Brand-named vs/ generic auto parts: is there a difference?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

Please settle a bet! I just bought a Ford Explorer and so has my neighbor. We have our oil changed at the same place, and agree on the type of oil as well as the 3,000 miles between changes. We disagree on the filter. He uses their filter, which I think is a cheapo generic filter. I bring them a Motorcraft filter. They knock off three bucks, which is what the filter costs me. I say a better filter equals better protection. My neighbor says I just like to argue. Who's right?

RAY: Well, Gregg, you may both be right. The right filter is important AND you may just like to argue. How can we tell? We don't know you that well.

TOM: The important thing is that you use an OEM rated filter. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, which means it meets or exceeds the specifications of the car's original equipment. And if the oil change place uses an OEM filter, then that's fine.

RAY: If you're not sure they use OEM rated parts, or they say they do but you don't trust them, then you ARE better off bringing them your own OEM filter.

TOM: What I'd do is go back to this oil change place and ask them to show you the filter they use. If it says "canned peas" on the outside, it's probably not OEM. But if somewhere on the filter or the filter box it says "meets or exceeds OEM specifications," then your friend wins the bet. But don't let it get you down, Gregg, there will be plenty of other things to argue about.

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