A LUK replacement clutch kit. In many cases the original part supplied by the agent in own-brand packaging contains the same parts at twice the price.
A LUK replacement clutch kit. In many cases the original part supplied by the agent in own-brand packaging contains the same parts at twice the price.

Aftermarket parts: The true situation

By Sagie Moodley Time of article published May 23, 2013

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Unless you’re a branded dealer then the term pirate parts is not politically correct. These days we call them aftermarket parts or replacement parts, but it’s just semantics. The use of pirate parts in the motor industry is common knowledge. The part itself is not necessarily inferior quality, only more affordable.

Take note I did not say cheap. If you are looking for cheap then stop reading now.

Pirate parts are often confused with cheap, but this is not always the case. When buying pirate parts you can usually determine the quality by the price. If the pirate part costs 10 percent of what the original part is, then beware. The normal price on a good quality pirate part is 50-70 percent of original.

Regularly, so-called pirate parts can be found as original equipment on many motor vehicles. If we consider clutches, there are many cars that use the so-called pirate LUK brand, Valeo, or Sachs kits.

So why do dealers claim that aftermarket spares are not as good as original parts?

Well, how else can they rip you off?

We often hear stories about people losing their warranties because the brakes on their cars were repaired at a non-franchised workshop. Brakes are a safety-critical item and, as such, there are no workshops out there worth their salt that are prepared to cut corners when it comes to the stopping capabilities of your vehicle.

ATE brake pads, for instance, are found on many vehicles as original equipment. The difference between the cost of the original in its packaging and that of the same brake pads in an ATE box, is unbelievable - in some instances almost double. For the exact same pads? Could someone please explain?


It’s a fallacy that when non-branded parts are used, your car becomes a death trap. The aftermarket-parts industry is thriving because original equipment is overpriced and overrated where quality is concerned.

The pricing of only service items on some makes of cars cannot be justified when the very same items can be purchased as pirate parts for half the price. If we take spark plugs for instance, the cost of an NGK plug in its original package is R25 a plug. The very same plug in a manufacturers’ box is R50 a plug.


A few years ago Mercedes Benz stopped their policy of discounting spares and set a fixed price on all their parts. Today some of the service items on older models are considrably cheaper than the pirate parts.

If Mercedes Benz can sell their spares cheaper than the aftermarket spares places why can’t the other manufacturers do the same? This just shows that if the branded franchises chose to treat their clients as people rather than idiots, many people would still be servicing their cars with the branded dealers after warranties run out.

As long as the public is going to get ripped off we will find alternative spares to repair our vehicles. - Star Motoring

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