Are All Replacement Car Parts the Same?

Are All Replacement Car Parts the Same?

Each different vehicle make and model has different parts required. Each vehicle has varying features, unique performance components, and packaged characteristics to be addressed in terms of replacement parts or custom and high-performance offerings from the after-market parts industries. It is rare to find a line of vehicles that utilize the cookie cutter method of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) parts, that is, a one-part-fits-all approach. This was how the automotive industry started, but it hasn’t been seen for nearly a Century. Variations are not just common for parts but entire systems.

In today’s market a case can be made for a movement toward standardizing auto parts across the board. Many new items are engineered from the ground up, and it is expensive to do so. Every new part requires an endless list of research and development, market research, engineering, testing, integration, purchasing, stocking, advertising, support, manufacturing, distribution, accounting, and more. This turns a giant economic wheel in almost every industry and trickles down opportunities for many smaller businesses. Recently there has been a lot of talk about the need to reduce costs and deliver quality in the same breath. This can almost assuredly be accomplished, but the only way it can be is through standardization.

This is not to say; reduce the quality, but it is to say; reduce the cost of producing quality. The reality of today’s automotive and after-market parts industries is pretty straightforward, as most see it; price vs. quality. This is not always true for everything the consumer has to decide about, but it is true for most. Actual after-market products are copies of the originals. The problem is that they are not like the original parts. They may look like genuine manufacturer’sactualo parts, especially in the obvious places where the after-market manufacturer knows the consumer will look. You pretty much get what you pay for automotive replacement parts, whether OEM or budget-priced knockoffs, where quality and performance are concerned.

Custom-made, high-performance parts have the reputation of delivering what they say they will look at at a price. This creates even more confusion for the consumer. They see mostly higher pricing (not all) with high performance and custom vehicle parts and ask themselves: is this far and away, above and beyond what I need? The consumer may then convince himself, usually with the aid of a salesperson, that the budget knockoff part is good enough, or these are all the same parts; they will do the same job, they are the same quality. So the consumer may end up with an after-market part on his vehicle that does more damage to related vehicle systems or simply doesn’t perform or has minimal durability. There is evidence that modern vehicle parts manufacturers and, for that matter, vehicle manufacturers will continue the trend toward standardizing, reducing, and reusing in the future.

Many internal components of Toyota-made automatic transmissions are reused in new vehicles. Daimler-Chrysler has been late for recycling existing equipment into new and updated processes. GM and Ford have also demonstrated the will to start a carry-over of the standardization program, in which many parts will be identical. The idea is to “engineer” around existing proven components.

Variation will eventually dwindle, and the cost of producing quality will also. A good number of internal components have been subjected to a standardizing platform. Some components that the consumer can see and touch have been standardized in recent late model designs.

What has all this got to do with replacement parts for your 1978 Buick? Nothing whatsoever. But what it does have to do with is a future where automotive parts will be of high quality and inexpensive. You can’t find after-market parts for your 2006 Infiniti. There is a reason for that. There’s no market for it.
You can only get parts for it from the dealer right now. Vehicles under warranty will not need replacement parts until that warranty is over.

Someday, in the distant future, you will be able to buy custom and high-performance quality at after-market pricing. That day, however, is not today. You must be concerned with value-added automotive parts in that quality, in general, and quality and proven performance name brands come with an initially higher price tag than others. Realizing that those “others” will end up costing you more in the long run in irreversible damage to your vehicle and peace of mind, be mindful of your decisions about the quality and its actual value.