I wise word of warning for those posting endlessly about trying to save $10-20 on an aftermarket part....
...especially on parts so critical to "structural safety"
...from tires to brakes to suspension parts, life-critical parts we should never try to skimp on....
Literally...penny-wise pound foolish no more true here than anywhere.
Yes, very true. I'm still learning the hard way here
I love the save a buck like the next guy, but that usually means finding the lowest price on the quality part.
When I did the wheel bearing in my Camry, I took a good 5 or 6 hours finding part numbers and scouring the internet before I finally found a new in box Koyo bearing for like $40 from some random reseller.
Like you have learned, parts quality is everything when you plan on keeping the car. Sometimes you can find the truly OEM equivalent without the manufacturer logo (Aisin water pump, Koyo bearings, Mistuboshi Timing Belt, Denso Sensors, etc.), sometimes you gotta go OEM (ball joints, VVT-i solenoids, sway bar end links, etc.), and sometimes it doesn't matter (oil filters, cabin filters, batteries, etc.).
At least everyone is alright and you got to share your experience. Not nearly as bad as your situation, but I posted this a while back:
These are Mevotech, and after some searching last night I found some posts on various forums that the brand seems to have gone downhill a bit in the last few years. Just words on the 'net so who knows how "true" it is, but like I have seen people post about Moog, some claim that the parts have become outsourced to lowest cost then the brand slapped onto them. Other Honda people in Honda forums claim to have used Mevotech on their rides for years, so who knows. There always exists some defects in any brand...all I know is I have a shot LBJ and who knows how much stuff destroyed. Wait until you see the cv pics I'll take this weekend. Which is a weird thing, as when I replaced her steering rack this summer I had accidentally bought a new cv-axle for that side thinking it needed replacing (her driver side did), forgetting I had replaced that axle about a year prior. So I have a brand new axle sitting still in the box in my garage. At least there is that!
Oh and the possible irony here is that OEM ball joints are not that much different in cost than what I paid: at least not from what I am seeing now. Grrrr.
What I've learn recently is ALWAYS
check to see if OEM/Genuine is CHEAPER
or around same price. I've learned that sometimes going after market may cost even more
. It's like going to walmart becuase you expect everything to be cheaper, so you don't second guess your decision...only until you find out that another small local business in your area sells the same thing for 2 for *same price*....
If aftermarket is cheaper by a decent amount, get the best after market. I usually get Moog or the top tier brands without issues.
Like getting the front top spring insulator for the Camry. The Genuine is a one piece top spring insulator + strut boot while the generic KYB is a two piece design. Having a one piece design helps installing the spring, although the quality of the boot seems better with KYB. Cost though and fit is of course better with Genuine.
Like wise, getting a PITA part replace...spend the extra money knowing it will fit fine versus getting an aftermarket one for 1/4 the cost...but not having it work 100% right...