There are a lot of words and terms used in the automotive industry. One common term and its close partner is ‘OE’ and ‘OEM’. The first stands for ‘Original Equipment’ and the second ‘Original Equipment Manufacturer’, but what’s the difference? Frank’s Servicenter is here to educate you, so you know how to deal with car parts and replacements.
The control arm bushings of this Dodge Avenger are starting to crack, they may be OE.
What Does Original Equipment (OE) Mean?
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Let’s think about OE first. Original Equipment is a term used to describe the very first car parts assembled on a vehicle at the factory. So if you have a mid- to high-mileage car and your mechanic tells you your car part is ‘Original Equipment’ it means it hasn’t been replaced since the car was first produced. This can be common on suspension components like shocks or struts that may last a long time or even a battery. The good news is when you hear that something is OE there’s a good bet you got your money’s worth out of it!
What Does Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Mean?
It may be confusing, but this term also describes car parts. The difference is that OEM only defines car parts that are used as replacements after the vehicle has already been driven. Original Equipment Manufacturer matters because it means the same company that made the car in the first place also made a replacement part. Normally OEM means good quality auto parts, because the same people made the part as the car.
These Subaru Legacy struts are OE, but still in good condition.
So, in the end, OE means parts on a car when it leaves the factory and OEM means car parts from the same company that can be used to replace old or worn items after the car’s been used.
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