Auto parts shopping - particularly for import cars - can be very difficult if you don't understand the differences among brands. Let's clear up some misconceptions so you aren't tempted by inferior aftermarket parts that can actually do more harm than good - often costing you much more in the form of major auto repairs!
OEM (original equipment manufactured) and OES (original equipment supplied) many times are one and the same. OE, of course, is a more generic term that refers to the brand that came as original equipment on the car. Most auto manufacturers assemble cars from purchased components and manufacture only the sheet metal components.
Therefore, the "factory part" you can buy from your dealer was most likely made by another company, sold to the car maker and then resold to the dealer for ultimate sale to you.
An important point many people are unaware of is the fact that multiple OES brands are not only normal but are actually mandated by international standards as part of the qualifications for ISO certification. Car manufacturers must have secondary sourcing (i.e., multiple suppliers) for certain types of parts in order that any problems with one supplier will not disable the car manufacturer's production and allow for substitution of the other brand for new production and any warranty replacement or repairs.
As an example, the original VDO pump may be interchanged with the Bosch unit with equal performance, the ZKW foglight may be interchanged with the Hella unit or the Balo brake rotors replaced with Zimmermann.
The OEM suppliers to Asian and domestic car makers are not always as easy to identify. Due to the proliferation of automotive conglomerates and spin-off companies, the original manufacturer may sell the parts under numerous brand names.
Further, many parts manufacturers are considered OES when, in fact, the exact same parts came on the car under a different brand name. We continue to strive to offer the direct OE replacement under whichever brand name is available.
We deal directly with many OEM/OES companies and stock the exact same parts as your local dealer - usually at substantially lower prices! It may not always come in a package with the car maker's name but it is, in fact, the very same part, manufactured by the very same company.
Why pay for all those middlemen when you can get the exact same part at AutohausAZ? AutohausAZ strives to supply one or all of the original equipment brands when available - usually the most commonly used brand is the more available one at a cost savings that we can pass along to you, our valued customer.
That's why our price may be 20%-90% below your dealer's price. You're not skimping on quality - it's the same quality as the dealer's part. You're just cutting out the overhead caused by too many middlemen.
"Why doesn't the aftermarket have replacement parts for my new car?" All too often we hear this question on non-maintenance type parts and it's frustrating for both you and for us.
Most cars will require some repair work in the first or second year. Unfortunately, some parts for these repairs may still only be available through the dealers.
Often OEM and OES companies cannot release OE parts for "new" cars into the aftermarket (because of licensing agreements) until a few years have passed. This restriction allows the car maker to recoup tooling costs, build in repair revenues for the dealers and justify larger OEM production runs to keep costs down.
Although irritating that some parts are "dealer only", it's in your best interest for warranty purposes. As new car warranties get longer, the dealer must maintain cars that fail to perform for longer periods of time. In the case of emission-related parts, the U.S. government has regulated many of these warranties to keep up with EPA rules. So if you're driving a newer car, you may need the dealer for a few more years on certain items.
The true "aftermarket" part is one that's been copied from the OE part. In many cases, this is done to offer a lower cost alternative. But in most cases the benefit of the lower price is far outweighed by its major disadvantage - it's usually an inferior product and ends up costing you much more in the end in avoidable repairs.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule as car makers try to reduce assembly costs by going to lower cost alternatives on parts that wear out and routine maintenance parts. And as car models get older and dealer supply becomes less prevalent, the OES companies are using "off-shore" facilities in the manufacturing of these replacement parts to help reduce consumer costs. However, these parts are still manufactured to the original specifications per ISO certification and labeled with the European (OES) company name with the addition of the country of manufacture.
But, beware: Aftermarket parts stores - the big name mass merchandisers you find on every street corner - normally carry ONLY "aftermarket" copies of OE parts. It's the most cost-efficient way for them to compete on price with the thousands of other parts stores. Besides, most of their customers care more about price than performance anyway!
NOTE: This is only a small sampling of the OEM/OES manufacturers who supply AutohausAZ's OE inventory for European and Japanese cars. For a more complete listing of the brands and types of parts AutohausAZ carries, be sure to investigate the Products & Brands page.
AutohausAZ doesn't believe in cheap aftermarket imitations. We won't sell inferior parts. Our customers know how important fit, performance and quality are and they want to get the highest quality parts possible for their car repairs - those that fit and work like factory-original, OEM parts.
We routinely test new brands to find the highest quality products for our customers. We've spent nearly 30 years researching the best available brands for each and every type of part we sell. And, we only stock those brands that meet our stringent price/quality requirements - the best available part for the job!
We also believe in giving customers choices. Many parts are stocked in both the OEM/OES brand and a lower cost alternative that's at least equal to the quality of the OE brand. This gives you the choice between the OE part and a higher quality alternative.
Robert Bosch Company is the single largest parts supplier for European cars. What started as Robert Bosch's "Workshop for Precision and Electrical Engineering" over 100 years ago, has become one of today's most successful engineering enterprises.
Pioneers of automotive fuel injection technology over 50 years ago, Bosch is the industry leader in fuel injection and is the major OE supplier to nearly all car manufacturers worldwide. Bosch developed the first fuel injection system with a high-pressure electric fuel pump in 1967 and continues to pioneer innovative designs and technology.
Bosch ignition systems are OE on most European cars and have been for many, many years. Whether it's an old points-and-condenser type distributor or the latest high-tech distributorless ignition system, Bosch built the unit for the car marker. The replacement parts - from cap, rotor, points, condenser and Hall sender to distributorless coils and connectors - are all the original parts or the updated version of them from Bosch.
Bosch also offers the best warranty in the marketplace. They stand behind all products for a minimum of 12 full months, unlimited mileage! They also provide a 2-year roadside assistance warranty on starters and alternators - they'll pay for your jump start or tow should one of these products fail. And, Bosch offers a lifetime warranty on all of its spark plug wire sets.
Bosch manufactures thousands of different components for cars - from fuel pumps to air flow meters to electronic switches and relays to headlights and filters. In fact, Bosch is the OE brand at most car manufacturers worldwide.
As a Bosch Warehouse Distributor, AutohausAZ stocks thousands of Bosch products for your car. Is it any wonder people worldwide come to AutohausAZ for all their Bosch product needs?
Sachs-Boge (now part of ZF Trading North America's group of companies) includes Boge suspension (shocks/struts, bushings, etc.), Boge rubber-to-metal (engine mounts, suspension mounts, bushings, etc.), Stabilus gas springs (hood, trunk and tailgate shocks, convertible top cover supports, etc.), and Fichtel-Sachs drivetrain (clutches, fan clutches, etc.).
Boge suspension and rubber-to-metal have been the European supplier of shocks/struts, bushings and mounts to the auto makers since 1931, with manufacturing plants in 72 countries around the world. With their outstanding warranties on shocks/struts, you never have to worry about the performance and longevity of the parts.
And, Fichtel-Sachs/Borg&Beck clutches have been original equipment on European cars in one form or another for over 100 years. Still the world leader in clutch technology and innovation, Sachs clutches are found in cars the world over, including US car makes.
Sachs' Stabilus/Lift-O-Mat brand is the major supplier of hood, trunk and tailgate shocks on all European cars. The replacements are exactly the same specs as that which was on your car on the showroom floor so you know when you buy Stabilus you'll be able to restore the lift that you expect when you open your door.
Once again, AutohausAZ stocks a large assortment of Sachs and Boge products - all of which are OEM/OES and are either on your European car already or are factory-approved as a replacement part. And, like Bosch, Sachs stands behind their products with a minimum 12-month warranty - lifetime on shocks.
ATE supplies brake and hydraulic components as an OE supplier to most European car makers. From calipers to master cylinders to brake discs, brake drums and much more, somewhere on your car is the name ATE!
Balo brake rotors were the OE brand on BMWs throughout the 1990s and continue to be the major supplier to European car makers. For quality of manufacture, resistance to warping and superior fit and performance, Balo is the professional's rotor of choice for most BMW models.
Bando is the OEM belt of choice for all Asian cars. It's designed to properly fit the pulley grooves at the correct ride level to give superior performance and durability.
Behr/Hella Service has long been known for its refrigeration and cooling system parts on Mercedes Benz and BMW. From A/C parts to radiators and thermostats to A/C control systems, Behr is the OE brand on many European cars. Through its worldwide affiliations with other companies, its name is also found on many replacement refrigeration and cooling system parts for other makes of automobiles.
Brembo brake discs, designed specifically for the Formula One racing circuit, are now offered for street use. Since 1961, Brembo has been the exclusive supplier of brake calipers to Porsche and brake rotor supplier to racers worldwide (FIA Rally, Formula One, CART, NASCAR, Porsche, Ferrari and more). You can't do any better for fit and performance than Brembo.
Continental (aka CRP, Conti, or Conti-Tech), according to most experts, is the only belt you should put on European cars. Continental is an OE supplier and its superior, service-free belts outlast any other brand on the market. Continental also produces many of the OE hoses found on your car. Now with the Rein Automotive brand, Continental offers OE quality replacement filters, gaskets and other maintenance items.
Corteco and Micronair are divisions of The Freudenburg Group and supply a large number of filters, seals, mounts and maintenance items for most European cars.
Daikin is one of a group of affiliated clutch brands manufactured in Japan for Honda, Nissan and Toyota. It is a market brand containing the original FCC clutch products found on these cars. With original material, fit and performance, Daikin is the clutch component brand to use on your Japanese car.
FAG is world-renowned for its bearings and tensioner assemblies. Since its pioneering work on roller bearings starting in 1885, FAG has been a world leader for over 120 years. Again, another brand name that probably came as standard equipment on your car.
Fahrzeug Technik Ebern (FTE) is a major brake and clutch hydraulics manufacturer in Ebern, Germany.
Febi Bilstein is known for OE suspension and steering systems. From Bilstein shocks and struts to Febi bushings, tie rods and control arms, you're assured of high quality products from Febi Bilstein.
Fichtel-Sachs clutches - see Sachs Boge above.
GK, a division of Autex Autoeile Germany, is an OE manufacturer of water pumps. They offer superior quality and performance for German cars.
Hella lighting and electrical products are original equipment on many models and offer superior replacement parts on all cars. See also Behr/Hella Service above.
Hirschmann is a world leader in communication antenna technology and is the OE supplier to European car makers. Since the first telescoping design in 1939, Hirschmann has been at the forefront of innovation.
Jurid brake pads (a division of Bendix/Allied Signal) were the OE brand on BMWs throughout the 1990s and continue to be the major supplier in Europe. For fit, finish and performance, you can't do better than Jurid for your BMW.
Kolbenschmidt is an OE brand name that can be found on hundreds of quality metal parts throughout the European car market - engine blocks, pistons, bearings, induction pipes, water pumps and other high-grade components. With such diverse and time-tested engine experience, Kolbenschmidt is a testimonial to "competence around the engine".
Laso offers superior quality OE water pumps and metal components for European auto makers.
Lemfoerder, now also part of ZFTNA, is the OE brand for heavy metal parts on most BMWs, such as control arms, support arms and bushings. Lemfoerder is always the highest quality original equipment (OE) brand you can find. Now also known for many other automotive parts and kits, you can count on Lemfoerder to be a perfect fit every time.
Loebro, a division of GKN Drivetech, is the OE CV joint, U-joint and axle boot king for European cars. GKN is the largest manufacturer of new OE constant velocity products with over 40% of the total world market. In fact, GKN has been the world leader in front-wheel drive engineering for almost 40 years.
Lucas-Girling/TRW-Lucas is another large OE manufacturer of brake and hydraulic products. The TRW group of companies supply OE and replacement parts for nearly every make and model car on the road today.
Mahle-Knecht, Hengst, Mann-Hummel and Crosland are all high-quality OE suppliers in Europe of various automotive filters. Air filters, fuel filters, oil filters, power steering filters and AC/pollen/micro filters are the most common maintenance items on cars today and these quality brands will ensure OE specification service, fit and performance.
Meyle Products, located in Hamburg, Germany, offers a constantly expanding range of high-quality steering and suspension products (tie rods, center/drag link, control arms, support arms, ball joints, bushings and kits and more) for European cars.
Meyle engineers analyze original parts, especially those with known issues, to develop improved alternatives that exceed the reliability and longevity of the original OE parts. Whether it's reinforcements on aluminum control arms, full-metal ball joints or tie rod ends, enlarged diameter stabilizer link ends, or modified molding design for rubber-to-metal mounts, Meyle optimizes the original part designs. With more than 30 years experience in the European market Meyle has distinguished itself with its nearly 200 improved heavy-duty "HD Quality" technically optimized parts to replace and improve the OE version.
Mintex, a division of TMD Friction, has over 100 years experience supplying the auto makers of Europe with brakes pads, including the manufacture of Pagid and Textar brake pads. It was the first brake pad company in Europe to earn the new "Regulation 90" approval for safetey in meeting or exceeding OE specifications on its pads. All the brake pads are built to OE specifications for material compound, are non-asbestos for health safety and are low dusting for cleanliness of your wheels.
Nissens is a Danish alternative radiator and AC condenser brand for Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Saab and Volvo. These radiators incorporate all the latest updates to OE specs, fit exactly as the original brands and are often a more cost-effective solution than the OE brand.
NSK, GMB, KML and FCC - These four Asian manufacturers offer a wide range of OE components (bearings, water pumps, clutches and more) for both Asian and European cars. Superior design and durability make these products the best you can buy for Asian cars.
Ocap engineers and supplies steering and suspension sub-systems for some of the most prestigious sports cars, private passenger cars and special vehicle manufacturers in the world. OCAP's strength lies in its dynamism and expertise to partner with OE manufacturers from the earliest stages of designing and engineering to FEM analysis and bench testing.
Pagid brake pads, a division of TMD Friction, are an OE or better alternative brand and are preferred by many professionals for numerous European cars. As an OE supplier of brake pads for Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Saab, Volkswagen and Volvo, these pads have the most up-to-date formulation and shims for optimal performance and noise reduction.
PBR Deluxe (Axxis, Repco, MetalMaster) is a brand that's changed its name several times over the past several years but not its high quality. Although not OE on any car, PBR Deluxe brand pads are a popular replacement brand for most car makes. In the standard "Deluxe" line, they produce an organic pad that performs quietly and cleanly on your import car. The "MetalMaster" line of full metallic pads are a durable, high-quality, all-metallic pad designed for certain applications to either replace semi-metallics or extend pad life.
Pierburg appears on several fuel pumps in many European cars and is an excellent alternative for many other cars. The compact design and quiet operation of the Pierburg pumps are renowned.
Ruville, based in Hamburg Germany, has been a leading spare parts provider for over 80 years.
SKF is the leading global supplier of products, solutions and services in the rolling bearing and seals business. SKF was founded in Sweden in 1907 and currently operates 76 production sites in 22 countries. They are reknowned for their high quality products for a wide variety of car makes.
Stabilus hood, trunk and tailgate shocks - see Sachs Boge above.
Textar brake pads, a division of TMD Friction, are the OE pads on most Mercedes-Benz cars and have been for many, many years. Formulated for quiet operation and high performance, there are no better pads for most Mercedes original applications or as replacement pads on any European model car.
Uro Parts is a division of APA Industries. As a marketer of replacement seals, gaskets and parts for European cars, Uro Parts strives to offer affordable OE quality fit and finish.
VDO-Siemens is world renowned for its electrical parts, pumps, sensors and switches. An OE brand on many European cars, VDO is now part of Continental Automotive GmbH. Continental acquired Siemens VDO Automotive in December, 2007.
Victor Reinz, Goetze, Meistersatz and ElringKlinger are the four companies representing nearly every OE gasket or seal found in European cars. If you need a seal or gasket - from valve cover gaskets to head sets to axle seals - it will probably have one of these names on it at AutohausAZ.
Zimmermann brake rotors were our original and only Porsche brake rotor supplier but they have expanded tremendously over the past few years. The quality is second to none as replacement on all late model import cars - not just Porsche - with the high demand on ABS high-pressure systems. Heat fade resistance and longevity are Zimmermann's strong suits and Zimmermann brake rotors are one of your best buys for great braking performance. Since January 2008, Zimmermann has been applying the Coat Z-AntiCorrosion coating to select part numbers to further improve longevity.
Adler, Nissin and NTP OEM hydraulic products are known for their durability and proper fit. This is the only master cylinder you want to put on Hondas.
Repair articles are added regularly. Come back often to check for new maintenance topics.
These repair tips are designed only as a starting point. Please seek the assistance of a professional mechanic for all repair problems beyond your capabilities.