Caterpillar Parts OEM vs. Aftermarket Spares for Marine Vessels



Every vessel owner strives to keep their equipment running at the best for maximum possible uptime. For years, fleets of varying sizes and configurations have relied on genuine Caterpillar parts for safe operations and maritime regulations compliance.

Choosing the right replacement parts for Cat-configured crafts comes with multiple options. Aftermarket parts are often the most convenient option for fleet owners to evade expensive replacements.

Are aftermarket marine parts any good?

In this blog post, we are dropping an in-depth overview of buying aftermarket Caterpillar parts – key concerns, benefits, and alternatives.

What are Aftermarket Parts for Marine Vessels?

Aftermarket parts are manufactured across the planet by brands other than the original manufacturer. These third-party providers do not contribute to the production of the OEM parts. The aftermarket parts are configured to suit various marine engines or nearby configurations.

Despite the semblance of genuine spare parts, the Cat aftermarket parts in the market may not possess the features, qualities, or exact configuration as the original parts. Professional maintenance and repair specialists do not guarantee the functionality and performance of aftermarket parts, especially for marine crafts.

The prime reason for the dominance of aftermarket parts in the marine industry is the cheap price tag.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cat Aftermarket Parts


The most alluring aspect of aftermarket parts is the cost. You can save on big deals on these low-cost products. These items are inexpensive compared to OEM parts on the market.


Availability and accessibility often compel vessel owners to opt for aftermarket parts. This is the root cause beyond the pricing. Fleet operators get into trouble for buying Cat replacement parts for old marine engines. It can be hard to source an OEM part of the exact configuration. The massive choices in the aftermarket parts gallery come to the rescue.

It is vital to evaluate the potential risks associated with aftermarket parts.

No Performance Guarantee 

The aftermarket parts are hard to differentiate from authentic manufacturer parts in appearance. However, these parts do not have the exact components of the original product. It is hard to predict if the part will serve the purpose and efficiency as the previous one.

For instance, you may want to replace your old caterpillar c18 turbocharger. The OEM item of the exact part number matches the part on your fleet. However, an aftermarket part may not feature the same quality or components to support the functionality.

No Warranty Coverage

In most cases, aftermarket parts do not carry a warranty from the manufacturer. If your parts are faulty, you may not get a refund or otherwise.

May Affect Other Equipment in the Engine Room 

OEM parts have the same configuration to match your original part. When installed correctly, they match the operations with the other components of the engine. Aftermarket parts not configured to the engine number may cause damage to the other engine parts or pose a risk to the entire setup in the engine room.

Used and Salvage Marine Parts – An Overview

Considering the risks associated with aftermarket parts, it is better to opt for used and salvaged parts when you are on a budget. Used parts are usually procured from old ships opting for retrofitting or equipment upgrade. High-quality cat-used parts ensure better performance and functionality without the risk of damaging your engine or other spare parts.

Salvage parts from wrecked and demolished ships can serve the same purpose if they are extracted with great care. Always purchase used parts from trusted sellers. Look for warranties and certifications when buying old parts online.

Are you looking for used Caterpillar parts?

Alfa Marine Spare Parts is one of the largest providers of new, reman, and high-quality used Cat parts. We sell marine engines and spare parts worldwide. Please feel free to get in touch with the required part number. We offer custom quotes for most enquiries within 24 hours.


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