What Does OEM Mean?


If you have nice things, you know that sometimes, they break. You may have a cell phone part that does not work anymore, or something in your car that needs to be replaced.

When you look for parts to replace them with, however, you can have plenty of choices. When something is complex, such as a washing machine, you definitely only need to place specific parts instead of the whole machine.

Not only is that much cheaper, but it is easier and better for the environment as well. However, almost every brand in any given field will have replacement parts.

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How do you know which one is the one that you should buy? In addition, should you listen to the repairman’s advice? Or are they just trying to sell you the most expensive thing, and earn a larger commission? What is an OEM part?

What you should know about replacement is that it really depends on what you are replacing, and even the brand that you are using.

There are times when the best thing to do is to buy the same brand, but there are other times when the “store brand” – or the generic part – will do just as well. Which is the OEM part and which is not? Does it matter?

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OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer

An original equipment manufacturer is a type of company. They are the ones that make a certain part, regardless of the brand that is put on the outside of the product. For example, let’s say that you are looking to improve your engine in your car.

You have a Toyota Camry, and want to find a part that is compatible with it. You may look for other parts that are Toyota, and that should work as long as you find the right model number.

However, it is possible that you can look for parts from another brand and have them work just find! This is because complex machines, such as cars, have parts that are made by hundreds of different companies.

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When they are assembled, all of those parts are put together and all sold under the brand of Toyota. Toyota then becomes the value added reseller, because they increase the overall value of the part by adding it to a completed machine.

The thing is, though, that many (if not most) of the parts were made by someone else. Another manufacturer built them, and Toyota just collected them and made the car with it.

Therefore, you should be able to find parts that fit – even if they are not from that particular brand.

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This is not so important for you to understand if you hire someone to repair something for you. If they are a professional, they should have enough experience to know how to deal with it.

If you are looking for a particular part, they can find it for you. However, if you try to do the repair yourself, this can be very useful.

For many things, the brand name and the generic versions of it are roughly equal in quality. But, they can have a huge price difference. If you know what to look for, you can save a good amount of money!

Example Sentences

  • If you go online and do some research yourself, you can look for parts by the OEM that can save you a lot of money for your repair.
  • Ask your repairman about getting an OEM part if they want to buy a replacement for you; it could be the same thing for a lot less money.

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Notes on Usage

There are some instances in which the original equipment manufacturer refers to the company that buys the completed part and adds it to a completed thing to sell it.

This is typically referred to as the value added reseller, but in certain contexts may be called the original equipment manufacturer. In the electronics and computer market, however, the OEM sometimes is the end seller of the product.

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Either way, you should be able to look at the term in context and determine which meaning it is. If you are looking for a replacement part for something, like your desktop monitor, you can refer to a professional to guide you.

The term OEM is commonly used in stores that sell individual parts for things, and you can find it there. If someone is not familiar with DIY (do it yourself) work, though, even native speakers may be unfamiliar with the term.

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