OEM Auto Parts | Collision Repair | Madison WI | Auto Color

There are many, many parts required to put your ride back together after a collision. Choosing the right ones for the job requires sorting the options, including OEM auto parts vs. Aftermarket pieces.

When your vehicle needs major repairs or just a couple of new parts there’s a choice between OEM auto parts – from the manufacturer – and parts made by a third party that are supposed to do the job. Collision repair is serious business with many sources of information on what’s best for you and your vehicles. Advice will come from all corners of Madison WI, from friends, coworkers auto dealers, insurance companies and accredited auto body shop professionals.

Original equipment manufacturer parts (OEM), aftermarket parts (from a third party parts maker) or recycled parts are all viable options one time or another. Does it really matter which you choose? Your insurance company may try to dictate the parts you use – usually based on the cost of the part, not necessarily the quality.

Are OEM Auto Parts Required?

Does it matter in the final performance of a vehicle if OEM parts or aftermarket parts go into the collision repair efforts?

To some people it matters a great deal. Consider:

  • Using OEM parts keeps the vehicle closer to its factory condition – the newer the vehicle the more important this idea is.
  • OEM parts keep the vehicle up to the standards for safety, reliability and performance that it came with in the first place.
  • OEM auto parts used in a repair may keep a warranty in place.
  • Using factory-supported parts can help maintain resale value – the resale value of any car or truck damaged in an accident automatically drops but the types and source of repair parts can impact the eventual sale or trade-in.

Pros and Cons of OEM vs. Aftermarket

When it comes to deciding on the right parts for your collision repair, the two considerations topping the list are costs and personal peace of mind. Aftermarket parts are usually less expensive than alternatives. Many people feel they and their families are more secure in a vehicle repaired with factory parts. The choices are personal. When faced with this decision, consider the advantages and drawbacks of each.

  • OEM Auto Parts – these parts are made specifically to be assembled into your vehicle. They meet every specification for your specific make, model and year. There are seldom questions of proper fit. Coming from the manufacturer, they are likely to cost more and may be more difficult to obtain by independent auto body shops. The advantages include:
    • Easier to get, often from parts counter at local dealer
    • Reliable quality control – same as the parts you’re replacing
    • Usually backed by a warranty

The disadvantages include:

  • Cost – body parts are particularly more costly
  • Must be purchased from dealership so there’s no “shopping” for better price
  • Questions on quality – some parts are equal or even better than OEM, but some are not
  • Insurance companies may specify using aftermarket parts because OEM auto parts cost more


  • Aftermarket Auto Parts – parts manufactured by a company other than the one that built your vehicle – although they may be the same company that supplies the OEM. Created in much larger quantities, these parts are often designed to fit more than one make or model so they may not be a perfect fit. One advantage is that they are almost always less expensive. Others include:
    • The quality can be as good or better so you get a better value for your collision repair dollar
    • There are dozens of companies providing aftermarket auto parts so the idea of shopping around for the best price and highest quality is real
    • Access is easier and far less limiting – making getting repairs done fast a greater likelihood

Drawbacks include:

  • Great variations in quality – if you believe “you get what you pay for,” makes sense aftermarket parts can prove your point
  • Many brands and companies trying to take advantage of need without investing in quality products and inventory
  • While companies proclaim they “have your parts,” they may not have many so waiting for backorders can be stressful
  • Too many choices – even something as basic as a sparkplug can present a dozen variations in engineering, specs and prices
  • Factory support may be missing – many come with very limited or no warranty

Which parts are the best? Best in terms of material and engineering, or best in terms of what’s right for your situation?

The age of your vehicle makes a difference. Some aftermarket parts – engineered and manufactured well after your ride’s OEM equivalents – are often improvements and make the vehicle better.

While there are many factors to consider, remember:

“No ethical auto body shop knowingly wants to install an inferior part. Good businesses don’t want people coming back with complaints.”

Choose Professionals for the Right Parts

When you need reliable help and the right parts to repair your ride, call Auto Color. Visit either of our two complete auto body shop locations in the Madison WI area – West on Parmenter Road in Middleton and East on Stoughton Road. These professionally-equipped shops serve all of Dane County.

Call Auto Color Middleton at 608-831-9554 or Auto Color East Madison at 608-221-5041, or email us for reliable collision repair using the right parts for the job, including OEM auto parts to get your ride back on the roads in Madison WI.

West Madison 2610 Parmenter Street Middleton, WI 53562
East Madison 1850 S. Stoughton Road Madison, WI 53716
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