OEM vs. Aftermarket: Why Authenticity Matters

Charlie checks over an OEM panel

When it comes to repairing your vehicle, you may have come across the term “OEM” while searching for a collision repair center. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and it signifies a level of quality and compatibility that many car owners and enthusiasts highly value. Schaefer Autobody Centers has built their entire brand and related services around this unique approach. Below, we’ll explore what makes an automotive part or panel “OEM” and why it matters compared to aftermarket alternatives.

Origin and Authenticity

At its core, an OEM automotive part or panel is one that is produced by the same company that manufactured the original part for your vehicle. This means that the part is designed to meet the exact specifications and quality standards set by the car’s original manufacturer. When you purchase an OEM part, you can be confident that it’s a genuine, authentic component that matches your vehicle’s make and model.

Quality and Reliability

One of the primary reasons why OEM parts are highly regarded is their quality and reliability. Car manufacturers invest significant time and resources into research and development to ensure that the parts they produce are durable and built to last. OEM parts undergo rigorous testing and quality control processes to meet these standards. As a result, you can trust that an OEM part will perform as expected and provide a reliable solution for your vehicle.

Fit and Compatibility

Another key advantage of OEM parts is their precise fit and compatibility with your vehicle. (Our technicians love this aspect, too!) Since original parts and panels are designed by the same company that built your car, original equipment parts are engineered to fit seamlessly and function correctly. This reduces the likelihood of installation issues and ensures that the part or panel integrates seamlessly with the rest of your vehicle’s systems. For instance, tolerances on luxury brands like BMW—which Schaefer Autobody Centers is certified to service at two locations, O’Fallon, IL, and Maplewood—has notoriously tight tolerances for gaps between panels.

Warranty Coverage for OEM Parts

Many car manufacturers offer warranty coverage on OEM parts when they are installed by authorized dealers or certified technicians. This warranty provides peace of mind, as it means that if the OEM part fails prematurely or experiences defects, you can have it replaced or repaired at no additional cost. Schaefer Autobody Centers’ Gold Standard Guarantee provides our customers with added protection. This added layer of security is a significant benefit for car owners.

Resale Value

The use of OEM parts can positively impact the resale value of your vehicle. When potential buyers see that your car has been maintained with genuine OEM parts, it instills confidence in the vehicle’s overall condition and reliability. This can result in a higher resale value compared to a vehicle with aftermarket or generic parts.

Consistency in Performance

OEM parts offer consistency in terms of performance and driving experience. Since they are designed to match the original specifications, they ensure that your vehicle operates as intended. This consistency is particularly important when it comes to critical safety components like brakes, airbags, and suspension parts.

When it comes to repairing your vehicle after an accident, choosing OEM parts ensures that you’re getting components that meet the same high standards as the ones originally installed by the manufacturer. Schaefer Autobody Centers maintains this promise with the Gold Standard Guarantee and lifetime warranty. While OEM parts may be slightly more expensive than aftermarket alternatives, the benefits of using OEM parts far outweigh the cost, providing peace of mind and preserving the performance and value of your vehicle.