When repairing or upgrading your vehicle, the first big choice you have to make is whether you want to use aftermarket vehicle parts or OEM parts. Everyone has their own opinion on the subject, but many fall into the category that believes OEM parts are better.

This is particularly true when you look at Volkswagen cars. These German cars are incredibly popular in the United States and there’s a big debate over the value and feasibility of OEM versus aftermarket parts. Let’s take a look at the issue and why many ultimately lean towards OEM as the better solution.

OEM vs. Aftermarket

In order to give you an understanding of each type, let’s briefly explain the differences between OEM and aftermarket parts.

  • OEM parts. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. In other words, these parts are made by the vehicle’s manufacturer. So, if you own a VW Beetle, OEM parts would be parts that are made by Volkswagen. It’s also possible that these parts are manufactured by another company and merely have the automotive company’s logo on them, but regardless, they are marketed under the auto manufacturer’s brand.
  • Aftermarket parts. The other category of auto parts is aftermarket parts. These are parts that are produced by companies other than the vehicle’s manufacturer. Using the previous example, aftermarket parts for a VW Beetle would include any part not produced by Volkswagen.

When you take your Volkswagen to an auto shop – or if you’re purchasing parts to perform your own repairs – one of the first things you will encounter is whether you want to use OEM parts or aftermarket parts. Knowing the difference between the two can help you make an informed decision.

3 Advantages of OEM

Most VW buffs will agree that OEM parts are preferred to aftermarket parts. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and why you willl be better off choosing OEM in most situations.

  1. Maximum Durability
    On the whole, OEM parts are much more durable than aftermarket parts. When it comes to aftermarket parts, there are more discrepancies in quality. This is simply a result of having so many different choices. You typically get what you pay for – and most people that choose aftermarket parts do so because they’re cheaper.

    OEM parts are designed to work exactly like the part you’re replacing. This is because they’re essentially the same exact part. The part was manufactured by the vehicle’s maker and comes with peace of mind.

    Take the VW MK2/3 as an example. Many owners are transforming these beauties into racing cars for weekend fun and amateur competitions. While there are tons of aftermarket parts available, owners ultimately choose OEM upgrades because they hold up better over the long haul.

  2. Better Fit
    When the vehicle’s original manufacturer designs something, you can bet it’s going to fit like a glove. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true for aftermarket parts. If you want your vehicle’s parts to fit snug, the only way to be assured of a tight fit is to go with OEM parts. You may be able to save money on aftermarket ones, but they’ll eventually let you down.

  3. Enhanced Warranty Coverage
    Finally, you have to discuss warranties if you’re touting the advantages of OEM parts. Whereas aftermarket parts may come with a warranty on the actual part, this is typically the extent of the coverage. If an OEM part is used, there’s much better recourse should the part cause any damage to the vehicle.

Putting it All Together

As you can clearly see, there are a number of distinct advantages to using OEM parts. These include increased durability, better fit, superior warranty coverage, and more. Keep these in mind as you purchase replacement parts for your Volkswagen vehicle. While aftermarket parts do work, they aren’t the best solution for the long-term. An investment in OEM parts will serve you well.

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