Many car owners opt for genuine or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts when buying replacement parts. These components offer identical performance to factory components, but they're often more expensive. In addition, since these parts act as direct replacements, they can't improve any deficiencies that might have existed from the factory.
On the other hand, aftermarket auto parts are far more varied. Many manufacturers produce a range of components, from budget-oriented replacements to high-performance upgrades. If you need to replace something on your car, then an aftermarket alternative might be a great way to improve your ride. Below you'll find just three examples of parts that might give your car a little boost.
1. Air Filters
Your engine needs to breathe just as much as you do, but particles of nearly any size can be a significant problem if they enter into the combustion chamber. Your air filter keeps foreign material from finding its way into your engine, but it can also restrict airflow. Automakers choose stock air filters that offer a compromise between performance, reliability, and maintenance, but you can potentially do better.
Aftermarket air filters can improve engine horsepower by allowing a greater air volume into the combustion chamber. Since air is often a limiting factor for power generation, less restrictive airflow can translate to better engine performance. You might not see huge gains, but this is one relatively cheap aftermarket upgrade that can pay off.
High output alternators can help if your vehicle experiences a higher power draw from other aftermarket accessories. Typical accessories that can drain your battery including high-power lighting upgrades and powerful audio systems.
Although you may not be in a rush to ditch a healthy alternator for an upgraded version, they're worth considering if your factory unit fails. Switching to a high-output model can prepare your vehicle for any other upgrades you may make in the future.
Your brakes are another great place to consider aftermarket upgrades. Aftermarket manufacturers produce painted calipers for many vehicles, offering the ability to give your car an upscale, high-performance appearance. Slotted or drilled rotors are another excellent way to add a touch of racing flair to your vehicle.
More practical upgrades are available for your brakes, as well. For example, switching to higher-performance ceramic brake pads can reduce brake dust, improve stopping power, and even lead to less frequent brake pad changes. Upgraded flexible brake hoses are another option to improve brake feel and reliability for a relatively low cost.
The world of aftermarket parts offers nearly endless possibilities to improve your car's appearance, performance, or functionality. Although these three options are a great place to start, there's plenty more to explore if you're looking to customize and upgrade your ride.