I am sure it would be, "how do I get a replacement part that fulfills the need at the lowest possible price?" And believe me; most sensible people would think the same way.
Let's face it; nobody likes to spend big bucks on car repairs and part replacements. In fact, if given a choice, nobody would even want to be in a situation where his / her car needs a repair or a replacement part.
This is basic human nature and we all exhibit it. As far as I am concerned, I would rather spend extra money on a fancy car stereo than go for a costly replacement auto part. I would any day prefer the cheapest possible repair or part replacement that does the job and so would you unless you are a celebrity and money sticks to you like a shadow.
So what are the options you can consider if your vehicle needs a replacement part?
In the current market scenario, we have 3 major options namely:
- Aftermarket Parts
- Used OEM Parts
- Brand New Discounted Parts
Let's discuss the pros and cons of each so that we can make a decision.
Aftermarket Parts for a vehicle may be defined as auto parts made by a manufacturer other than the original vehicle manufacturer.
But that is not necessarily the correct definition as most vehicle manufacturers do not make all the parts themselves. They may ask a different company to manufacture a certain auto part for them. In that case, the first definition would not hold true.
I believe the following example would make the concept clear.
If you are fitting an Air Filter in your ABC car and that Air Filter is not manufactured, not considered a standard fitment (stock option) and not recommended by the ABC Company, it qualifies as an aftermarket part as far as ABC Company is concerned. In that case, all warranty from ABC Company for your ABC car is void.
That is not the only consequence of fitting aftermarket parts in your vehicle. These parts are not tested for compatibility with all makes and models of cars. As a result, an aftermarket part may not function properly in your car leading to unforeseen problems. For example, an aftermarket Air Filter can harm you car engine if it is not compatible with your car model resulting in low engine-efficiency or perhaps total engine damage.
Aftermarket parts don't necessarily confirm to laws and regulations for quality and performance. For Example, aftermarket headlights may not confirm to the local regulations in your state or perhaps your aftermarket engine does not meet the emission standards in your state. It is imperative that you ascertain correct details and features of an aftermarket part before you purchase it.
Depending on factors like quality and brand-name, an aftermarket part can cost less, equal or more than a brand new OEM part.
A good quality aftermarket part manufactured by a company specializing in a particular domain qualifies as a performance enhancing auto part and usually costs more than what a brand new normal OEM part would. Unless you are willing to shell out money on car customization, you don't need to tread that path.
One truth about aftermarket parts holds good even today; "use it at your own peril."
Used OEM auto parts for a vehicle are manufactured by the same manufacturer that made the vehicle. The only factor being, these parts are not brand new. They have been used before, probably in another vehicle of the same make and somehow found their way to a scrap-yard or salvage-yard.
In this case, a fact that one should consider before purchasing a used auto part is that used parts from a certain ABC car most probably will fit only ABC cars of the same model and year as per company standards. This is because manufacturers might introduce slight changes or enhancements in auto part designs and specifications every year for any particular model.
Since all OEM auto parts from a particular car manufacturer are of the same quality and tested for optimum performance by the manufacturer, you don't end up making any compromises on this front. Remember, this is not the case with aftermarket parts.
Used auto parts could be your best option in terms of cost-effectiveness and quality provided you select the correct auto part online and buy it from a recognized seller only. The advantage of buying from established sellers is that you get original quality tested parts at low prices and usually with no shipping charges.
The only worrying factor about used auto parts may be about their history. The part could be salvaged from a car that got destroyed in an accident or perhaps from a car that was scrapped after serving a lifetime. Then there are also some used auto parts available that were used by the original manufacturer for testing purposes.
Whatever be the history of the part, you can get a confirmation from the seller over the phone before buying. Major used auto-part dealers exercise quality control by maintaining a log about the condition and history of a particular auto part so that the customer knows about the exact age and origin of the part he / she is buying.
Moreover, vehicle's manufacturer warranty does not get nullified if you install a used OEM part in your vehicle.
Used auto parts are the most cost effective out of all the three options since they cost just about one-third the price of brand new OEM auto parts.
Brand New Discounted Auto Parts probably don't need any description. These are brand new auto parts sold at discount prices. Definitely a great option but these are not available everyday and at every store. In fact, they are available occasionally and at the sole discretion of the dealer. If you are lucky enough, you might find the part you need on discount but as is the case usually, the parts that are sold at a discount are the ones that have the least demand. Hence, if you desperately need a brand new replacement part for your car, you might have to wait till it is available at discount prices.
To conclude, you can choose any of these options depending on your need and suitability but please remember that in the case of repairs and part replacements, you should take a step only after weighing the pros and cons of each available option.