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Repair Parts : OEM vs. Generic Brand Parts

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The price of replacement parts should not be the only factor in determining the part that you purchase. The quality of replacements can vary depending on whom made them.

OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. Parts that are supplied by the same manufacturer that made the appliance are said to be OEM replacements. I advise that whenever possible, always first look for genuine factory repair parts.

Over time, design and material flaws can become apparent and modified versions made available to alleviate any potential premature failures. The appliance manufacturer will be in the best position to track the failure rates and determine if changes in a part's design or material are necessary.

Even items such as washer belts usually have specific design requirements that must be met in order to provide a satisfactory life span or allow the machine to work at all. Gone is the day when you could install a plain rubber automotive belt on a clothes washer and have the machine function properly afterward.

Using an aftermarket or universal replacement part will likely void any warranties that may be left on the appliance. Products like washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers often have an extended limited warranty on some of their components. Installing any unauthorized replacement part could effect the warranty of other components that may still be covered.

Should an original replacement part be discontinued by the manufacturer, that is the time to look for an aftermarket or universal replacement part.


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