Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Mike asks: I’ve got a cracked (plastic) headlight that won’t pass state safety inspection in my state. The dealer wants an obnoxious sum (more than $300) for a factory replacement. So I looked around online and found what look like the same thing for less than half as much but they are not the “factory” part. Do you have any advice? Am I dumb to even think about buying the non-factory part?
My reply: I’ve personally had good experiences – plural – with aftermarket replacement parts, including headlights (for my ’02 Nissan). The fit/finish of the driver’s side headlight assembly – aftermarket – seems to be identical to the factory Nissan piece on the passenger side. After five years in service, I’ve not noticed any marked deterioration with the aftermarket part, other than the usual yellowing of the plastic – which I correct by buffing it out with rubbing compound (I have to do the same with the factory piece; they all yellow over time).
So I’d say it’s worth the risk – for the certain savings.
Sometimes, you get an aftermarket part that’s clearly not quite right. It doesn’t fit as well as the factory piece or it’s not as well-made. But – knock on wood – so far, so good. Hopefully it will be the same for you, too!
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