When it comes to repairs, older car maintenance can put drivers between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, not spending the money on a new or slightly used vehicle seems economical. On the other, the possibility a manufacturer runs out of OEM parts increases each year, until there’s nothing more available to keep things running. Original equipment manufacturer parts offer the most compatibility with your vehicle versus aftermarket parts.
For many drivers, this is a common scenario. According to a survey from R.L. Polk & Company, the average car on US roads is slightly over 11 years old. OEM parts become scant once a car model hits the five-year mark. Although aftermarket parts present a solution, even casual auto enthusiasts know this is a hit-or-miss endeavor. Unfortunately those “misses” may mean your vehicle wears out sooner. What could happen when you take your five-plus-year-old car in for some work?
- The dealership or auto body shop only has select repair parts, rather than the full lineup. Due to limited warehouse space, certain parts may be discontinued or hard to find.
- The diagnostic equipment available isn’t compatible with your car’s system. Determining the precise issue becomes far more complicated, and certain shops may no longer have the technology to diagnose your vehicle’s issues.
- The OEM parts are made by a third-party company. For older vehicles, a manufacturer may outsource these operations to an outside business to keep costs down.
- The automaker completely pulled out of the American market, so there is no network of dealerships or a parts distributor. Parts may need to be ordered from overseas or tracked won yourself through eBay or junkyard stock.
Finding OEM Parts for Your Car
Due to a combination of factors, finding the right OEM parts may be easier for some models and manufacturers than others.
- Popularity of Model: Think the decades-strong Toyota Corolla or Honda Accord. If the model remains fairly popular, the car manufacturer has greater incentive to keep OEM parts in stock. When it’s time for repairs, it’s more straightforward for the body shop to source a replacement.
- Custom parts: An option for antique and vintage cars or older and discontinued models, this solution involves creating a custom part made to specifically match the one in your vehicle. Understand this option comes with a higher price but due to the quality, many owners find it worth the cost.
- Remanufacturing: Certain manufacturers offer this service, where they’ll build components for older model engines, transmission systems, steering racks, bumpers and safety components. A brand-new part gets built, then the system gets tested to ensure its fully operational. While remanufacturing can be done for vehicles up to 30 years old, it’s generally available only for select systems.
- Pick and Choose: Remanufacturing or custom may cover your car’s functional components, but certain visual and less-essential aspects likely won’t be available after a decade. At this point, it may be wise to settle for aftermarket parts in these areas.
- Look Yourself: DIYers scour the internet or junkyards and may find the parts, but will soon realize the quality varies greatly.
DaSilva’s always strives to use OEM car parts for repairs and updates. To learn more about how we can service your older or discontinued car model, give our Naugatuck location a call today.