts.

OEM Parts vs Aftermarket Parts?

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are parts created by your vehicle’s manufacturer or a supply manufacturer.

Sometimes, a company provides parts to a manufacturer and produces the same parts, classifying them as aftermarket parts. In other cases, a company reverse-engineers an existing part, creating an aftermarket part.

These differences can be confusing. It’s crucial to understand the nature of aftermarket parts for avoiding aftermarket parts disasters. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages to aftermarket parts.

What Are Possible Problems with Aftermarket Parts?

One of the biggest potential problems with aftermarket parts is quality. According to the website Mosport:

One of the main drawbacks of aftermarket parts is that the quality and durability may be inferior to OEM parts. While some aftermarket parts are designed and manufactured to meet or exceed OEM standards, others may be of lower quality and may not last as long as OEM parts.

This isn’t always the case. In fact, some OEM parts may be defective which means replacing them with another OEM part may not solve the problem.

Compatibility Issues

Another possible drawback is that an aftermarket part will not work as well with your vehicle as an OEM part. This is different than quality in that a defect in an aftermarket part’s quality could lead to it wearing out quicker than an OEM part. Here, an aftermarket part may not perform as well as an OEM part.

Vehicle Warranty Issues

You may have heard that using aftermarket parts voids your vehicle’s warranty. While installing an aftermarket part does not void a warranty in and of itself (this is illegal), things aren’t that cut and dry.

For example, the Federal Trade Commission (the same agency you would file a complaint with if a dealer told you that installing an aftermarket part voided your warranty) notes:

…if someone installs a defective aftermarket or recycled part, or doesn’t install a part correctly, it could damage a part that the warranty covers. If that happens, the manufacturer or dealer can deny warranty coverage for the damaged part and charge you for repairs. The manufacturer or dealer must prove the aftermarket or recycled part caused the damage before they can deny warranty coverage.

As we’ll see later, there are options for dealing with disputes about your warranty.

Inspection Issues
Aftermarket parts should not be an issue with your vehicle’s inspection unless the aftermarket part malfunctions and affects a component of your vehicle that makes it impossible to pass inspection.

Are Aftermarket Parts Inherently Bad?

Depending on who you listen to, aftermarket parts are something to avoid like the plague or just a bad decision. However, there are advantages to using aftermarket parts. As we’ll see, the disadvantages of some aftermarket parts can be avoided. In some cases, you may be required to use aftermarket parts.


A major advantage of aftermarket parts is their lower cost compared to OEM parts. While there are always exceptions, aftermarket parts are more affordable, which can be a big help. If you own an older model vehicle you may prefer the aftermarket part due to the cost. Your older model vehicle may not have a warranty for you to be concerned about.


A second advantage is that aftermarket parts are often easier to obtain than OEM parts. Your repair work may take longer if you use OEM parts as they may not be readily available.

Aftermarket Parts and Insurance Coverage

One situation in which you may encounter aftermarket parts is when your vehicle is damaged in an accident and you file a claim to cover the repair costs. In some cases, your insurance policy will only cover replacement parts.

You can request OEM parts, but you’ll want to see how your insurance company handles this situation. For instance, will you have to pay the difference between the aftermarket and OEM parts?

You should check your insurance company’s policy in this situation, especially if you drive a luxury car or other expensive vehicle.

How to Handle Problems with Insurance Coverage of Aftermarket Parts

If you think your insurance company is not honoring the terms of your policy, you have different options to remedy things. These include talking with your agent, your claims adjuster, your attorney, or your state’s insurance commissioner.

Insurance companies are regulated by individual states which means what is permissible in one state may not be so in another.

Avoiding Aftermarket Parts Disasters

Like any consumer choice, you’ll want to empower yourself by looking into things. This includes asking trusted sources. As mentioned, aftermarket parts have their uses. Avoiding aftermarket disasters is all about knowledge.

Qualified Technicians

A qualified automotive technician will let you know what your choices are when it comes to parts and let you know what the pros and cons are.

Reputable Parts

As we’ve seen, aftermarket parts are often reverse-engineered so they should be the same as factory parts? However, shoddy manufacturing or other production problems doesn’t guarantee the part will work as well as a factory part. Check reviews about the company that produces the aftermarket part you want.

Certified Aftermarket Parts

The is an agency that tests aftermarket parts. As noted at its website:

The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) was established in the public interest in 1987 to set up and oversee a testing program to assure the suitability and quality of automotive replacement parts.

These tests allow people ranging from consumers to insurance adjusters a means of ensuring the quality of parts. As mentioned, some aftermarket parts may be equal to or superior to OEM parts. However, not all parts are and it is essential to make sure your replacement parts are the right fit.

More Information about Aftermarket Parts

If you find yourself in the Lewiston, Maine area, bring your vehicle to Berube’s Complete Auto Care for the answers to your aftermarket questions. We can also help if your vehicle needs any repairs.

Berube’s certified technicians will give you a list of repairs and how much it will cost. Our team will also let you know what your options for parts are. Avoiding aftermarket parts disasters can save you money in the short term and long term.

If you choose to, you can rely on our highly-trained team of technicians to perform the repairs. Contact Berube’s today – we’re ready to help. Our team of certified technicians can assist with any of your winter weather needs, in addition to the regular service you may need for your vehicle.