OEM Vs. Aftermarket Door Handles: Which is Better?

Whether you have a peeling door handle or a broken door handle, you’re probably looking for a replacement part. This guide will help you determine whether to get an OEM or aftermarket replacement door handle.

In this guide, we’ll explore all the important factors to consider when looking for a replacement door handle. We’ll also compare OEM to aftermarket door handles to see how they fare when it comes to each factor.

What is OEM?

GM handle oem door

OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer”. GM either builds its own parts or hires a reputable manufacturer to build their parts. So all of the parts that came with your car right off the assembly line are OEM parts.

GM also offers OEM replacement parts. That way, you can replace any of the broken parts with an exact replica. For example, an OEM door handle is identical to the door handles already on your car.

What is Aftermarket?

The aftermarket is the secondary market for auto parts. Aftermarket parts are designed and manufactured by third party companies not affiliated with GM. Their parts are not direct replacements and they’re not sourced from GM. Some car owners use aftermarket parts to:

  • Save money (as aftermarket parts typically cost a little less upfront, but you actually probably won’t save money in the long run because of the reasons listed below)
  • Change up the appearance of their cars (in the case of door handles, you would have to replace all four handles on your car to make sure that they match)
  • “Build” their cars (common in performance cars and also trucks)

The following factors are significant in determining which type of door handle works best for your car. Let’s explore each one:

1. Quality

A big reason why aftermarket door handles are inexpensive is because they’re built with low-grade materials. Aftermarket door handles may not be designed well, either. This means you’ll be likely to run into issues with an aftermarket door handle sooner than expected.

GM makes sure that its OEM door handles are built with the highest quality materials that can withstand heavy daily use.

When it comes to a part that’s used often like the door handle, quality matters a lot. You want a door handle assembly with sturdy, high-quality inner components and a well-built handle. OEM fits the bill.

2. Fitment

replace handle

Image Credit: 2CarPros

Because OEM door handles are designed and built by the same manufacturer that built the original parts on your car, OEM door handles are built to OEM specs. That guarantees perfect fitment and smooth functionality without the need to alter anything inside your car door.

Aftermarket companies rarely design their door handles just for your GM model. Aftermarket door handles commonly come with a universal design for the internal components. That means an aftermarket handle may not fit your car door that well, and it may not “sync up” well with the rest of the components.

3. Warranty

GM offers a 24-month unlimited mile warranty on all of its genuine OEM replacement parts. So in the off chance that your OEM replacement door handle breaks or malfunctions within 2 years of installation, you’ll get it replaced for free.

You can’t say the same about aftermarket door handles. Another reason aftermarket parts are so cheap is because they aren’t usually backed by a warranty. That means you would have to cough up money for a replacement if the aftermarket door handle quits working.

How to Get the Most Value Out of an OEM Door Handle

If you’ve determined that OEM is the better choice for you, then we’d like to recommend the OEM GM door handles we sell on our site. They’re not only the real deal, but they’re also available at discounted prices. Check ‘em out and see if we have some for your GM model!