10 Aftermarket Brand Parts You Might Find on Your Car
These suppliers often partner with automakers to give our vehicles an engineered boost.
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Every automaker leverages outside suppliers to reduce development costs and make its vehicles more competitive. Partnering with an aftermarket company that's already an expert at suspension design, braking systems, seating, or off-roading often makes more sense than reinventing the wheel.
Drivers also often benefit from the peace of mind associated with factory-approved and warrantied components. Some well-known automotive suppliers that design, develop, and supply parts even assemble entire vehicles.
American Expedition Vehicles
American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) is an off-road-oriented parts supplier with a twist. The Michigan-based company has partnered with Ram, Jeep, and General Motors to create unique models that dive deep into the company's parts catalog yet come with a full warranty.
In addition to producing a full range of aftermarket parts and upgrades for production vehicles such as the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Bronco, and Toyota Tacoma, AEV also builds modified "conversion" vehicles that use trucks and SUVs as their base for producing more capable machines. AEV additionally offers wheels and other cosmetic improvements for specific factory trucks.
ARB is an Australian off-road parts manufacturer that includes the famous Old Man Emu brand under its umbrella. The company has deep roots in the aftermarket and produces bumpers, suspension components, and other accessories for overlanding fans and hardcore rock crawlers.
ARB has recently begun to make overtures to partner with automakers. Its most recent collaboration, the Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter midsize truck, gains Old Man Emu shock absorbers, an ARB rear bumper, and a bed rack.
German wheel manufacturer BBS has been producing components for race cars since the 1970s. The founders were amateur racers looking for performance gains on the track, and began by making lightweight fiberglass body panels before developing BBS's innovative three-piece racing wheels.
In the modern era, BBS is an original equipment supplier to several notable brands, including BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Porsche.
A giant in the world of automotive suspensions, Germany's Bilstein has been in operation for nearly 100 years. In addition to offering aftermarket upgrades for both on- and off-road vehicles, Bilstein also has a deep history in motorsports and has been an original equipment supplier to car companies on every continent for decades.
You may have a replacement Bilstein shock absorber installed on your vehicle or as a factory-approved component on your car or truck.
Italy's Brembo is a longtime aftermarket parts company associated with some of the world's most prestigious high-performance automotive brands. The company is best known as a manufacturer of brake upgrades, partnering with nearly every major automaker on the planet.
Many automakers, from Alfa Romeo to Volvo, use Brembo components on their production vehicles, often brake pads and calipers. Brembo also manufactures replacement braking equipment for an even longer list of vehicles.
Borla began building exhaust systems for classic Rolls-Royce and Ferrari models in 1978. Today, the California company offers full exhaust systems and muffler replacements for a wide variety of vehicles. In addition to providing universal-fit exhaust components and kits designed to offer performance improvements for specific models, Borla equipment is available as a factory upgrade for vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2.
Fox Racing Shox
Another well-known California supplier, Fox Racing Shox specializes in shock absorbers. Unlike Bilstein, however, Fox Racing Shox is entirely focused on off-road performance and is a division of Fox Factory, which is involved in a wide range of industries that require rugged suspension components.
In recent years, Fox Racing Shox has benefited from the surge of interest in off-road-capable production trucks, particularly desert runners such as the Ford F-150 Raptor and the Ford Bronco Raptor.
It's pretty likely that somewhere on your vehicle, there's a part designed or manufactured by Multimatic. This Canadian company has been working with automakers to produce everything from door hinges to suspension components since the 1980s and has a massive footprint in the automotive world.
In terms of specialization, you might be familiar with Multimatic's dynamic suspension spool valve (DSSV) shock absorbers, which are currently offered on the ZR2 versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and the Chevrolet Colorado pickup trucks as well as the GMC Sierra AT4x and the GMC Canyon AT4x.
Recaro doesn't just make seats for cars, trucks, and SUVs. You could also run into its badge on a plane or train. The German company has an exceptionally high profile when it comes to performance and racing applications, so it's no surprise that it's available as original equipment on an extensive list of sports cars, supercars, and off-road vehicles, including those from Porsche, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz.
Rigid Industries produces off-road and auxiliary lighting, primarily for trucks and SUVs. Most of the Arizona company's lighting products aren't model dependent. They can be installed on any vehicle provided there is a place to mount them and a way to wire them to a power source.
Rigid has partnerships with companies such as Toyota, which installs Rigid fog lights and off-road lights on its TRD Pro models, which are aimed at trail enthusiasts.