Date registered: Apr 2014
Vehicle: 1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E320
Location: LA, CA
Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Quoted: 770 Post(s)
Dorman is rebrander, they will rebrand anything and everything, from a PS pump rebuilt by a hobo under the bridge up all the way to factory original parts, just with the manuf. logo grinded off. There's an extreme range of quality among the parts. They're never consistent.
I've ordered a Dorman Honda Accord power steering pump and upon start up it leaked from the shaft. Warrantied the pump next day and the replacement unit was Honda OE pump, complete with factory marking. Alternators, pulleys, coils, you name it, I've had a proportionally higher defective out of those than other brands....though it may be related to my current geographical locations and the distributor. All I'm saying, I don't trust Dorman as far as I can throw them and even then, I'd whip out my tape measure to be doubly sure.
Raybesto is perfectly fine, don't get me wrong. I do use them occasionally, when the price of OE parts is in the "ow, my butt" range but the cheap stuff is in "she gotta have STDs..." range. And I never had problems with them either. In fact, I use them if working on American or Japanese cars. German cars on other hand, require a little bit more finesse. Not only you have to judge the replacement parts, you also have to judge the customer and the risk of comebacks and complaints.
German car owners, in my experience, are proportionally more inclined to bring their cars back for every single slight, imagined or otherwise. "EVER SINCE YOU CHANGED THE OIL IN MY CAR, MY AC HAS BEEN MAKING A SQUEAKING NOISE AND THE CAR MAKES A CLUNKING NOISE OVER BUMPS!" Japanese and American car owners tend to be a little bit more clueless, and they use their stereo as a catch all. If they can hear it over their stereo, they bring it in....often many thousand miles later.
Granted, this is an extreme overgeneration and customer profiling/stereotyping, but it remains true in my region. Then in this case I have to judge the trouble I may be forced to endure if I decide to save $40 and go aftermarket parts because "X"....Often times I've purposely chosen parts that cost over $300 from their competitors (Arnott/RMT suspension as opposed to random no name eBay parts) just for the warranty. That paid off at least three times for me.
Brands matter too, but you also have to judge your time, potential comebacks, potential liabilities, and potential customer referrals too. Too many comebacks, you've lost money, lost time, lost referrals. Aftermarket parts fail on critical components (brakes, mostly. I rarely deal with airbags) on just ONE car can severely impact my whole profit for the month, possibly two. Plus there is potential lawsuits too.
Point is when it comes to brakes, I pull out all stops (pun intended). Lines, hoses, even caliper brackets get OE. I've seen aftermarket caliper bracket break just from regular city driving. Calipers, depends on brand. Brake pads and rotors, almost always go aftermarket unless the car is known to be very aftermarket unfriendly (2009 BMW 330i coupe comes to mind. Why 330i and not 328i? Who knows, but the 330i squeals like a stuck pig with aftermarket pads whereas sedan 328i of same year happily accepts those same pads with no issues).