You don’t have to buy any replacement parts from the original manufacturer when it comes to so-called “wear” items such as brake pads, windshield wiper blades, air filters and the like. Several companies make replacement parts that meet or exceed specifications set by the manufacturer, and these are the parts you’re most likely to get when you have your car serviced at a repair shop that’s not affiliated with a dealership.
Related: Brake Pads: What You Need to Know
Are these replacement parts as good as the ones that come with the vehicle manufacturer’s name on the box that you’d get at a dealership? In many cases, yes, and some may even be of higher quality. On the flip side, there are also a lot of cheap, knockoff replacement parts that are inferior to original equipment, so beware of parts you find online or in stores that are priced way below the going rate elsewhere. You’ll definitely get what you pay for.
If you’re concerned about what parts a repair shop is putting in your car, ask them to detail the parts before you give them the go-ahead to perform any work, and ask your mechanics why they’re using that particular brand. Reputable repair shops use reputable parts. Some repair shops that advertise low prices for services such as brake-pad replacement may save money by using lower-quality parts. Better parts also tend to come with longer warranties, so ask about that.
Keep in mind that vehicle manufacturers don’t make most of the parts that go into their vehicles, including brake pads and rotors. They buy them from suppliers that make them to a manufacturer’s technical and quality requirements. Replacement parts may come from the same supplier that made the original equipment parts but have a different name on the box.
Dealerships often promote their service departments by advertising that they sell and install “genuine” manufacturer replacement parts. Because that ensures they’ll fit properly and meet all performance standards, that’s a good thing.
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