Buying OEM parts vs. after market

I need to replace my idler arm and center link. Is it necessary to buy OEM parts or would an after market brand be fine?

Aftermarket parts of this type will work just fine.


I agree that aftermarket parts are fine–as long as they are decent quality.
I suggest that you go to Napa, as they tend to carry better-quality aftermarket parts.

If you go to some other places, like Pep Boys, you are likely to wind up with “white box” parts from China that are very low quality.

I also agree.

And I agree with the NAPA suggestion.

as long as they are decent quality. --VCDriver

Aye,there’s the rub. If you can be sure what you are doing as he is, why not?

I do not have confidence in any other source for my 2002 Sienna, so I use genuine Toyota parts, with no apologies to anyone. Further, the day I can’t get new parts and I am told I have to use rebuilt parts is the day my car goes to the junk yard.

The good news, is in 173,000 miles, I haven’t needed many.

I usually trust the source of the parts. We have a couple of local parts store chains that are very very good and carry high quality aftermarket parts. We also have Autozone, Pepboys which are great for wash and wax…but their quality of part is NOT that good.

I would rather have a Moog idler arm than OEM, chances are it will have a grease fitting on it. If the OEM had a grease fitting on it it wouldnt have had to be replaced.

If you buy your parts on the Internet, the better parts suppliers will tell you who manufactured the original parts for the auto manufacturer. There will sometimes be two OEM parts manufacturers because the big auto manufacturers don’t like to be dependent on a single source for key parts.

Not surprisingly, the auto manufacturers tend to buy their parts from the same name-brand parts manufacturers that Napa and other good parts suppliers use.

With regard to irlandes buying Toyota branded parts for his Toyota. I drove a Toyota 275k miles and generally bought my parts from the Toyota dealer. The quality was excellent and the price was generally comparable to aftermarket prices. This is in contrast to Volvo, who charge 3-4 times what the parts houses charge for the same part from the OEM parts manufacturer.

Unless you buy some kind of white box or bootleg part on-line, etc. a name brand or store branded part will work just as well as the original OEM part.

No car maker produces their own suspension components so every original OEM part is actually an aftermarket part. TRW is one of the largest suppliers of suspension and steering components and they provide those “factory OEM” parts to GM, Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, Toyota, and a plethora of others.

In actuality, every car made is pretty much an assortment of aftermarket parts that is simply assembled under one roof. Electrics, airbags, transmissions, clutch and brake components, etc, etc, and even seats are farmed out.

Look at the ZR-1 Corvette with the LT-5 engine that GM unveiled about 20 years ago. Those engines were not even built by GM. They were built right down the road from me in Stillwater, OK at the Mercury Marine (MerCruiser) plant and yes, it’s the boat motor people. That’s about as aftermarket as you can get. :slight_smile:

Moog parts are better than OEM. If the store brings out their house brand ask them who made them. If they say they did then they are wrong and do not know the source/maker (i.e Advance does not make parts).

GM for years had a problem with front ball-joints (I think they still do) in their pickups and SUV’s. Moog makes a replacement part with zerks. Friend went that root …the new ball joints went well over 150k miles when he finally junked it. The OEM joints were lasting about 30k miles. He just has to grease them every oil change.

Caveat Emptor - Talking About Dealer Parts Prices, As Manolito Pointed Out, " . . . the price was generally comparable to aftermarket prices." . . .

. . . I have found situations where dealer parts were less expensive than aftermarket, in stock (rather than “special order”), and sometimes kits available only at the dealer. I will admit that this generally is not the case, but I check my dealer and sometimes buy there.

Another thing, I have dealers who are up on revised or modified parts and give advice that can’t be obtained at Parts-R-Us. These are possibly exceptionally good dealers or just part of rural living.

The Moog advice sounds good and may be an exception to buying dealer parts.