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OEM Door Handles Vs. Aftermarket: What’s the Difference?

As a Toyota owner who’s looking for a replacement door handle, you might be wondering whether you should go with an OEM replacement door handle or an aftermarket handle.

We’ll go over each option and then discuss the key differences between both types of door handles.

What Does OEM Mean?

Black door handle

Image Credit: Pennesnatcher Inc

OEM stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturer”. It means that OEM parts are designed and built by the car manufacturer or a company hired by the manufacturer. OEM parts are installed in the car at the factory. An OEM replacement part is exactly the same as the broken part on your car.

What Does Aftermarket Mean?

Aftermarket essentially stands for “the market for spare parts and components for cars”. Basically, aftermarket parts are designed and built by third party companies not affiliated with the car manufacturer. Aftermarket parts aren’t exact replicas of OEM parts. Rather, aftermarket manufacturers come up with their own designs for their parts, and they decide the quality of the materials that go into their parts. Aftermarket manufacturers don’t need to follow the auto manufacturer’s requirements in terms of design and quality.

Many automobile industry experts agree that OEM parts are much superior to aftermarket parts. Here’s why:

1. Aftermarket Door Handles Don’t Always Fit or Function Well

Door handles are one of those parts that require superior workmanship. A door handle assembly contains a lot of small components that work together to keep your car locked and to help you enter and exit your car without any problems. Toyota diligently designed its OEM door handles to function optimally with the doors on their cars. In fact, each Toyota model has its own unique OEM door handle design.

Sometimes aftermarket door handles come with a universal design for the internal components. Others are designed for specific models. However, these designs don’t guarantee precise fitment. The only door handle design that will work optimally with your car is an OEM one made specifically for your year model.

When you have an ill-fitting door handle on your car, it won’t function well. It might fail to lock or unlock sometimes. Maybe you’ll have trouble entering and exiting your car.

2. OEM Door Handles Are Made With Better Quality Materials

New exterior handle

Since OEM parts are built to last, Toyota made sure that its door handles are built with high quality materials. Aftermarket door handles are typically built with cheap materials to help aftermarket manufacturers save a few bucks. Also, chances are that the components inside an aftermarket door handle assembly are cheaply built, as well.

An aftermarket door handle with subpar materials won’t last as long as an OEM door handle.

3. OEM Door Handles Come Under Warranty

Since aftermarket door handles typically don’t last as long as OEM door handles, you would think that they’re backed by a warranty. The truth is that aftermarket door handles – like all aftermarket parts – rarely come under warranty. It’s part of the reason why aftermarket door handles are pretty cheap.

Even though OEM Toyota door handles are built to last a long time, they’re still backed by Toyota’s comprehensive Parts Warranty. So you have the peace of mind that on the off chance that your OEM door handle malfunctions, you’ll get to have it replaced for free within a certain time frame.

How to Find an OEM Door Handle For Your Toyota

You don’t have to visit your Toyota dealer to buy an OEM replacement door handle. You would save so much time and money by ordering one online. At Olathe Toyota Parts Center, we sell genuine OEM Toyota parts at wholesale prices. Ordering an OEM door handle from us is as easy as 1, 2, 3…

  1. Visit our catalog of genuine OEM door handles.
  2. Perform a search on your Toyota year and model.
  3. Order the door handle assembly or sub-assembly.

Please contact us if you need assistance finding the right door handle assembly or sub-assembly for your Toyota.

Written by Jason Lancaster