When you need new parts for your vehicle when it's in for servicing or repair, you're likely to be confronted with what can seem like a difficult choice. Not only do they have to be the right parts for the model and year of vehicle, you may also be asked to choose between original equipment manufacturer parts (OEM) or aftermarket parts. You may be tempted to overlook the OEM parts and choose the cheaper aftermarket alternatives, but quality, licensed parts really do matter. Why?
It would be easy to assume OEM parts are made by the manufacturer of your vehicle, such as Lincoln for example, but that's not necessarily the case. In fact, most parts and components that Lincoln and other manufacturers use are made for them under license by specialized component manufacturers. These companies make the parts for the vehicle manufacturers to their incredibly detailed specifications, so you know they are exactly right. When replacement OEM parts are ordered for your vehicle when your dealer needs to fit them, they may or may not be packaged under the brand of your vehicle. That doesn't matter, though, because they are of the highest quality. Another bonus is that OEM parts are licensed by your vehicle manufacturer, which means they are also fully warranted. Your technician will have no issues installing them because they are exactly the same as the parts used when the vehicle was built at the factory.
Aftermarket or non-OEM parts are basically copies of genuine parts that are not licensed or guaranteed by your vehicle's manufacturer. That doesn't necessarily make them worse. The quality of aftermarket parts has improved considerably, but these parts are inconsistent in their quality and don't have the same guarantee that OEM parts do. With so many companies all over the world making aftermarket parts, counterfeit copies of these aftermarket parts are inevitable. You're taking a risk when you choose an aftermarket part.
One of the big advantages of going to a main dealer service department for your vehicle maintenance is that dealer service departments only use top quality, licensed OEM parts. Since they are exactly the same as the parts being replaced on your vehicle, your technician is restoring your vehicle to its original state. If something happens and the part fails, the warranty will mean no more expense for you. The dealer will fix it for free. Also, if your vehicle is still under its manufacturer warranty, using genuine parts will keep that warranty intact while using aftermarket parts could invalidate your warranty.
The only reason you'd choose an aftermarket part is cost. But remember: we get what we pay for. If aftermarket parts are installed in your vehicle, they may turn out to be perfectly okay. The question is whether you are prepared to take that risk? And when you consider what can potentially happen when a crucial component fails on a vehicle, especially at highway speeds, that's a big risk to take.