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Original parts versus non-original parts

Hello! I have a 1996 Honda Civic EX Coupe with 65000 miles that needs its timing belt and water pump replaced soon (for the first time). Should I stick with original parts (Honda) or use non originals and save some money?. Would original parts last longer and are therefore better?. Thanks for your help.


You went 13 years without a belt change…much longer than recommended…that alone should tell you something about original parts lasting longer…

I am generally a proponent of after market parts. Timing belts are made by just a few manufacturers, and Honda buys from one of them. Certainly the additional Honda price and part does not equal longer life of the part. There is no special colum for “Honda only” parts on the maintenance schedule.

Many times, with water pumps being one of them, a better warranty is offered by the after market part, compared to the OEM parts. I have also seen times where the real OEM part is the same or less than an aftermarket part. Have your mechanic do a quick price comparison and then make your decision.

Thanks for the advice.


I appreciate your comment.


I really dont know-I usually use aftermarket stuff,but I can tell you this,had waterpump and timing belt replaced on Wifes 2000 Accord 4cyl after 105k miles the original waterpump was tight and looked like new-Kevin

How much money will it save you?

If the difference is just a few bucks, go with the Honda OEM part. I currently have a Goodyear timing belt on my 1998 Civic DX. If you can save more than just a few bucks and get a quality brand name belt with a decent warranty, go for it. Just stay away from the brands you have never heard of.

I have two comments:

Beware of “White Box” parts. These are made by companies in China that use substandard materials and are of very poor quality. Only use parts from suppliers whose names are on the box and are well-known companies.

Since you are about 6 years overdue for replacing a part whose failure would cause more damage than your car is worth, why are you worrying so much about the quality of the replacement parts?
I would say that it would be better to replace that timing belt TOMORROW with any brand available, rather than dither any longer about the brand to use. You have been unusually lucky with that timing belt, but that luck could end with the snap of your fingers–or obviously with the snap of that belt.

There are some parts I do aftermarket and some not. I would go for the oem on those 2 if it were my car. Surprised by a non oem gas filter that did not fit in the plastic snap tab holder as it was a larger diameter and had to secure it with zip ties. Those things I want to make sure are perfect fit I go for oem, plus spark plugs.

Sometimes parts bought from the dealer are not made by the same supplier as the ones that are coming off. Sometimes they are not even made to the same specifications. Are the replacements made to better specification or less expensive specifications? Who knows? The original parts have a warranty of several years. How long are the replacements warranted for?

One thing that I do know is that I am much more likely to cheap-out on a part that is easily changed, will not strand me, or will give a warning sign if it goes out. If you are lucky, you have an honest mechanic that works on Civics a lot. If they have tried inexpensive aftermarket items and failed, they will avoid them like the plague.

Almost nobody will bother with OEM parts for that job. An OEM water pump, if there is such a thing, might be a budget buster. If you are going to change the water pump every 65,000 miles, there is no need for OEM stuff.

Thank you folks for all your feedback. There are some excellent points being made here. I’m much more informed now than before. pj

Aftermarket parts will work just as well with one exception and that is the one posed by VDCdriver. Avoid any “white box” parts. Buying a branded name part from an established parts house should avoid this.

You’ve been lucky, very lucky, that the belt has not snapped and left you with some engine damage.

For what it’s worth many parts used on all vehicles are not even made by the car maker. They subcontract them out. Everything from brake parts, electrics, suspension, seats, and even transmissions. When the smoke clears, about the only thing the car makers are actually building is the sheet metal, engines, and a few other trinkets.

I don’t remember off the top of my head but it’s quite likely that the water pump that came on your Honda originally is also made by the same company that provides them as an “aftermarket” item.
Different production stamp, different packaging, etc. but all rolling off the same assembly line.

Do a quick check on the Internet to see if the OEM parts for your 1996 Civic have a record of problems. I doubt they will because you have an interference engine. Failure of the belt or seizure of the water pump would do a lot of collateral damage and you’d probably see a lot of posts here about engine destruction on 1996 Hondas.

Ordinarily, I’d suggest aftermarket parts, but in this particular case, most of the cost of the repair is labor. The cost differential on the parts shouldn’t be too high. These are very important components, so paying a bit extra for a proven track record makes sense.

I’ve NEVER had a problem using QUALITY aftermarket parts. Gates, Goodyear and many others make OEM quality belts…shouldn’t be a problem using any of those. There are several companies that make waterpumps for this vehicle…none should be a problem.

If it makes you feel good buying OEM parts…go ahead…but it’s NOT necessary.