Replacing Truck Headlights: The Difference Between OEM, OE, and Aftermarket

truck lights

With approximately 400,000 commercial trucking companies at work in the United States, it's important for truckers to know where to go when they need replacement parts. When operating a semi truck, it’s inevitable that you’ll need replacement parts sometime in the future. One of the most common parts drivers need to be replaced are headlights. While truck lights can last anywhere from 500 to 1, 000 hours (or even 30,000 hours with LEDs), this time can quickly add up if you frequently drive at night. LED headlights will last you longer than other types of truck lights, but it’s important to consider your needs and the source from whom you'll make these purchases in the future.

And when it comes time to buy replacement truck lights, which option is best? You'll likely need to choose between three different categories, which we've outlined below.

OEM, OE, or Aftermarket?

By 2020, the global industry for aftermarket parts is expected to reach $722.8 billion. While it’s obvious that many drivers are turning towards this option when it comes to purchasing replacement parts, what’s the difference between these three types of replacement parts?

  • Original Equipment Manufacturer: Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are created, as you might guess, by the original manufacturer of your truck. OEMs are a safe bet, as what you buy will be the same as what originally came with your rig. The biggest benefit of OEM parts is that they’re tailored specifically for your vehicle. Customers are also guaranteed of the quality. However, the downside is that these parts tend to be more expensive overall. Think of it as paying for the brand name. They also may not be easily available due to only being stocked by specific dealers. At the end of the day, if you don’t want to shop around and enjoyed the type of truck light you already had, OEMs will suit you just fine.
  • Original Equipment: Original equipment (OE) parts are often confused with OEMs. However, there is a bit of a difference. The design of the part may come from the original manufacturer, but the manufacturing of the components is conducted by an outside company. The original company then assembles the parts for sale. This type of subcontracting allows for parts to be sold at a lower price, while still bearing the quality of OEM parts.
  • Aftermarket Parts If you’re looking at headlights for trucks and want to see what alternative brands can do for you, aftermarket parts are the way to go. These parts aren’t from your rig's original manufacturer; instead, they come from a company that specializes in providing replacement parts for a wide array of vehicles. The part could be an exact replica of what came with your vehicle, but it may differ in material, quality, and reliability. To make sure you get the best deal, always check reviews (if you’re ordering online) or ask at your local shop what brands they would recommend. The benefit aftermarket semi truck lights are that they’re usually less expensive and will be readily available from many different shops and dealers. Overall, aftermarket parts are usually a safe bet, especially given the booming state of the industry.

When it comes to choosing between OEM, OE, and aftermarket truck parts, the decision is yours to make. There is no right or wrong answer here. OEM will give you proven quality and be tailored specifically for your rig, though they will come with a higher price tag. OE is a safe middle ground if you don’t want to experiment with brands too much, while aftermarket parts can be great provided you research a brand or ask your local shop for suggestions. Keep in mind that the most reliable truck lights may not be the ones that come with the highest price.

Read more

5 Simple Procedures You Should Be Able to Do On Your Truck

big truck accessories

It’s easier than you think. Really, it is. As a truck driver or truck owner, there are a lot of maintenance services your truck needs. Some of these are crucial, and should only be done by a licensed mechanic.

Truck ownership can be quite an expensive venture. Considering insurance, servicing, replacing big truck accessories, and repairs, these numbers are likely to escalate. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your big truck is kept in pristine condition. By keeping repairs and maintenance up to date, you prevent your bill from running into the big bucks.

There are simple procedures that you should be able to do yourself that will help your truck go longer for longer, and will practically cost you nothing. Apart from checking your headlights, these are some of the procedures every truck driver and owner should know.

1. Checking Fluid Levels

Checking your under hood fluids is an integral part of maintaining big trucks. Checking the level of your engine oil, engine coolant, transmission and brake fluids will only take you a few minutes, but will go a long way in ensuring that these systems work at their best. If you notice a suspicious drop in fluid levels in between closely-timed checks, this could be an indication of a leak or a consumption problem.

Noticing such problems early helps you stop them in their tracks before they become more monumental. It will also help you identify whether you need to repair or buy replacement parts for your big truck.

2. Changing Your Fluids

Trying to draw out the life of your fluids may seem to be a good way to save some money, until it costs you much, much more in repairs and breakdowns. The rate at which you change your fluids will depend on the number of miles you drive, how heavy your cargo is, and the type of roads you drive on (dusty roads, city traffic, highways).

Failing to change your oil will cause your engine to run hot. This will make it work less efficiently, and, eventually, may cause the engine components to wear out and eventually die out. When this happens, you will be forced to spend more on replacing it and other big truck accessories.

3. Verifying Tire Pressure

You need to regularly check the pressure of your tires, and ensure they are adequately inflated and consistent. The tires are your point of contact with the road, and improper inflation will cause uneven wear and tear. When your tires are properly inflated, they maximize fuel economy, offer the best traction, and evenly distribute all the weight.

4. Checking and Changing Your Tires

Tires are the single big truck accessories that are exposed to such bizarre working conditions. Since they are always in contact with the tarmac, they are afflicted by friction, heat, water on wet roads, potholes, and other factors. This is why you ought to check your tires before going on the road for a long transit.

5. Inspecting Your Brakes

Picture this. You’re cruising at 65 miles per hour, eyes on the road. There’s a dip in the way, half a mile ahead, and you don’t want to be going downhill at such a speed. You try to slow down, but your brakes aren’t working. Terrifying, isn’t it?

Well, when you’re transporting a full load, you want to be sure you can stop your truck safely. That’s why it’s crucial to inspect your brakes frequently. Whenever they reach their minimum wear condition, you should visit a big truck accessories store to buy new brake pads.

A Trucker’s Paradise

Although in 2016 alone there were approximately 1.9 million trucker jobs, trucking has for long been said to be an unhealthy profession, what with all the time spent seated stationary, all the stops at fast food outlets, and all the time spent alone. However, this doesn’t have to be the case for you. You should buy new big truck accessories for your truck that will help make it feel more personal; more you.

For example, you can buy ergonomic seats, seat covers, dash kits, a new steering wheel, floor mats, and other parts online, which will ultimately make your big truck more comfortable.

Read more
Back to Top