Before deciding on what the right heavy-duty truck part is right for you, it is important to understand the different classifications of truck parts. There are three main classifications: OEM, OE, and Aftermarket. Here is an outline of each classification.
Original Equipment Manufacturer or simply OEM replacement parts are manufactured by your truck's manufacturer. They match the original part that came with the vehicle using the same manufacturing processes and material. One of the main benefits of OEM parts is that they are specifically built for your truck. Customers can ensure that they only receive top quality parts that are specifically built for your vehicle. However, these parts are generally more expensive than OE and aftermarket parts. Availability may also be limited depending on the manufacturer and the part you request.
There is normally confusion between OEM and OE parts. Original Equipment parts are not manufactured by your truck manufacturer. The company may own the design, but the manufacturing of the parts are subcontracted to another company. The truck manufacturer will source the finished parts and assemble them at their company. OE parts often bear the same quality of OEM parts. However, they are much cheaper due to lower manufacturing costs from subcontracting.
Aftermarket parts do not come from the manufacturer of your heavy duty truck. It comes from a company that specializes in manufacturing replacement parts for different types of vehicles. The part manufacturer will come up with a part that is an exact replica of the original part. However, it may differ slightly in terms of quality, material, and reliability. Aftermarket parts are popular because they are more affordable than OEM parts but come at the risk of receiving a lower quality part. Availability is also less limited due to a vast number of aftermarket manufacturers there are.