What Are OEM Parts?
OEM is a term that’s liberally bandied around when referring to automobile parts. But what does it mean? The following discusses everything you need to know about OEM parts.
OEM Parts: demystifying the terminology
· Deciphering the maze of reconditioned, pattern, OE, and OEM parts
· Manufacturer-specific: including Ford OEM parts and Honda OEM parts
Deciphering the maze of reconditioned, pattern, OE, and OEM parts
So you need some repairs doing to your car or van, and the garage technician poses you a question:
“Would you like OE, OEM, pattern, or reconditioned parts?”
Now, unless you’re in the trade, these expressions might as well be in a foreign language. So let’s quickly determine the difference between them
OE stands for Original Equipment: In other words, these are the parts that make up the car when it’s originally made—for instance, Ford parts, produced specifically for Ford and come in a Ford-branded box (even if they are, most likely, produced by another company). These are generally the most expensive options.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer: This means the parts are produced by an external company who, with the support of the original company (Ford, Honda, etc.) supply parts that are guaranteed to be identical to OE parts. In fact, in some cases, they might even be of a superior standard—especially in the case of high-quality OEM wheels. They will, however, come in a box branded by the supplier who made them, rather than the brand of the car.
Pattern parts: This is where the minefield thickens because pattern parts (often called replacement or aftermarket parts) differ wildly in quality. They might be made of quality materials or they might be exceptionally poorly made. In some cases, they might not even fit the car, meaning the garage technician has to carry out adaptations to make them fit for use. While this certainly isn’t true of all pattern parts, it is a risk. It’s the reason they’re one of the cheaper options, definitely costing less than OE or OEM parts.
Reconditioned parts: As the name suggests, these are pre-used parts that’ll probably have some new elements involved, such as bolts and fasteners. While one of the cheapest options, there’s no way of knowing how many miles they’ve covered, and therefore how long they’ll last.
As an aside, there is a fifth option—that of salvaged parts. This is where a vehicle has been scrapped and the parts harvested for re-use. While this might be a choice when searching for hard-to-find parts for antique or vintage vehicles, it’s probably not the route you want to go down for a car that’s going to be in regular use.
Manufacturer-specific: including Ford OEM parts and Honda OEM parts
Once you understand the basic meanings it becomes clear that, in the majority of cases, OEM parts are the way to go. Costing less than the OE option, yet guaranteed to be of the same or, often, higher quality, you stand to benefit on all levels—safety, longevity, and your wallet will thank you too.
So there you have it. The answer to the oft-asked question, “What is OEM parts?”, and the reason that in pretty much every replacement and repair situation, OEM is definitely the way to go.
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