Replacement parts are not created equally, and for many years the argument between aftermarket parts versus OEM parts has raged. The bottom line is often what you’d expect: you get what you pay for when it comes to replacement parts. Whether the part is a windshield part, lighting part, replacements for clutches, or even parts for your dash, you should avoid cheap aftermarket parts that are made with substandard materials. OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer, and means that the replacement part you are purchasing is an identical (or better) match for the part that has worn out, but there are also great aftermarket components that are comparable. The trick is knowing how to tell a good aftermarket part from a bad one.
OEM replacement parts for your Jeep will come from the same company that made the Jeep, but good quality aftermarket replacement parts will have comparable manufacture. So, the difference between a OEM brake part
compared to a good quality aftermarket brake part make be negligible in terms of performance and durability. One of the best indicators of a good aftermarket replacement part is if that part has excellent reviews, is very popular with other Jeep owners, and the price is not rock bottom. Generally, good quality aftermarket parts will be slightly less in cost from the OEM parts, but not so discounted that it seems too good to be true. In the long run, saving a bit of money initially may cost you more in the future.
Aftermarket parts and accessories which don’t impact your performance can be your outlet when indulging your inner miser. However, when dealing with the internal mechanics of your Jeep, the drivetrain, brakes, or lifts, you should opt for the higher-grade aftermarket part, or slap down the extra money for the OEM, even. This is because all of the mechanics that comprise your Jeep’s system work in concert with one another. Change one part of that ensemble, and it could throw response rate and performance off. There’s nothing worse than going vertical on rough terrain only to have the newly replaced clutch go out. Quality replacement parts tend to be superior to cheaper aftermarket parts simply in their manufacture, their warranty, as well as the type of material used to produce them.