Buying Toyota auto parts? Here are a few terms you should understand.



Toyota Auto Parts

If you're in the process of repairing your Toyota car or truck, you might be concerned about finding genuine Toyota auto parts to replace the malfunctioning ones. With various retailers offering different types of replacement parts, how do you know exactly what you're getting?

The following is a brief breakdown of common terms used in the auto parts industry. This should help you understand what type of parts you're putting into your Toyota.

OEM

A common term you'll hear when buying parts is "OEM," or "Original Equipment Manufacturer." In order to understand how OEM works, you'll need to understand a common misconception first.

When a car is built, the parts are not necessarily made by the vehicle company. Toyota, for example, will get most of their internal car parts from an independent company, who will help design and manufacture the parts. To believe that the parts were made specifically by Toyota is incorrect.

When a car is still fairly new, these replacement parts will be manufactured and labeled with the Toyota name, then sold at dealers and other authorized Toyota repair shops. At this point, although they are made by the independent manufacturer, they are considered Toyota parts. After a certain timeframe, however, the original manufacturer is allowed to sell these parts to the general public. At this time, they are repackaged with the actual manufacturer's name on the box, and referred to as OEM parts. One of our top recommendations for buying car parts online is Partstrain.com.

Buying OEM is an excellent way to ensure your car has what it needs. You are basically buying parts identical to those that were originally put into your car. You will probably pay a little extra for OEM parts, but if you're concerned about the integrity of your engine and the compatibility of the replacement parts, they are an excellent investment.

Aftermarket

Aftermarket parts are produced by companies other than the original manufacturer, but are designed to suit the Toyota engine. Because aftermarket parts are made specifically for your car, they should perform more or less the same as OEM parts, but due to different machinery and materials they might look or feel slightly different. Some aftermarket companies take liberties with part design, which can be good or bad. If a part had an integral flaw to begin with, any improvements that are made to it are going to be done in the aftermarket version. Similarly, an aftermarket company may attempt to improve a part and not succeed. If you buy aftermarket, try to compare the part to your original piece and see if you can trace any differences. Also make sure the part comes with a warranty.

Whatever type of Toyota auto parts you buy, the key is to find what works and performs well in your vehicle. If you're working on a budget or don't have time to track down an OEM part for an older or unusual auto, then aftermarket parts should do the job just fine. If you're a vehicle purist, you may want to shop for OEM just to be sure of what you're getting.

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