OEM vs. Aftermarket Outboard Parts

Close Up Of A Boat's Outboard Motor And Propellers

As boat owners, we are always looking to save money while maintaining our boats to the highest standards. At ARG Marine, we are often asked if it’s OK to use aftermarket parts on Honda outboard motors. Most of the time, it’s best to use OEM parts to ensure quality, warranty compliance, and reliability.

Difference between OEM Parts and Aftermarket Parts

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. For example, Honda manufactures and sells OEM parts. A third party might sell aftermarket parts. Usually, OEM parts are more expensive and have higher quality, and aftermarket parts are cheaper with potentially lower quality. 

Quality vs. Savings

If money were no issue, we’d probably all buy OEM parts, and rest assured that we’ve done the right thing. However, sometimes the lower cost of aftermarket parts is attractive. So how do you balance quality with your budget? The best way is to examine quality, durability, and reliability. 

Quality and Durability Over Time

Fuel pumps can be expensive, so looking into an aftermarket fuel pump is attractive. However, OEM fuel pumps often last three, four, or five times as long as an aftermarket pump. So, using this example, the cheapest option is actually the OEM fuel pump. 

You will only have to buy one fuel pump instead of three or four, but you won’t have to endure the downtime to change it constantly. This additional level of durability means you can enjoy more time on the water and less time fixing your boat. At ARG Marine, we are committed to helping you enjoy your time on the water! 

The Cost of Reliability

If you use an inferior quality aftermarket part and it causes your boat to break down, you might lose time and enjoyment of your boat. For example, if you are out with your family and friends for a day and the fuel pump fails, you’ll have to get a tow back to the boat ramp. If you have tow insurance, this might be free. If you don’t, tows can get expensive fast. 

In addition, you’ve lost at least a day of fun on the water. You’ll now have to diagnose and fix the issue, which will probably cost more than if you’d bought the OEM part, to begin with. 


Check the warranty before choosing between an OEM part and an aftermarket part. Sometimes OEM parts offer a longer warranty period. However, aftermarket manufacturers will often provide longer warranties to attract more business.

In addition, boat owners should check their outboard’s warranty. Some manufacturers will null and void your warranty if you use aftermarket parts. 

Proper Fit

Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a replacement part that doesn’t fit or function properly. However, if you buy an OEM part, it is guaranteed to fit perfectly. 

Your Honda owner’s manual will give you the correct part number along with directions on how to replace or repair the part and maintain it properly. 

OEM Part Recommendations

Some outboard parts should always be OEM, and they are responsible for your outboard’s safe and reliable operation.

  • Fuel Pumps
  • Fuel lines
  • Water pumps
  • Impellers
  • Seals
  • Riser gaskets
  • Rubber fittings
  • Bellows
  • Starters
  • Wiring harnesses
  • Ignition components

Enjoy Time on the Water

Whether you choose an OEM or aftermarket part, the focus should always be on enjoying time on the water damage. At ARG Marine, we’re dedicated to helping you find the best outboards for sale and maintaining them properly. So, if you are in the Palm Beach Gardens area, stop by ARG Marine for sales, service, and OEM parts.