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A Quick Guide To Minimizing Your Auto Parts Costs

Doing your own car work can save plenty of money, but parts aren't cheap. Even with labor out of the picture, you're still likely to find yourself paying quite a bit for expensive components like sensors or cooling system components. However, intelligent buying practices can help minimize these costs, allowing you to maintain your vehicle for even less.

Buying auto parts on a budget might seem like a challenge, but it doesn't require too much effort. This guide will help you find reliable, high-performance parts without ruining your budget.

Understanding Your Options

For most cars, you'll need to choose between three types of auto parts: factory (or genuine), OEM, and aftermarket. Although there are many exceptions to this rule, you'll usually pay the most for factory parts and the least for aftermarket parts. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) components fall somewhere in the middle, and these components are typically identical to their factory counterparts.

In general, you can buy genuine parts from dealerships or specialty sellers. Some local auto parts stores may also sell them, but they're less common. At the other end of the scale, you'll most commonly find aftermarket parts at local or chain stores. Specialty retailers focusing on specific makes and models tend to sell OEM parts, although many smaller stores also stock them.

Do You Need "The Best?"

Factory auto parts may seem like the best option since they come directly from your manufacturer. While these parts are guaranteed to fit and perform the same as the stock parts on your vehicle, they aren't necessarily the best. For example, OEM parts usually cost less while offering the exact fit, performance, reliability as the ones from the factory.

Aftermarket parts require a little more consideration, but they're sometimes a good option if you're looking to save your pennies. You'll need to read reviews and talk with experts at your local auto parts store to decide if these third-party alternatives are a good choice for you. However, you may be able to get a significant discount if you do find a well-regarded aftermarket alternative.

Choosing the Right Parts for Your Car

If your goal is to save money, OEM parts are unquestionably the most cost-effective option for most repairs. However, you may still need to fall back on some genuine parts from your dealership since not every part will have an OEM alternative. For the budget-conscious, genuine parts otherwise only make sense if your goal is to keep your car 100% "original."

By taking this approach and considering aftermarket parts when you find well-reviewed options, you can keep your car repair costs to a minimum without sacrificing any of your car's reliability or performance.