What Does OEM Mean for Car and Truck Parts

When looking for car or truck parts or accessories I’m sure you have come across the acronym "OEM". If you are like 90% of people you aren't quite sure what that means. In the automotive realm OEM stands for "Original Equipment Manufacturer". Well that doesn't really clear anything up. So what does Original Equipment Manufacturer really mean?

OEM parts are assembled and installed during the manufacturing of the vehicle. They can be made by either the vehicle manufacturer or a subcontractor. For example, if General Motors uses Die Hard Batteries and Fram Filters while building their vehicles those would be the OEM battery and filters. Any other brand of part that can be used in the car or truck would not be considered OEM and would be classified as an aftermarket part.

Something to think about when you are looking at buying auto parts is the term OEM does not make the part better than other aftermarket parts, it just makes it "the same as" the original installed part. Many aftermarket parts are of a higher quality than the original part. It does not benefit the aftermarket manufacturer to produce a product that is of inferior quality compared to the OEM part. There would not be many people who would want to downgrade their vehicle. That means that there are a few very low quality aftermarket manufacturers. Now I am not saying that all aftermarket parts are created equal. There are varying degrees of quality in the aftermarket industry.

You will see aftermarket parts described as “OEM quality” or “OEM Look”. This simply means that the parts will look natural on the vehicle and not give it an “aftermarket look”. You will see that with things like mud guards, bug deflectors etc. Things like ladder racks, tool boxes, light bars etc will not be described as OEM since these are not standard features on a vehicle.

Knowing what OEM means will help you when purchasing these Ford Logo Step Bar Fillers. They are designed to work specifically with Ford OEM Step Bars


As the automotive market evolves vehicle manufactures are starting to offer more accessories to come standard on the vehicles, such as step bars. That brand would be considered OEM.

I hope this helps clears up the term OEM for you and helps you be a more informed customer so you can buy the product that fits your need.

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