What Is the Difference Between an Accessory and Aftermarket Parts?

I get this question a lot. A lot of customers refer to aftermarket parts as accessories and vice versa.
Accessory vs. Aftermarket Parts
I get this question a lot. A lot of customers refer to aftermarket parts as accessories and vice versa. In fact, people think that they are one and the same. No, they are not. You have to understand if you’re looking for any kind of product online or offline, the way you describe the product goes a long way into determining whether you will find that product or not.

Make no mistake about it. There are lots of shady online stores that would love to unload their crappy products on you. The moment you buy from them, they essentially disappear. Good luck getting a refund. So, do yourself a big favor and get your terminology on lockdown. Master your terminology and this increases the likelihood that you will find the right product that does the right things for the right job and you will be satisfied.

Does this mean that you will always save money? Absolutely not. But if you buy an aftermarket part that is based on original equipment manufacturer’s specifications, then you can rest assured that it will do the job right. In other words, you don’t have to worry about your car breaking apart. You don’t have to worry about the early death of your car. You don’t have to worry about any of that. On the other hand, if saving a buck is your primary concern then all bets are off as to how well those aftermarket parts perform.

Accessories, on the other hand, are custom designed products that are intended for special needs. In other words, they can be cosmetic in nature or they can perform a special function. What they all have in common is that they are not part of the original equipment manufacturer specifications of the car that they are supposed to go on. Know the difference. Otherwise, you will probably get ripped off time and time again until you get it right.

Accessories are great if there are no other existing OEM or aftermarket parts doing what an accessory does. Usually, these involve personalization or some sort of novelty appeal. Accessories are supposed to make your car look better. They are all about bringing something extra to how your car performs or looks to the outside world. They are not, by definition, necessities. It’s not like your car simply won’t work or perform as well as it could if not for the accessory. Keep this distinction in mind if you face the choice between accessories and OEM parts and aftermarket parts. You can’t use these terms interchangably. Otherwise, you might end up confusing yourself a lot. This increases the chances you might end up buying the wrong products for all the right reasons. The worst part? You only have yourself to blame for your bad choice. Make sure you bought from a place that has a solid returns or refund policies or you’re out of luck.

Read the fine print. Oftentimes, there are special provisions the store tries to hide which go a long way in making sure you have some sort of resort if things go south with your purchase.