Do You Really Need To Buy Parts From The Dealership?

Posted on: 15 December 2021

If you're purchasing auto parts to install yourself, you typically have three options: the dealership, a local auto parts store, or the used market. You may wonder if it makes the most sense to buy directly from the dealership for new parts. After all, this option guarantees that you're purchasing right from the manufacturer, so doesn't it also mean getting the highest-quality components?

However, the answer isn't quite so clear-cut. If you're not familiar with how the automotive parts industry works, you may be surprised to learn that your vehicle manufacturer doesn't necessarily produce most of its own parts. Instead, there's a complex supply chain involving multiple producers, ultimately leaving you with more options for purchasing replacements that meet factory specifications.

What Is an OEM Part and Why Does It Matter?

The parts in your vehicle from the factory are original equipment or OE parts. When you buy replacements from the dealership, you're (most likely) buying identical components. These parts usually come with the vehicle manufacturer's logo stamped on them, so you may see a Toyota logo or a BMW logo depending on who made your car.

In reality, most parts come from third-party manufacturing companies, such as Bosch, Denso, Brembo, etc. The industry term for these companies is original equipment manufacturers or OEM. When purchasing parts for your vehicle, you may see them labeled as OEM. This label means the part is identical to the original equipment in your car, although it may not bear your manufacturer's logo.

While often much cheaper than buying directly from the dealership, these parts typically meet the exact specifications of the components that came in your vehicle from the factory. You should generally expect the same performance, longevity, and reliability when purchasing OEM. As a result, buying OEM makes excellent financial sense in many cases.

What About Dealership Parts?

Of course, there are still some reasons to purchase genuine parts from the dealership. Highly specialized components, such as radio head units, electronics, and so on, rarely have OEM equivalents. The dealership is usually the best bet when you need to replace one of these items on your car. Availability may also be better at the dealership, which can be helpful when you need a part right away.

Warranty length is another consideration. Factory parts purchased directly from a dealership may come with an extended warranty compared to OEM parts. Whether the extra guarantee on the parts is worth the additional cost is a personal choice, but it's worth taking the time to compare after-purchase support before making your decision.

You have plenty of options for most car repairs to get a high-quality and reliable replacement part. Make sure you understand the differences between these choices so you can make the best decision for your situation and budget.