What's The Difference Between OEM GM And Aftermarket Headlights?

Do you have a broken headlight or taillight on your vehicle? Before buying a replacement, you need to decide between two options:

  1. Buy an OEM replacement unit
  2. Buy an aftermarket replacement unit

If you’re wondering which option offers the most value, you came to the right place. We spent some time comparing OEM headlights to aftermarket units. We can confidently say that OEM headlights offer a lot more value than aftermarket headlights. Here’s why:

1. GM Builds Its Headlights With High Quality Materials

When it comes to headlights, quality makes a huge difference. A set of headlights made of high quality materials will:

  • Provide more visibility
  • Last longer
  • Have far fewer electrical issues

A set of headlights made with low quality materials won't provide as much visibility. They may also run into electrical issues and fail early.

Quality is guaranteed with genuine OEM GM headlights. GM makes a point to build all its headlights with high quality materials, including:

  • Thick headlight replacement lens
  • Optimal lens pattern that provides more visibility
  • Long-lasting headlight replacement bulbs
  • High quality GM headlight housing
  • High quality seals
  • Electrical components that are compatible with the vehicle's electrical system

You'd have a hard time finding a set of aftermarket headlights with quality materials. It's common for aftermarket manufacturers to cut corners by using low quality materials. It's a big reason why aftermarket headlights are a lot cheaper than OEM components. If you're driving with a set of cheap aftermarket headlights, expect to run into issues sooner or later. Your aftermarket headlights may not provide enough visibility. Also, they may fail early on.

2. OEM GM Headlights Always Fit Perfectly

OEM headlights are engineered for your model. If you get the right part number for your GM model, your OEM headlights will be a direct replacement. The dimensions will always be correct, which makes installation easy. They'll also work great because there won't be any fitment issues.

Aftermarket headlights rarely exactly meet OE dimensions. That's why installation and performance issues are common with aftermarket headlights. Every component has to have the right dimensions, down to the wiring, connectors, and bulbs. Even if one component doesn't have the right dimensions, you'll run into issues. For example, headlights with housings that are not the right size won't seal correctly. This leads to water contamination.

Headlights are a complex electrical part. Fitment is very important, and you can't go wrong with OEM headlights.

3. All OEM Headlights Undergo Rigorous Testing

Image Credit: ws6_guy

GM takes quality very seriously. Every set of OEM headlights undergoes rigorous electrical and mechanical testing that includes:

  • Brightness
  • Aim
  • Lumens
  • Weatherability
  • Solar load
  • Accelerated life
  • Appearance

All OEM headlights must pass over 65 headlight and vehicle level specifications. GM takes care to follow its own internal standards and federal laws. When you order a genuine OEM headlight, you're getting a quality part that has been tested.

We doubt that aftermarket companies test their headlights as much as GM does, or even at all.

4. GM Warranties Its Headlights (And Other Parts)

All genuine OEM GM parts are backed by GM's 24 Month/Unlimited Mile Limited Warranty. OEM headlights rarely fail so soon after installation. Yet, if it ever happens to you, GM will replace it for free.

Aftermarket companies don't usually warranty their parts. So if your aftermarket headlights fail, you'll have no choice but to buy a whole new set.

OEM Headlights Don’t Have To Be Expensive

GM headlights parts

Many GM vehicle owners buy aftermarket headlights, despite all the drawbacks that come with them. It's because OEM headlights can be expensive. "Can be" is the operative word here. If you buy a set of OEM headlights at a GM dealership, expect to pay a lot of money. It's because dealerships mark up their prices by about 30%.

Here's a secret, though. You can buy genuine OEM headlights from us at rock bottom prices. We're an authorized dealer of GM parts, and we offer the lowest transactional prices you'd find online. We have a large catalog of OEM headlights for a variety of GM models. Check it out here!

This Comparison Guide Also Applies To Other Vehicle Lighting Fixtures

OEM headlights aren’t the only lighting fixture that offers more value than aftermarket units. This comparison guide applies to all the other lighting fixtures on your vehicle, too. That includes:

  • Tail lights
  • Interior lights (dome light, for example)
  • Turn signal lights
  • Fog lights
  • High mount lamps
  • More

You can find all these parts on our website. All the parts we carry are genuine OEM GM parts that:

  • Are built with high quality materials
  • Will fit your vehicle perfectly
  • Are warrantied by GM

If you need help finding the right part number(s) for your GM vehicle, we're the people to talk to. Contact us here, and we'll get back to you ASAP.