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OE vs Aftermarket

Mitch's column suddenly sparked a renewed interest in the debate of OE vs. Aftermarket. It was the tag line of 'form, fit, and function.'

Granted, my perspective on this is a little unique because we are an auto parts store as well as a full service center. There are times when we use OE, but it's only if there is nothing available in the aftermarket. My experience is that both OE and aftermarket have failure rates that are similar, one is not better than the other in regards to function, but aftermarket is much more cost effective 95 percent of the time. Combine the cost effectiveness with availability and returnability, and you end up with a clear winner — aftermarket. If you special order a blower motor from an OE supplier that they don't have in stock, it's either non-returnable or has a huge restock fee. The same blower motor from an aftermarket supplier with a better warranty, although it may be special ordered, is usually returnable for at least 30 days, and it will be 1/3 less expensive. This is just one way of looking at it.

I recently received a phone call from another jobber/service center operation that was having trouble with a line of hub assemblies that had a high failure rate when installed. I used the same brand and was experiencing no trouble. I explained that his technicians were not properly installing them, at which he scoffed and said his guys always installed them properly and with the right torque. When I further questioned him where this 'torque' information was being acquired, he fell silent. He did not know, because no one ever asked him for a spec on anything, unlesss it was OE. The problem was solved when he insisted on proper installation techniques and torque specs. Prior to this, all of his techs lamented the shortcomings of the aftermarket brand, and said they would prefer to use OE instead, and since OE cost 1/3 to 1/2 more, they went to the trouble of getting the right torque spec. Prima-donna technicians drive this mentality to a great degree.

Also, if you run a service center, it behoves you to remember that the OE manufacturers are not your friends. They undermine the aftermarket at every turn, and will stop at nothing to make the independents look bad. Especially if your customer knows that you got the parts from a dealership and then calls the dealership to price the part after your repair is complete. If you think a dealership is your friend, you should realize we are all trying to get the same customers, and the OE manufacturers/dealership will do anything to take your established customers away.

Last, dealerships buy a lot of aftermarket parts! But they tend to put a twist on things. I recently had some warranty work performed on my wife's Volvo. While at the dealership, the service writer was calling an aftermarket supplier to locate a cv axle.  He quoted the price that the aftermarket supplier had given him out loud (less than $100). He then called his client, told them he could install the axle that was required, and the axle was $450 plus labor. When I questioned the service writer about the huge markup, he professed that if they were going to give it a Volvo warranty, they were going to give it a Volvo price. What? The aftermarket cv axle probably had a lifetime warranty, and for a 400% markup, the warranty was going to be reduced to a 12 mo/12k mile warranty. Dealerships like to have their cake.....and eat it too.

It seems to me that the OE/dealer suppliers need us more than we need them, but we do need them from time to time. I just don't get all warm and fuzzy when I have to buy something from my competition, regardless of how well those Wagner brakes that are Chrysler OE on a minvan look and feel. But at the same time, I guess it's good to keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. I'm in it to win it.

 

Comments




  • http://www.buyherepayherelouisville.com

    Former Member , 2 years ago | Flag
  • The aftermarket is definitley the better choice since your recieving the same quality product at a cheaper rate . Please contact me with any question or rebuttles at http://www.buyherepayherelouisville.com .

    Former Member , 2 years ago | Flag
  • After market has always seemed the better choice to me. Most of the time it's cheaper and you get the same quality.

    Former Member , 2 years ago | Flag

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