Downtime for any heavy equipment owner means the machine is not working, and if the machine is not working then the owner is likely losing money. This is probably why many will begin their search for replacement parts directly from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of that machine. Is this always the smart choice, or is aftermarket truly a viable option?
Some advantages for choosing OEM are the availability, saving buyers time shopping around, and the other is quality, as buyers already know what to expect from the part. There are some disadvantages, however, and one of those is the cost. Parts from equipment dealers will cost, on average, two to three times more than aftermarket. Another potential disadvantage might be customer service. Calling the local dealer for parts might not always get the same level of service as purchasing or leasing the machine did.
The debate over aftermarket has always been about quality. One bad purchase might tarnish the opinion of aftermarket, but this bad reputation is not always deserved. There are often many manufacturers for each part to choose from. The biggest advantage of aftermarket is going to be in the cost. Many times the savings on the aftermarket parts outweighs the time spent shopping for those parts, and because most distributors only focus on replacement parts, consumers will likely get higher customer service.
The final question comes down to cost per hour. OEM parts will have a much higher cost than their aftermarket counterpart, but that does not always mean it will last longer. While it is true that some aftermarket parts will have a shorter life-span, the consumer usually has many choices, and those choices allow informed buyers to shop for the right balance of both price and quality. Finding the right aftermarket supplier who offers quality replacement part at competitive prices will almost always win over the OEM.
Whether it’s cost, life-span, availability or customer service that drives your decisions, the fact of the matter is you have choices, and we would love to hear what your choice is.