Car Part Terminology

Common Terms You Should Know

OE / OEM – An Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part will replace the original part that came on the vehicle with an exact replica. These parts are generally sold at / by dealerships only.

Aftermarket – Aftermarket auto parts are made to the same specifications as OEM parts, but most likely by a different company than the original manufacturer.

Remanufactured – An auto part that is restored / rebuilt to original specifications.

Core Charge – A core charge is an additional fee applied when you purchase an auto part. The core charge is reimbursed when the old and worn out part is returned to the store. This is very common on brake calipers, car batteries, alternators, and starters, because the old parts can be recycled and rebuilt into remanufactured parts.

New Part – New parts are unused with zero miles. Warranties will vary depending on the seller and type of part.

Used Part – Used parts have been used for some time and length on another vehicle. Cars in salvage yards often have hundreds of cars with functional parts still on them. These parts are sold at a discount compared to new auto parts. They often come with a shorter warranty than a new part would, though it depends on the seller and the kind of part.

Interchange Part Numbers – Interchange Part Numbers are numbers that can identify similar products under different brands. For example, say a wheel bearing is OEM part #5555, which relates to interchange part #12345. The TRQ wheel bearing part #7777 also relates to interchange part #12345. This means that OEM part #5555 is likely the same part as TRQ part #7777, but just a different brand. You can use these interchange numbers while searching to cast a wider net for parts.

VIN Number – Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a set of 17 characters, located on the driver's side front where the dashboard meets the bottom of the windshield. It can also be typically found on a sticker located on the driver's side doorframe. It will have a combination of numbers and letters. The letters I, O, and Q are always absent from VINs.


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