Rant – Crappy Aftermarket Parts

It is a fact of life that not every part is going to fit perfectly. It is another thing altogether when a part doesn’t fit due to lazy or poor design. The lead part is what started this whole thought process, I know not what category this very simple license plate mount fits into. It just pissed me off that I had to modify a part designed to fit behind a fairlead because the bolt slots were too small.

It’s simple really.

My question is this; How hard is it to build a part that fits? The answer is; It’s simple really.

Everything has a tolerance. There isn’t a part manufactured that has a 0 tolerance. Tolerance is an allowable deviation from the specified dimension. So if a part needs to be .500 of an inch and you allow for a +/- of .005 you can be as large as .505 and as small as .495.

Many years ago I worked in a tool and die shop that was building a prototype gear set for a Chrysler transmission. They wanted it built to the strictest engineering standards with 0 deviations and a 0 tolerance. Do you know what happened when it was assembled without clearances and allowable tolerances to the dimensions? It didn’t work. The transmission went into gear and never moved again.

Why then, do some aftermarket companies do such a shit job?

Laziness, lack of talent, Chinese manufacturing, or sloppy build quality is the general consensus from talking to consumers and quality manufacturers.

It’s cheaper to build parts to a loose tolerance. The more accurate you want a part the more money it costs to build. Fixtures must be held to a tighter tolerance, tools must be more accurate, workers need more precision in their setup, and the list goes on and on.

Why are parts from different manufacturers the same price but not the same quality?

Profits. Seriously that’s the bottom line. If they can make $200 on a bumper versus $100 they will sell it for more and if they have to cut corners on quality to keep that profit then that’s what they do.

We are all guilty of helping the industry build low-quality parts and charging exorbitant prices for junk. Ever hear the phrase; It’s a Jeep thing! That mentality is what allows companies to continue to build sub-standard parts and sell them to us. Every time we buy a part because a particular brand name is on it regardless of where and how it is made we contribute to the overall drop in quality.

I’m not all doom and gloom.

There are good companies out there. We feature a lot of them here at 4 Wheels and a Motor. We do our best to tell what we like and don’t like about products. Sometimes items are so bad we won’t review it and we have definitely sent items back that were so bad we didn’t want to be affiliated with it. On the other hand, we have worked with some really stellar companies who build high-quality parts at fair prices. Stay tuned and watch for those companies in upcoming reviews we are already working on.

William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role having been a cook, a painter, a machinist, part time mechanic, computer programmer, and writer. He also wields a freely shared opinion on just about everything., just ask him.

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