Regardless of how well we care for and maintain our cars, at some stage something will need replacing. It’s a given and one which we simply have to accept as car owners! If we are lucky, it’ll be through simple wear and tear, but if we are unlucky it’ll be the result of a bump or crash.
Whatever the reason, if you need to repair your car you generally have two options: you can head to an official dealership and buy genuine car parts, or you can head to your local independent garage and buy non-genuine parts- often referred to as “aftermarket” parts.
Initially, it seems rather odd that there is even a choice, as you’d generally think that there would be one type of a particular part for each car. Wrong!
How do you know which to choose when something needs replacing on your vehicle? Despite the fact that aftermarket parts are often cheaper than genuine parts, we have three very good reasons why it is worth spending that little bit more.
Quality and Performance
The main difference between genuine and non-genuine parts such as aftermarket parts is the way in which they are made. Genuine parts are built in the same factories on the same production lines as the cars they are fitted to. The difference with aftermarket parts is that they aren’t built on the same production lines. Instead, they are built as multi-purpose parts meant to fit a number of cars and models.
We spoke with Volkswagen parts retailer VW Motor Parts for a more detailed explanation of the difference between the two, particularly in their performance. They told us: “Because aftermarket parts are made with a number of models in mind, they can never be as efficient or perform as well as genuine parts. Despite the fact that they are often cheaper, aftermarket parts can end up costing you more. Because they aren’t optimised for one particular model, they can cause further issues, so you’ll end up replacing them earlier than genuine parts.”
Another very serious issue is safety. When any of us takes to the road, we expect a certain level of safety from our vehicles. This is precisely the reason we have organisations such as Euro NCAP who test cars for safety before they are released so that we can make an informed decision when buying a new car.
However, when deciding to fit a car with aftermarket parts, you essentially compromise your own safety. Because parts aren’t specifically designed for your particular model, you can’t expect them to work in tandem with the rest of your car quite the same in the event of an accident.
Take a look at this interesting post from The Legal Examiner which examines the very serious safety risks of fitting your car with aftermarket parts.
When buying a car from a dealership, a warranty for a certain length of time will be included with the vehicle. Warranty is very helpful because it means that any issues with the car before the time limit will be resolved via the manufacturer.
However, people take risks with their warranty by having some repairs done with aftermarket parts. Once aftermarket parts are installed, the car is technically no longer entirely “as bought” meaning that you could be in danger of voiding the warranty.
This is certainly not a blanket rule for all car warranties, but it is worth checking before making any repairs that you will massively regret. Take a look at this article from Consumer Reports for more information on the ins and outs of breaking warranty deals on cars.
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