Tech Tips: Aftermarket vs. OEM Diesel Engine Rebuild Kits

The debate of aftermarket vs OEM debate is as old as the auto industry itself. You will get people on both sides of the fence trying to convince anyone why aftermarket is better or why OEM rebuild kits are the only way to go.

Detroit Diesel S60 14L Inframe KitGranted, aftermarket rebuild kits were once thought of as low quality, but that has changed in recent years. We say this from experience and not just rumors. Highway & Heavy Parts is committed to offering you only the best quality aftermarket or OEM rebuild kits. After all, we are only as good as the parts we sell.

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What are the main differences between OEM and Aftermarket Rebuild Kits?


One of the biggest and most apparent differences between OEM and aftermarket rebuild kits is the price. There is a reason why aftermarket auto parts are often cheaper. Unfortunately, some companies sacrifice quality to have lower prices and the customer is often left to pay the ultimate price later down the road.  

The good news is that OEM manufacturers are starting to slowly but sure lower their prices, and that applies to rebuild kits as well. Some think that by going with an OEM brand you simply get bragging rights. There are small, yet critical differences that an OEM rebuild kit will give you over aftermarket ones. 

To some, the price is the most important and a deciding factor on whether they get that specific rebuild kit versus its competition. Remember that a smaller upfront investment now may pay off tenfold in the future (although that may not always be the case).


Price is one thing, but the main advantage of going with an OEM vs an aftermarket rebuild kit is the warranty. OEM parts manufacturers will often provide with you a superior warranty on their kits. You should have to take a product in for warranty work. When and if it does, it is good to know that your parts will be covered by some sort of warranty or guarantee. As a general rule of thumb, an OEM manufacturer's warranty will be anywhere from 6-12 months. 

Highway & Heavy Parts does offer a 2-Year Parts and Labor Warranty on most kits that are installed by our qualified technicians. So even if certain aftermarket kits do not come with a warranty, our company is going to go above and beyond to make sure you get many more, trouble-free miles from your diesel engine. 


We touched on this subject at the beginning, but it is such a crucial detail that it deserves its very own section. Quality has always been a factor that OEM parts took came out victorious on. The good news is that demand for higher quality aftermarket parts has made non-OEM manufacturers pay attention to both craftsmanship and quality. 

Gaps between aftermarket and OEM manufacturers are getting ever tighter, allowing you, the consumer to get the best bang for your buck. Sadly, that is not always the case and certain cheap parts leave you feeling ripped off. 

Highway & Heavy Parts sources only the best possible parts available when it comes to rebuilding your diesel engine. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Since we are just suppliers and not the actual manufacturer of parts, we cannot guarantee that some aftermarket parts will last as long as their OEM counterparts. 

For further confirmation that you are getting your money’s worth, forums and customer reviews are as good as gold. A manufacturer can always “fluff” their claims to hopefully gain an extra customer. Independent reviews are critical to helping make sure you are getting a high-quality replacement. If that is not enough, ask our staff. We are dedicated to helping every one of our clients, even if you don’t get the parts installed by us. An honest opinion about a diesel engine rebuild kit doesn’t cost us anything. 

Included Parts

Not all rebuild kits are made the same. Certain manufacturers will have varying quality, but the overall entirety of the kit also differs. It all boils down to how thorough you want the engine rebuild to be. 

Just because some OEM kits cost more, one would think they would physically consist of additional parts. That is sadly not always the case. An increased price can be the only difference between aftermarket kits and OEM ones. Have a look for yourself and compare the prices between OEM and non-OEM engine rebuild kits here

Rebuilding your diesel engine is a big job. Getting a kit that will include as much as possible is extremely important. Replacing components that have not 100% failed yet may be a good idea while the engine is apart. Take a few minutes and understand the difference between frame-on and frame-off engine rebuild. Check it out here!

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Final Words

Highway & Heavy Parts has a variety of complete kits or individual parts to help get you back on the road in no time. From Detroit, Cummins, and Caterpillar, we got you covered!

When it comes to rebuild kits, price does make a difference. The quality gap between OEM and aftermarket parts is getting increasingly smaller. While some kits are still best purchased directly from the manufacturer, others can provide the same(if not better) quality from a reputable aftermarket company. Check with our ASE-certified staff today to find the option that is right for you. 

Do you have any diesel engine rebuild kit questions? We would be more than happy to help assist you. Give us a call at 1-844-985-3408 or request a quote online today!

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