Does OEM Really Matter? With Your Car’s Radio It Does…

Repair Service - Cadillac SuperNav Radio 10

Original equipment manufacturer vehicle infotainment parts come at a premium for a reason.

Why does an OEM vehicle touchscreen radio cost more than the aftermarket version from Crutchfield or Best Buy?

The short answer; All OEM parts are created the same—that can’t be said for aftermarket vehicle parts.

The OEM manufacturer produced the original part according to specific standards for a value-added reseller (VAR). In the case of in-vehicle infotainment systems, the VAR would be the manufacturer; Ford, Ram, Dodge, etc.

Aftermarket parts makers generally reverse engineer the original equipment. The manufactured parts will be built upon the ‘best’ possible replica.

In some instances, manufacturers will share information and authorize certain parts as being accepted replicas.

So What’s the Difference Between OEM and Aftermarket?

When talking about the differences between OEM and aftermarket, go back to parts being created ‘equal’.

As noted earlier, OEM parts will be the same from the first part off the assembly line to the millionth part made months or years later.

Aftermarket parts will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. One brand of aftermarket part may be built from one material and a brand from another manufacturer built from a different material.

Remember, each manufacturer had to reverse engineer the part. Subtle differences can cause a reduction in a usable lifetime, alter proper functioning or suffer from poor quality.

Body shops prefer OEM parts over aftermarket. Why?

Aftermarket parts such as body panels often don’t fit exactly the way the OEM part did.

That’s why vehicle manufacturers void warranties once aftermarket parts have been installed. The manufacturers simply can’t attest to the quality or performance of parts made by a third party.

Manufacturers Don’t Trust Aftermarket Parts. Then Why Should the Consumer?

Aftermarket parts aren’t all bad.

In many instances, aftermarket parts provide a very reliable and reasonably priced alternative.

Certain car parts have been around so long, that the original part manufacturer no longer exists. That means original specifications will most likely be part of the public domain. In these situations, consumers have the confidence in knowing they’re getting original parts—just built by a different manufacturer.

To ensure quality when purchasing aftermarket vehicle parts, look for a warranty.

If the manufacturer believes in their product, they’ll stand behind it with a promise it will work.

Back to OEM Vehicle Radios vs. Aftermarket Radios

If making a comparison between aftermarket in-vehicle infotainment or an aftermarket option, always remember the basic theorem, not all aftermarket radios have been created equal.

The modern vehicle has transformed into a colloid of varying computer systems talking across a common network. Every component from the transmission to the climate control system to the touchscreen radio must be programmed to work with the rest of the network.

Every manufacturer creates a proprietary code base used to manage and operate these systems. Because each component must exist among a myriad complex of electronic relationships, the programming becomes very difficult to completely reverse engineer.

Installing an aftermarket infotainment system often causes other electronic components to malfunction.

Most commonly, users of aftermarket infotainment systems complain that volume buttons stop working, climate control features no longer maintain accuracy or other important functions such as the backup camera stop working.

The issue of physical design also plays an important role in aftermarket infotainment system design.

Most components of modern in-vehicle infotainment systems were designed specifically to meet the space and physical design of the vehicle’s interior.

Go OEM With

Why purchase from

OEM Equipment offers OEM infotainment replacements and upgrades.

30-Day Return Policy
This allows you time to install your new OEM equipment and ensure you’ve made the right purchase.

90-Day Warranty
You can return your equipment for a replacement if it’s not functioning properly.

Compatibility Guarantee
All your purchases come with a compatibility guarantee. You have confidence knowing the radio will work with all the equipment in the vehicle.