For many luxury car owners, the default place to go for repairs is the dealership. Most dealerships have highly experienced manufacturer-trained technicians. Here you will get your faulty parts replaced with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. These are parts that are made by the car manufacturer specifically for your car. Most of the time, they are a replica of the parts already installed in the vehicle. However, did you know that there are alternatives to using OEM parts for your car?
OEM Parts vs Aftermarket parts
As was mentioned earlier, an OEM part is manufactured by the car manufacturer. A third-party company develops an aftermarket part. One of the main differences between the two is that an OEM part fits a specific car perfectly while an aftermarket part is made to fit several types of vehicles. This means that they may need some tweaking to fit your car.
Here are some advantages of aftermarket parts:
They are readily available. Because a specific manufacturer makes OEM parts, there is a limited amount available at any given time. However, many third-party companies are competing to produce the same parts meaning there are more aftermarket parts in the market. You could quickly get a replacement part from a dealer alternative at an online shop or a gas station. Something that isn’t possible with OEM parts.
They are cheaper. This may be because there are more available parts. According to the theory of price, the scarcer a resource, the higher its demand, and consequently, the more expensive it becomes; therefore, because there are more available parts, the opposite holds.
They are sometimes of higher quality than OEM parts. This is because some third-party manufacturers reverse engineer the OEM parts. In the process, they may remove any defects they find, thereby improving the quality of the products. Aftermarket parts typically strike a balance between durability, costs, noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) and performance. Therefore, you may have to sacrifice a specific aspect for another, such as higher noise levels for improved performance.
They give you a more extensive selection of places to go for car repairs. If you are bent at getting OEM parts, your mechanic may be able to order a part, but it will be easier for your dealer to do so. However, if you decide, instead, to use an aftermarket part, the number of places you can go to for repair increases.
Some disadvantages of aftermarket parts:
The main disadvantage when it comes to aftermarket parts is the overwhelming amount of parts available. This can make settling on a suitable part tedious. This is normally where your mechanic and online reviews come in handy. These two resources can help you make a choice more easily.
The other disadvantage is that using an aftermarket part may affect your warranty. Do your research beforehand to be sure.
Note that all OEM parts are created equal. They are manufactured using the same process and undergo the same testing procedures. If you are looking for the exact same part you had when your car was new, then an OEM part is the right option for you. But, be prepared to dig deeper into your pockets for them. However, if you are not too caught up with the part but the performance, an aftermarket part may be a good fit.
If you decide to get your car fitted with aftermarket parts, your dealer won’t do it. They are affiliated to your car manufacturer and are therefore obligated to give you OEM parts. However, there is an alternative to a dealer.
An independent mechanic as a dealer alternative
This is one alternative you have when it comes to repairing your luxury car. Some mechanics even have luxury auto repair shops. They may employ mechanics who used to work at dealerships and who therefore have experience working on your car brand.
Benefits of visiting an independent mechanic
You can develop a relationship with your mechanic.
Usually, when you visit a dealership, you will meet with the service advisor, not the mechanic who is going to work on your car. However, in most garages, you get to interact with your mechanic directly. This means you can ask questions about the service you are receiving and any other concerns you may have.
It is cheaper
One thing that most people who visit dealerships must understand is that their repairs will cost more. They may not pay more when the car is still under warranty, but the repairs are still relatively expensive. Generally, their repair costs are much lower. If you have a good mechanic, the service may be as good as or even better than at the dealership. If you are lucky, you may even find a garage that honors car warranties.
You have a wider variety of parts to pick from
At dealerships, you are assured that the parts used in the repair service are OEM. The general assumption is that they are the best. This may be the case for some parts, but not all of them. For example, you are typically advised to replace the brake components of your Mercedes with OEM components. However, some other aftermarket parts are just as great as or even better than OEM parts.
Disadvantages of an independent mechanic
There aren’t many disadvantages to using an independent mechanic. Some of them are;
They may most probably not honor your car warranty. This may mean you pay more out of pocket for repairs.
It may take you some time to find the right mechanic. Garages are a dime a dozen, and picking one may be a hectic, tedious experience.
Your mechanic may not be able to repair your car and therefore turn you down.
Having a luxury car shows that you want nothing but the best for yourself when it comes to an automotive. However, do not be fooled into thinking that a dealership is the only place to have your car repaired. Or that all OEM parts are more superior to aftermarket parts. Do your homework and go for dealer alternatives that may provide you with excellent quality service at pocket-friendly prices.
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