What do you value in maintaining your equipment?
WESTERN® Factory Original Parts vs. Aftermarket parts… Explained.

When it comes to purchasing service parts and accessories for your snow plow, tailgate or hopper spreader, there may be options to purchase a similar part or accessory from an aftermarket supplier for a lower price. “Is the higher price of the Factory Original service part or accessory supplied by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) justified by the value delivered?” is typically the most important question that comes up when considering options. Similarly, “Does a lower cost part or accessory mean lesser quality?” and “Are there certain situations where you should only use OEM parts and accessories?”

We will compare and contrast the pros and cons of both types to help answer these questions.

OEM Parts and Accessories

Original Equipment Manufacturer parts and accessories are a direct replacement for your particular product. They were designed, tested and engineered for their specific purpose. They are manufactured and sourced from the same means as the original product and, for all intents and purposes, are the same part or accessory.


EASIER TO CHOOSE YOUR PART: If you go into your preferred dealer and ask for a OEM part or accessory at the counter, they will get you that item and you can have peace of mind knowing it will fit, perform and function as designed for your snow plow or spreader. Manufacturers also provide parts diagrams and other supporting documentation to ensure you are ordering and receiving the correct part or accessory.

GREATER ASSURANCE OF QUALITY: The OEM part or accessory should work exactly like the one you are replacing or adding because, in most cases, it is the exact part or accessory that either came standard on the product or when purchased new. It was designed and manufactured to an exact specification for the purpose it was intended. As a result, product performance is fully restored.

COMES WITH A WARRANTY: OEM manufacturers back their products with a one-year or two-year warranty. In addition, the service part or accessory will not void or adversely affect any other warranties with the product.

AVAILABILITY: Dealerships generally maintain a stocking inventory of most common service parts and accessories, so they are ready and available for purchase.

SUPPORT: The OEM provides training to dealers to ensure their product knowledge. They offer technical and ordering support to help resolve any issue that may arise. Many dealerships offer extended hours during events or emergency contact information.


PRICE: Due to the additional value delivered, OEM parts and accessories may cost more than their aftermarket counterpart. This can be driven by the quality of the product, manufacturing costs, maintaining higher inventory levels to ensure availability, or to help offset the costs associated with engineering, testing and designing the products.

POINT OF SALE: OEM parts and accessories are sold through a network of dealers. Even though there are other ways of purchasing OEM parts and accessories, most people choose to purchase from their preferred dealer. This limits the number of places to buy, but also may enhance the service provided and ensure support is available if needed.

Aftermarket Parts

An aftermarket part or accessory is any part or accessory that may fit your plow, tailgate or hopper spreader that is not sourced from the original factory manufacturer. These parts and accessories have not been designed specifically for the product or tested to ensure performance and, as a result, may void the original factory warranty. Electric and hydraulic aftermarket parts in particular may alter the overall operation of the equipment from its original design and intent.


LESS EXPENSIVE: Aftermarket parts and accessories are generally less expensive than OEM parts and accessories. The amount you save may depend on your particular dealer and region. If the price seems too good to be true, inquire about the quality of the product.

QUALITY CAN BE SIMILAR OR EQUAL TO OEM: In some cases you may end up with a part or accessory of similar quality as the original, but this can be difficult to determine.

AVAILABILITY: In some cases, the parts and accessories may be very common. Many outlets are available because they may be applicable to many different applications or manufacturers. You may find them available at automotive parts stores, hardware stores or other outlets, as well as online.


QUALITY VARIES GREATLY: The old saying, “you get what you pay for” is generally true. Aftermarket parts and accessories may use inferior quality materials and may not be to the original specification. Often there is little or no testing to ensure consistent performance with the associated brand product.

DOES NOT MEET SPECIFICATIONS: Aftermarket parts and accessories may “do the job” or fit in the required space. Often they are not truly built to the exact specifications designed by the original manufacturer who developed and tested the product to serve a specific purpose and perform at a specific level of quality.

SUPPORT: Aftermarket parts and accessories often come with less support. Documentation is often generic in nature and not specific to the application. Installation or troubleshooting assistance may not be available should there be a question or problem.

WARRANTY: To keep costs down, aftermarket parts and accessories may be sold with a lesser or without warranty. In some instances, it could even void the original factory warranty on your snow plow or spreader.

When Should You Request OEM Parts and Accessories?

Ultimately the decision is up to you and the variables may not remain constant for all parts and accessories. If the part or accessory directly impacts the performance of the snowplow, tailgate or hopper spreader, then more significant consideration should be given to the OEM part or accessory. Additionally, the more complex the part or accessory, the higher the level of engineering and testing involved. In general, the more separation created between the aftermarket and the original the decision greatly shifts in favor of the OEM.

Remember, not all aftermarket parts and accessories are created equal, but all OEM parts and accessories are. If you don’t mind paying a little extra for peace of mind, purchasing OEM parts and accessories are the right decision for you.

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