OEM and Aftermarket Keys: Which To Choose?

Lost your car keys or need an extra set? Choosing between Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) keys and aftermarket keys can be confusing. OEM keys are made by the vehicle’s manufacturer, while aftermarket keys are produced by third parties. So, which option is best? Let’s explore the differences and factors that can influence your decision.

Price Comparison

Price is a major factor when deciding between OEM and aftermarket keys. OEM keys are more expensive as they come directly from the car manufacturer. On the other hand, aftermarket keys are usually cheaper as they’re made by independent companies with lower overhead costs compared to large auto manufacturers.

Quality and Durability

In terms of quality and durability, OEM keys are often seen as the superior choice. They’re made to the exact specifications of the vehicle manufacturer, ensuring a perfect fit and function. On the other hand, despite the lower price tag, many aftermarket keys are on par with OEM keys in terms of quality. They are made from durable materials and designed to withstand normal wear and tear, ensuring you get a long-lasting key that offers excellent value for money.

Availability and Where to Buy

OEM keys are generally available at authorized dealerships or directly from the vehicle manufacturer, ensuring authenticity but limiting purchasing options. While aftermarket keys are widely available through various channels, including locksmiths and online stores. This makes them a more accessible option, especially for older models where OEM keys may no longer be in production.

Addressing a Few Common Misconceptions

Do Aftermarket Keys Damage the Vehicle?

One common myth is that using an aftermarket key can damage your car – this is simply untrue. Aftermarket keys are designed to the specifications of your vehicle’s model, ensuring a perfect fit and smooth operation. They will not damage your ignition or lock systems.

Are Aftermarket Keys Less Durable?

Contrary to popular belief, aftermarket keys are not inherently less durable than OEM keys. The durability of a key, whether OEM or aftermarket, largely depends on the quality of the materials used and the craftsmanship. Many aftermarket keys on the market today are of high quality and can last just as long, if not longer, than their OEM counterparts.


Choosing between OEM and aftermarket keys depends on your specific needs, budget, and vehicle make and model. Both options have their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to make an informed decision. Remember, the key is to balance cost, quality, and convenience to find the best solution for you. Happy driving!

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