Let’s face it: a lot of our cars don’t come with the equipment we need for what we want them to do. Whether it’s the tires, shocks, air filter or exhausts, we want to keep improving and personalizing our autos to our tastes and performance needs. If you are thinking about replacing some OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) stock parts on your car with aftermarket parts, look over this list of five things first.
5 Know Where You’re Buying From
As we know, not all auto stores have reputable sales people. They rely heavily on their computer to tell which part fits in what car, and can’t offer any other information about the part. A specialty store focusing on your particular make or model (whether it be online or brick and mortar) will always be a good choice to at least get the right information about the part, from its quirks to the installation process. However, it may be more expensive. Many places offer great return policies and warranties, so it will be up to you to decide the best place to buy from depending on who you trust and what you need. If you are buying from eBay or Amazon always look for high user ratings and parts with full descriptions so you know exactly what you are getting and if it will fit your year/make/model.
4 Review Your Insurance and Warranty
Some insurance policies have issues with aftermarket parts, so make sure you check your policy before changing parts on your car. Also, check your car’s warranty (if you have one) and see if putting an aftermarket part on your car will break that warranty. Often times if you replace OEM stuff, your mileage or maintenance warrantiesmay be dissolved.
3 Only Buy What You Need
Look, many of us are just using our cars to commute and get us around town, so we don’t need to strangle out an extra 2 horses of our engine by sacrificing something that keeps higher MPGs or even safety. We don’t all need race filters or aftermarket exhausts or expensive performance tires. Many stock parts that come on a car are designed for commuters and family drivers. Many aftermarket parts are designed for performance, so make sure you aren’t just getting your car as many HPs as you need when you never go over 40 miles per hour or hardly leave the city streets. Cut the pride and realize what your car is being used for.
2 Keep your old parts
For various reasons we will list below, keep your old parts around. You might find that a new part isn’t what you wanted, or it doesn’t wear in right and you’ll need to put your old part back on. Now, we don’t want you keeping a bunch of junky rusting parts around and building up a collection of useless car parts, so there may come a time to get rid of them, but at least until you know your new part is working out don’t get rid of them. Nothing sucks more than a new part defecting and not having a backup to throw on.
1 Research, Research, Research
This is the single most important thing to do. First, be wary of all comments on the internet, and take them all with a grain of salt. Before buying a part, see what the majority of people are saying about that particular brand or part. Research, of course, includes compatibility issues that may occur with that part too. You want to make sure you know everything about what you’re dropping coin for. Once I put in a set of high-performance brakes pads and didn’t realize they took an insane amount of time to wear-in before they stopped squeaking — and these suckers were LOUD. For over 500 miles I was wondering if I had done something wrongor if they were wearing in badly because they also didn’t feel very great compared to the reviews I had read. I wasstressing about it all — wondering if I should put the old pads back on, or keep checking the pads and the rotors for glazing (which I never saw happening). I finally found out that these particular pads took quite some time to wear in and eventually they stopped squealing and became amazing brakes. Every part has its quirks, so be aware. Some may require additional prepping too.
Aftermarket parts cannot only save you money, but often will increase the performance of your vehicle. Just be aware of the ‘personality’ of the part you buy, if it is from a reliable manufacturer, and make sure you know your warranty and insurance policies inside and out.