As your trucking company searches for ways to lower costs, you might be considering buying generic semi truck parts as opposed to genuine Freightliner parts. Even if you only have a small fleet of 10 or less, parts can really add up. While aftermarket parts prices might be lower, buying OEM will save you more in the long run.
What Is An OEM Part?
OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. These parts aren’t necessarily made by your truck brand, but the manufacturers have been subcontracted by the brand. This means they do more than just make the brand’s parts; they agree to the brand’s high standards of quality and service. OEM manufacturers partner with a truck brand and can make sure that every part they sell is not just designed as a required part, but with the make, model, and in-depth design specs required for best fit and function.
Just Because It Looks The Same, Doesn’t Mean It Works The Same
A generic part may look the same, may fit in place, and may even function, but as you know there is a huge difference between getting the job done and doing the job right. You can expect your OEM semi truck parts to last longer and improve performance. Just like when you head to the hardware store for new tools, you’re willing to pay a bit more for a brand you trust. While a generic drill might work, it might not have the same power or durability as your go-to brand. The same can be said for buying OEM. Buying OEM means buying parts you can trust.
You Know Where And How It Is Made
Parts manufacturers are in the business of making money. In an effort to cut costs, many generic suppliers will turn to cheaper molds and materials. On top of that, many overseas manufacturers have lower standards for quality. This doesn’t mean an OEM part isn’t made overseas, but you can be sure that all OEM parts are made with high standards of quality. The goal is to replace your parts with the exact same part your semi comes standard with—or the upgraded alternative for your specific make and model.
Universal Isn’t Always Universal
If you’re considering buying a mix of generic and OEM with the mindset that some basic parts really can be universal, remember that universal isn’t always universal. There are years of testing, engineering, and system-level understanding that go into making genuine OEM parts. More importantly, OEM parts are designed to fit and work together as a whole, just like your truck did when it came off the assembly line. This is something you can’t get with a universal part. It also means getting the confidence that comes with the industry-leading warranty that backs Freightliner genuine parts.
At Triad Freightliner, you also get the know-how and years of experience of one of our parts specialists. They can tell you exactly how and why genuine Freightliner parts are the best fit for your truck. They can even tell you about the most common repair and maintenance concerns. Having your OEM parts installed by our Elite SupportSM certified technicians is even better.
OEM vs. Respected Brand
Unlike food, clothing, or office supplies where you can easily find quality alternatives for the same price, when shopping for parts you aren’t paying for the label or brand. You are paying for quality parts designed for precision and durability.
There are a lot of well-respected generic brands out there. And you’ve probably used one or two of them before. So why not use this brand on all of your Freightliner trucks? This might work if you’re in a bind and need to get your truck back out on the road, but you shouldn’t rely on generic parts as a long-term solution. When you compromise on parts, you’re sacrificing performance. With genuine Freightliner parts, you can be sure you always have the part designed for the Freightliner truck it’s being installed on. Buying a new part, designed for your specific make, model, and year just makes sense. Anything else and you’re taking chances. The chance that you’ll only get half the life of an OEM part. The chance that a part not designed specifically for you Freightliner make cause a more costly powertrain or drivetrain problem.
The Hidden Costs Of Online Shopping—Why You Should Always Buy From a Trusted Dealer
Another thing you need to keep your eye out for is online retailers who claim to sell OEM parts—but are really selling knockoffs. These suppliers are really good at making their parts and packaging look and feel the same. They may even be bold enough to reach out to you directly. However, it’s simply not worth the risk.
While you might save money, you might not be getting a genuine part. These parts often come with hidden costs that you may not realize until it’s too late. This could include minimum order requirements, unreasonable shipping charges, and costly return/restocking/refund policies and pricing. We service, install and stand behind every part we sell.
Safety Comes First—You Get What You Pay For
Keeping your drivers safe is your number one priority. Keeping the vehicles on the road around your trucks safe is a top priority, too. You simply can’t put a price on safety, but you can be sure that your genuine Freightliner parts are designed with your standards for safety in mind. It doesn’t matter what part you’re replacing on your truck—OEM is always your safest choice.
Not All Aftermarket Parts Are Bad
Without a doubt, there are several aftermarket parts suppliers who value quality and safety as much as you do. However, the roadblock they face comes back to understanding the precise specs for your Freightliner. They can try their best to replicate an OEM part, but the only guarantee you have is with your genuine Freightliner parts suppliers. Not only that, but sometimes parts will be improved upon—which you will only know when shopping with an OEM supplier.
Invest Less Time Sourcing Your Parts
Buying your semi truck parts only from OEM suppliers saves you the hassle of seeking new suppliers. Time is money, so instead buy from trusted suppliers. Regular customers are also the first to know about cost-saving sales or other money-saving perks.
Consider the cost-saving benefits of buying remanufactured semi truck parts. Again, you have to take precautions that you are buying from a true OEM or OES (original equipment supplier) semi truck parts supplier. Our remanufactured parts meet or exceed original specs for fit, quality and finish. They also come with a one-year/unlimited-mile, nationwide warranty.
Where And When To Do The Math
OEM parts can cost a little more upfront, but you want to keep your trucks running for the long haul. While buying generic might sound like an easy way to save, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
- If your part lifecycle is shorter, you are likely to pay more in the long run
- If your part wears down surrounding parts, you will have more parts to buy—which can cost significantly more
- If your part fits and functions, but doesn’t optimize performance—you slowly but surely pay more
- If your part fits, but doesn’t have the specs you require for quality or safety—you may not know until it is too late
Parts are an excellent example of how the smallest details can make all the difference. Instead of focusing on the price per part, focus on controlling your overall maintenance cost and reducing downtime. Investing in quality genuine parts will reduce the frequency of repairs and maintenance, improve operational efficiency, and will keep your fleet on the road. Further optimize your parts performance by staying up-to-date with all suggested preventative checkups and care.
Whether you’re looking a part to keep you on the road or to customize your rig, we’ve got the parts you need. Visit or call our Parts Department today.