When you have to replace your splash shield, you’re faced with two options:
- OEM splash shield
- Aftermarket splash shield
Which option is the right fit for you? This guide will help you figure that out.
We’ll discuss all the important factors to consider when replacing a splash shield. Next, we’ll talk about how OEM and aftermarket splash shields compare to each other.
What Is An OEM Splash Shield?
The manufacturer - Subaru in this case - designs and builds its OEM parts. That means an OEM splash shield is an exact replica of the stock splash shield on your car. Even the materials are exactly the same.
What Is An Aftermarket Splash Shield?
Aftermarket manufacturers are third party companies. They design their own car parts, including splash shields. Aftermarket splash shields come with their own designs and material compositions.
Now, let’s discuss the 3 most important factors to think about while shopping for a new splash shield.
1. Size And Fitment
A splash shield may only be a plastic panel, but it still provides a lot of protection from:
It’s important for the splash shield to cover 100% of the space underneath the engine. That’s why size and fitment matter.
OEM splash shields are exact replicas of their stock counterparts, so you can always expect perfect fitment. OEM splash shields are always the right size, and the bolt holes always line up correctly.
Aftermarket manufacturers design their parts to their own discretion. That means aftermarket splash shields don’t always fit right. On an aftermarket splash shield, the size and/or bolt holes may be a bit off. It may not sound like a big deal, but it actually is. With a poor-fitting splash shield, you’ll have to either:
- Return the splash shield
- Modify the splash shield
It’s not uncommon for car owners to have to modify their aftermarket splash shields. For example, a 2010 Outback owner named Nate left a review about his aftermarket splash shield on Amazon. He wrote, “This is listed as the exact same part number as I needed for my 2010 Outback, but it is not an exact fit. It took me a little pulling and pushing to get all the holes to line up. A little trimming was also required by the back tabs for it to fit around some subframe parts. In the end I was able to get this mounted, but it definitely could have been easier.”
Modifying the splash shield will compromise its function. As a result, it won’t offer as much protection as it should. Inadequate protection brings dire consequences, like damaged engine parts.
So in the best interests of your engine, get a splash shield that fits right off the bat. In this case, OEM is your best bet.
2. Quality Of Materials
Quality is an important factor of a replacement splash shield. Splash shields take a lot of abuse, so you want a splash shield that has durable materials.
It's not uncommon for aftermarket splash shields to have inferior materials. Some aftermarket manufacturers make metal splash shields and advertise them as “strong” and “durable”. What they don’t advertise is the fact that metal splash shields rust over time and will expose the engine.
Subaru builds its OEM splash shields with the engine’s best interests in mind. OEM Subaru splash shields are made from high quality plastic. The plastic can withstand moisture and heavy strikes over the vehicle's lifetime. An OEM splash shield is the safer choice.
Subaru takes a lot of pride in the fact that it offers a comprehensive warranty on its parts. Subaru's warranty is good for one year from the date of purchase with no mileage limitation. So if for some reason your OEM splash shield fails within one year of purchase, you can get it replaced for free.
Aftermarket manufacturers don’t usually offer a warranty on their parts. Considering the fact that aftermarket splash shields don’t always last that long, getting one without a warranty is pretty risky.
Looking For An OEM Replacement Splash Shield?
You can skip the dealership and order a genuine OEM splash shield online for much cheaper. OEM parts, including splash shields, are usually about 30% more expensive at dealerships. If you’re looking for major savings, get a genuine OEM splash shield from us!
At SubaruPartsPlus.com, you’ll find wholesale pricing for all OEM Subaru parts. That includes splash shields. Look up your Subaru model to find the right replacement OEM splash shield for your car!