There are lots of aftermarket parts available for lawn and garden equipment - especially for major brands such as Craftsman, Husqvarna, Toro, MTD, Honda, Briggs & Stratton, Tecumseh, and Kohler.
Aftermarket parts can be considerably less expensive than the Original Equipment Manufacturer's (OEM) part. Search a part number and major online shopping sites can give you tons of options at different price points. But should you buy them? The short answer is...it depends.
Stens, Oregon and Rotary
There are three major brands of aftermarket parts in our industry. Stens, Oregon Power Products, and Rotary Corporation's parts meet or exceed OEM standards.
In some cases, these companies make parts in their factories that are shipped to both aftermarket and OEM distributors. They get branded or packaged accordingly but they are the same part. Other times, there may be minor alterations such as colour, but the materials and components show no visible difference.
At roughly 1/2 to 3/4 the price of the OEM version, with no important differences in their quality or function, these parts can be very good value. So if you find an Oregon, Stens, or Rotary option is available, rest assured you are getting a quality part.
A search of common replacement parts such as filters, blades, and belts returns all kinds of random brands on major online retailers. With fantastic prices, bundles, and deals, the wait for a part to ship from overseas may appear to be a good option. But not all aftermarket parts are created equal.
In the repair shop, we've actually had very little connection with no-name parts over the years. We deal with major distributors who sell Oregon, Stens, and Rotary aftermarket parts. When our mechanics are taking out an old dirty air filter, replacing a belt or a broken part, they're not looking too hard at the brand of the old part.
So we ordered a few of these great deals off the internet. In our very unscientific study, we found three things: the quality was visibly different, the part actually didn't fit, or there were no visible differences. Our unscientific conclusion? It's a crap shoot.
Fakes and Counterfeits
A recent Marketplace study by CBC found all kinds of fakes and counterfeits in a wide variety of products purchased from AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Wish.
CBC concluded "More than half of the products Marketplace received were suspected or confirmed counterfeits, with knockoffs found on every platform." They did not purchase any lawn and garden equipment parts; however, it is possible this also affects our industry.
So aftermarket or OEM? Your equipment manufacturer is going to tell you to only use OEM parts in your equipment. Your mechanic or dealer will likely tell you a quality aftermarket part is good value for your dollar. If you decide to go no-name, check out what consumers are saying online. Search the aftermarket parts brand name for information about their reputation. And remember if the price is too good to be true, that deal might not be the best option.
We Can Help
Still not sure? Contact us for assistance. With more than 10 years buying, selling, and using OEM and aftermarket parts in lawn and garden equipment, we can steer you in the right direction. And rest assured, if we're selling it on our website, it's an real OEM part purchased from a reputable distributor or an aftermarket part with no discernible difference in quality.
DR Mower, www.drmower.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-877-531-2873