OEM and Aftermarket Parts: What’s the difference?


If your heavy machine has been significantly damaged during a work accident or you have been operating it for a while and it’s experiencing wear and tear, chances are you will need to buy some replacement parts. You might think that doing so is simple, but the type of parts that your machine will be repaired with can vary.

There are two general ways you can replace the part: through OEM parts or through aftermarket parts. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are made by the machine’s manufacturer, whereas aftermarket parts are often produced by a different company than the machine manufacturer. Which parts are right for your fleet of heavy equipment? Read on to find out more.

The pros of OEM parts

OEM parts have some definite advantages:

Smaller Selection: The right auto component can be easily located. the only information needed is the year, make and model.

More consistent quality: The part of the OEM should work exactly like the one you replace. It is what the machine was made with, and because it is the exact same part, it provides a peace of mind.

Guaranteed warranty: OEM components always carry the warranty of the manufacturer. This makes it easy for you to claim on it in the same way you would claim on the entire heavy machine. 

The cons of OEM parts

However, there are some things to look out for when considering OEM parts:

More expensive: OEM parts typically cost more than a part of the aftermarket. OEM parts generally cost about 60 percent more, according to the American Association of Property Casualty Insurers (PCI).

Harder to find: Typically, OEM parts are either purchased from the dealer or purchased online. You can ask an independent heavy repair shop to use OEM parts, but they usually have to order them, which can increase the repair time significantly.

Why we prefer aftermarket parts

We sell aftermarket parts here at Tracks N’ Teeth, and naturally we much prefer them to OEM parts. Here’s why:

Aftermarket parts can be better quality. Aftermarket can sometimes mean parts better than what you get on the original machine. From sprockets to track chains, there are “problem solver” pieces that actually address problems that were only identified after the heavy machine went on the market. Such problem-solver components are often better designed than the OEM components, and are easier to install and more robust.

It may seem difficult to believe that anyone else could create a better component than the original manufacturer which constructed the whole machine originally. Nonetheless, engineering advances and heavy equipment part suppliers on the aftermarket keep pace with improvements and always want to improve their product. 

On the other hand, since the machine is already on the market out of production, the original manufacturer doesn’t want to improve the product. It’s not worth the R&D budget to improve the old part, but it makes financial sense for the aftermarket to continually surpass the OEM market in terms of quality. You do not have to continue buying the same old OEM product with parts that will break again.

Aftermarket parts are less expensive. Aftermarket parts are usually cheaper than OEM parts; how much you save differs from brand to brand. Do your research to get an idea of the usual cost of that part.

Aftermarket parts have more variety. Hundreds of companies produce aftermarket parts. The increased range means more choice and a wider price range. Here at Tracks n Teeth, we have partnerships for all sorts of aftermarket building parts with a large base of producers and distributors. This ensures we only have the best choice of parts out there.

Aftermarket parts are easier to find. OEM parts will take a lot longer to arrive if you order a part from a dealer. Very often, the manufacturer would have to order the part from a central warehouse. On the flipside, aftermarket companies like ours have millions of parts in one place.

What to watch out for when buying aftermarket parts

If you’re not familiar with aftermarket products, you might be overwhelmed with the range of parts on offer. Even an item as basic as a roller bolt can be manufactured by dozens of different companies and comes in many variations. That’s where a reliable parts dealer is important. We can narrow down the options and help you find the right high-quality aftermarket part at the right price.

Not all places that sell aftermarket parts offer a warranty, but at Tracks N’ Teeth, we do. All the parts that we sell are supported by industry-standard warranties. Warranties vary from 6 to 48 months and from 500 to 4000 hours of use depending on the type of component, the requirement and the supplier.

We are the leading source of aftermarket construction equipment parts online and our advisors are on hand to help you find the ideal replacement part for your heavy machine. Visit our online showroom today!


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