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Aftermarket Parts: Why It’s Important to Follow OEM Guidelines

Are you aware of how aftermarket parts impact the manufacturing world? Read more about their role and why it’s still crucial to follow OEM guidelines.

Aftermarket Parts: Why It's Important to Follow OEM Guidelines - KB Delta

Compressors have always been highly essential tools used across several industries. Reciprocating processors – also called ‘piston compressors’ – are mostly used in moving gas at increased pressure. The major elements of the reciprocating compressor are one – or more – cylinders and pistons that move within the cylinders, just like an internal combustion engine.

However, just like any machine, compressor parts can suddenly fail. Bearings, piston rings, rod seal rings, valve components, oil wiper rings, crossheads, cylinders, etc., can start misbehaving and stop working effectively. It will be up to the organization to fix this damaged mechanical device.

When it comes to repairing reciprocating compressors like Ariel, Cooper, Ingersoll Rand, Joy, Worthington Buffalo, Gardner Denver, etc., the use of OEM parts and aftermarket parts has become highly debatable.

Should technicians stick to following OEM guidelines and only use OEM parts when fixing faulty reciprocating compressors or opt for lower-cost but high-quality aftermarket parts? This is what you will find out in this article.


The Importance of Adhering to OEM Specifications

Manufacturers suddenly found themselves in a difficult situation when it was mandated that technicians should only use OEM parts for repairs. It became apparent that they would have to provide all the necessary information for each component, even though some were not really on board with doing so.

The decision was also based on a repair technician’s ability to find and understand the information. It is vitally essential for every technician that will be making a repair to understand what it means – and requires – to fix a reciprocating compressor. This is the primary reason for setting up the repair standards and OEM guidelines.

Adhering strictly to OEM guidelines should be any repair shop’s #1 rule when fixing damaged reciprocating compressors. But then, it is not always as simple as it seems. It is not always easy to figure out vital information since every OEM has specific service information in different formats.

This makes it difficult for technicians to access the information they need before fixing a reciprocating compressor. Therefore, it is very important to look at what the OEM wants and then make repair decisions based on that information.


The Differences Between OEM Parts and Aftermarket Parts

Let’s take a look at the differences between aftermarket parts and OEM parts:


  • Manufacturers

OEM parts are those components that a specific manufacturing company makes for its reciprocating compressor products. The parts – usually made for a single compressor make and model per time – are not made by third parties. They usually fit perfectly since the compressor maker backs them.

On the other hand, a third party usually manufactures aftermarket parts. In some cases, these parts may – or may not – fit in too perfectly since the manufacturer did not fabricate them. Therefore it is essential to choose a high quality aftermartket manufacturer.


  • Performance

Aftermarket parts – such as valve rings, valve assemblies, gaskets, o-rings, etc. – are usually produced in high volumes. They are usually created according to the specifications of different types of reciprocating compressors. In most cases, they bear great similarities with OEM parts, especially in terms of quality and perfect fitting.

In other words, in most cases, aftermarket parts work as well as OEM parts when utilized for replacement purposes.


  • Price

Some technicians will only use OEM parts on reciprocating compressors when servicing the compressor. But then, these parts tend to cost a lot of money due to characteristic dealer markup.

However, when you go for high quality aftermarket parts, you won’t experience any difference and in some cases, the parts are better than the OEM. This is because some aftermarket manufacturer parts are sold to makers of reciprocating compressors by third parties.

This means that you can buy and use aftermarket parts with zero maker’s markup and have no mechanical issues in any way. This is why aftermarket parts like head gaskets, compressor valves, air filter assembly, valve plates, gaskets, etc., are very affordable because they are less expensive.


OEM Parts vs. Aftermarket Parts: Which Do You Prefer?

When presented with these options, some users think or believe that OEM parts are much better since they are made by or come from the compressor’s manufacturer.

But what most of these compressor owners fail to understand is that using OEM parts does not really matter. Therefore, going for OEM parts will not necessarily enhance its resale value or safety. It will only dent your wallet because they are pretty expensive.

On the other hand, some compressor owners do not really care whether repair technicians use OEM parts or aftermarket parts to fix their reciprocating compressors. They are usually most concerned about getting their reciprocating compressors fixed as soon as possible so they can resume operations.

This is where aftermarket parts come in handy. Using them is much more cost-effective and appeals to many compressor owners who want to repair their machines as soon as possible.

Everything boils down to an organization’s preference. If they prefer using parts designed or made specifically for the brand of reciprocating compressors they use and money’s no object, then, by all means, go for OEM parts.

But if you are not all that picky about brands and you want to save as much money as you can, you should go for high-quality, low-cost aftermarket parts. They will work as effectively as OEM parts, and you won’t even notice any significant difference.



OEM parts are often pricey and may set you back a few bucks. This is where aftermarket parts come in.

Third-party companies often fabricate aftermarket parts. High quality aftermarket parts are as good as OEM parts because they are manufactured according to the specifications for most reciprocating processors.

Aftermarket parts also tend to fit in perfectly when used to replace any original component on a reciprocating compressor. This makes them as good as OEM parts and preferable by most users of reciprocating compressors.

Moreover, the prices for aftermarket parts are pocket-friendly. But then, it is really up to you to decide whether to use OEM parts or aftermarket parts to fix your reciprocating compressor.


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