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Aftermarket vs. OEM Auto Parts: What Are the Differences?


Did you know that the OEM auto parts industry is expected to become a $39 billion industry by 2028? 

If you’re in the market for additional or replacement car parts, then you more or less have two options. You can go with OEM auto parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or aftermarket auto parts. But which option would best suit your needs?

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the difference between the two.

OEM Parts & The Aftermarket Defined

OEM parts are made by a vehicle’s original manufacturer and, typically, are sold directly by the manufacturer. 

Replacement auto parts sold in the aftermarket are manufactured and sold by second and third-party manufacturers. Aftermarket parts are designed to fit as many vehicles as possible. These parts tend to be more readily available than their OEM counterparts because they are sold by conventional auto parts stores.

The Differences

There are several key differences between OEM parts and aftermarket parts. Let’s take a closer look at some of those key differences.

Quality & Fit

OEM parts have the highest quality and best fit money can buy. This is because they come directly from a vehicle’s original manufacturer and are designed specifically for each vehicle.

Aftermarket parts have a lesser focus on quality and fit. They are designed to fit as many vehicles as possible, meaning a great deal of them will not be a perfect fit. Many aftermarket parts also tend to have a cheaper quality to them as compared to OEM.


One of the biggest reasons aftermarket parts are so popular is their price point. Compared to OEM parts, the difference in prices can be night and day.

Generally speaking, OEM parts are more expensive because of their specificity. For people who aren’t car enthusiasts and just need a part or two replaced, this specificity may not be necessary. Aftermarket parts present them with a cheap, money-saving alternative.


Aftermarket parts are sold everywhere. They’re not hard to find, and getting a part you need is often as simple as going to your local auto parts store.

With OEM parts, many of them are not available at regular auto parts stores. Many of these parts are only available through authorized dealers or online resellers.

For example, if you’re looking to get specific replacement parts for your Audi or BMW, then a normal auto parts distributor is not going to cut it. Online vendors that specialize in European auto parts are what you need. Check out as an excellent example.

The Bottom-Line on OEM Auto Parts

The decision between OEM auto parts and aftermarket auto parts isn’t complicated. If quality and fit are your top priority, then OEM is the way to go. If you’re looking to save money and are not focused on quality or perfect fitting, then the aftermarket is for you. 

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