Are OEM Toyota Oxygen Sensors Better Than Aftermarket?

When shopping for a replacement car part, people often consider three important factors: cost, quality, and fitment. If you’re looking for a replacement oxygen sensor for your Toyota and you want the best in all three departments, go with OEM.

  • OEM (original equipment manufacturer) oxygen sensors are produced by the same company that made the parts already in your car. Replacing your broken oxygen sensor with an OEM replacement is basically like cloning it. The design, materials, connections, etc. are exactly the same.
  • Aftermarket oxygen sensors are produced by private companies that design their own parts. They determine every factor that goes into the part, including quality, materials, and connectors. Most aftermarket parts are produced with below-average quality materials and designed with a generic fit.

When it comes to oxygen sensors (or any sensor in your car), OEM is always the best choice because:

1. You Know Exactly What You’re Getting With an OEM Oxygen Sensor

Celica o2 sensor

Image Credit: theymightberacing

A few aftermarket companies go above and beyond and offer premium parts. But the majority of aftermarket companies do the bare minimum and offer generic parts made of subpar quality materials. This means many aftermarket oxygen sensors are “universal” fit. Many car owners have to do extra wiring work and/or buy extra connectors to ensure compatibility with their car.

OEM oxygen sensors are specifically designed to work optimally with your Toyota’s ECU. Precise operating characteristics and compatibility are important to Toyota. So they’ve designed and built many different variations of their oxygen sensor. Each one programmed to work with a certain Toyota engine. Installation is easy because Toyota oxygen sensors will have the exact connector you need for your vehicle.

It’s true that you may find an aftermarket oxygen sensor that’s advertised as better than OEM. There’s still no guarantee that it’ll outperform an OEM oxygen sensor when it comes to working with your ECU and withstanding the continuous exposure to hot exhaust.

2. It’s Really Easy to Find the Right OEM Oxygen Sensor for Your Car

Toyota o2 sensors

Toyota assigns a part number to every part they make. Even each variation of the oxygen sensor has its own part number. They do this to make it easy for Toyota owners to find the right replacement parts for their car. You just have to put your Toyota's year and model in an authorized parts search engine, such as this one. You’ll get a list of all the oxygen sensors specifically designed for your car. It couldn’t get any easier than this.

Finding the right aftermarket part for your car can be quite exhausting and time-consuming. First, you have to conduct extensive research on all the aftermarket brands that offer oxygen sensors to find the best brands. Next, you have to take the time to browse their oxygen sensors and find one that will perform best with your car. You also have to research each brand’s warranty policy (if there’s even one), read online reviews, and more. It’s a big task for a small part that might not even function as well as its OEM counterpart.

3. OEM Oxygen Sensors are Cheaper in the Long Run

If you check the forums across the web, you’ll see many comments by car owners on how aftermarket oxygen sensors fail sooner than OEM oxygen sensors. Even if your OEM sensor fails early, you’ll be able to replace it under warranty, as all OEM Toyota parts come with a 12-month, unlimited mile warranty.

Aftermarket parts are usually not covered by a warranty. If an aftermarket oxygen sensor fails prematurely, you have no choice but to buy a new one. The costs can add up over time.

All in all, OEM is a safer bet than aftermarket when it comes to oxygen sensors. Find the right OEM oxygen sensor for your Toyota year model by doing a search here.

Written by Jason Lancaster