In some of your discussions with car workshops, local garages or “authorized” service workshops, you would’ve surely come across different terms like genuine spares, OEM, OES, Aftermarket, Imported, Branded spares etc.
It’s important to understand what each of these terms means as it gives you a better understanding of what parts actually go into your car.
Here is our summary of commonly used terms and what they actually mean –
Spares parts / After-market parts
By very definition of being a “spare” part, these are parts which one can buy to replace existing parts in a car.
After-market parts are same as spare parts and are so termed since they are used “after the initial sale of a new car”.
Spare / After-market parts could be made by either the car manufacturer (also called OEM) or by a range of small to large global and local automotive parts manufacturers.
“Genuine” or OEM / OE (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts
These are parts that are recommended by your car manufacturer – and similar to those which come fitted in your car at the time of purchase. These parts will carry your car’s brand logo eg: Honda, Maruti, Volkswagen etc, on them or on their packaging.
OEM Parts are usually the costliest, mainly because they carry the company logo!
It’s important to know that just because a part might carry an Audi logo or a Maruti Suzuki logo, it doesn’t mean that Audi or Maruti Suzuki manufactured that part. They have multiple suppliers for each part and merely re-brand those parts / packaging.
All authorized car workshops provide only “genuine parts”.
Typical examples are MGP (Maruti Genuine Part), Hyundai Genuine, Toyota genuine etc.
However note that most “genuine” parts dont come with any warranty. If these parts fail prematurely, its at the sole discretion of the authorized workshop to offer a replacement free of cost!
OES – Original Equipment Supplier Parts
These parts are manufactured by specialist parts manufacturers like Brembo, TVS, Bosch, Mahle, Valeo who also supply to car companies like BMW, Volkswagen, Maruti Suzuki. In addition to selling spare parts to the car manufacturer, they also sell these parts under their own brand names.
These parts are readily available outside authorized car dealerships to consumers.
OES parts are similar in quality to OEM parts and in most cases, are generally less expensive, (simply because they don’t have an Audi or Honda logo on the box!)
In some cases they may have different manufacturing or quality standards from OEM parts, however keep in mind these are made by reputed large global parts manufacturers and certify their quality standards.
The following image is an example of an OEM Volkswagen genuine brake pad (manufactured by TVS)
The following image is an example of an OES Brembo Brake Pad for the same vehicle.
Osram, Philips and Hella automotive light bulbs are another example of branded spare parts that are from reputed companies and offer great value.
Unbranded Parts / “Non genuine” parts
It’s a slang term used by local car garages referring to parts that have no branding and proper packaging. Typically they are made by local parts manufacturers or imported. They are cheaper alternatives to using branded or genuine parts.
Which parts should one really use?
The most important question for all – which of the above parts should you be using? It really depends. If you dont mind paying a premium and want to stick to a “safe” alternative, use only genuine parts (read note above on warranty!). If you are ok with using branded alternatives of similar quality, then OES parts offer better value. If you want to save money and not particular about product quality then unbranded parts can keep you going (although not for long!).
Cartisan philosophy is to always use OES / branded spare parts from reputed parts manufacturers where available and if not available then use genuine OEM parts.
Also published on Medium.