If you own a BMW chances are you have scoured the internet searching for great deals on BMW parts and accessories. Who can blame you? BMW’s are infamous for their great handling, but with great handling comes the associated wear and tear of the suspension and steering parts (ie BMW control arms and thrust arms). When these parts begin to wear, its not surprising when you get an outrageous quote from a dealership for hundreds, if not several thousands of dollars to replace these steering and suspension parts. I’m just using BMW control arms as an example, but its across the board for any European cars such as Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, and Volkswagen.

You have now made a decision to do your own due diligence and attempt to source the parts outside of a dealership to save you a little bit of money. You will quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of company’s brands and products to choose from and may be confused by the jargon used in the aftermarket and OEM parts industry. Terms such as genuine, aftermarket, OEM, OES, and OEA. I will end all of this confusion right here and right now.

– Genuine BMW Parts: Genuine BMW parts come in Genuine BMW packaging. Plain and simple. If its not in a Genuine BMW box, or has a BMW stamp on it, it is not considered a Genuine BMW Part. Keep in mind BMW does not actually manufacture these parts, they are subcontracted to companies that manufacture the specific product. The company that manufactures the particular part for BMW is called the Original Equipment Manufacturer.

– OEM BMW Parts: OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. It is essentially the same product as a Genuine BMW Part, however the manufacturer has sold the product in their own packaging instead of sending it directly to BMW to be packaged under the BMW name.

– OEA/ OES BMW Parts: Stands for either Original Equipment Aftermarket or Original equipment supplier. A company may manufacture genuine parts for Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes, or other car maker, but if they have never manufactured a part for BMW, they will never be considered a genuine BMW part or OEM BMW part.

– Aftermarket BMW Part: An aftermarket BMW part is manufactured by a company that has never been contracted by a major car maker to be their Original Equipment manufacturer. Although the company has never been contracted by a major auto maker, the parts are made to fit and perform as well as the OEM since they are generally produced with the same materials and machinery.

Our purpose here is not to be deceitful. As you move down the chain, the instances of coming across a BMW part that is inferior in quality will increase. Now that you are an educated consumer you can use this information along with checking the warranty policy and credentials of the company to make the best decision along the way.