Many people love their cars, and enthusiasts often want to make their cars the baddest, best or the fastest cars that they can afford. That's where after market auto parts come in. "After market" or "aftermarket" simply means that the product being installed onto or into the car is made by a company other than the original manufacturer of the vehicle. Any part made by the original manufacturer is considered OEM, or original equipment manufacturer. Most performance parts are manufactured by aftermarket companies due to their ability to specialize in particular field.
When buying a new automobile from a dealership, factory options are referred to as "stock options" or "stock" for short. The wheels, engine, transmission and all performance parts are stock, including the lighting and interior. Sometimes, the dealership offers upgrades, such as a better speaker system, but even these are stock options, and commonly limited. Many people elect to further modify their vehicles after purchasing them, to make them truly unique.
Many of the modifications made to one's car are made using after market auto parts. The parts range anywhere from air intake kits to car graphics kits and chrome rims. They can sometimes be installed by the car's owner with minimal or no knowledge about automobiles, but other parts will require professional installation. Car owners should seek out knowledgeable advice in order to make an educated decision before buying an aftermarket product.
In many instances, using after market auto parts on a vehicle may void the car's warranty, if it has one. Owners should, therefore, be sure to check their automobile's manufacturer warranty before electing to make aftermarket changes. Additionally, many of these parts are specifically designed to fit only certain model cars and certain years of that model. Before ordering a part, the consumer should be certain it matches his vehicle's make, model, and year.
Perhaps even more important is compatibility with the law. Many aftermarket parts are not illegal to sell, but when installed in an automobile, they may violate local laws and regulations. For instance, the amount of window tinting a person can legally have on his car varies by location, as well do emissions laws and taillight and headlight colors and brightness levels. Just because a part is being sold, that doesn't mean it is legal to install in an automobile.