Maintenance & OEM vs Aftermarket

Since I’ve hit the big 450,000 mile mark, it was time for another oil change and check up. The only other thing the TSX needed was some front brakes. The original OEM rotors had been turned a few times & we were going to get on more turn out of them when the Acura Tech noticed something not quite right on the right front.

As you may remember, I bought a bunch of used oem parts to rebuild the TSX when I wrecked it a few months ago. When I did this, I didn’t have a chance to go thru all the parts myself. As a result, some of the parts were not quite right. Enter our rt front rotor. I bought a complete rt front suspension assembly complete with rotor. As it turns out, someone at some time bought a used rotor to put on their car before it was wrecked and parted out. Problem is, the rotor they put on was a rear rotor, not a front rotor. The difference? Oh, about a half inch in diameter. So the front pads were overhanging the rotor by a half inch!

I should have grabbed a pic, but imagine a brake pad with about a half inch of brand new stopping power, which then dramatically drops off to next to nothing. That’s what my front pad looked like on the right side. Something out of Tetris really. So it was time for some new front rotors & pads for the front.

See the invoice here…


About a 1,000 miles later I saw something come on the dash that I hadn’t seen before, the battery light. This was a first! I’ve replaced the battery 2 or 3 times in the past and don’t recall the battery light coming on before. My mind whispered “Alternator”.

Luckily I was doing local inspections at the time. I called the guys at Lyle Pearson to check if they had time for me to stop by for a diagnose, they did, (they always do) and 45 minutes later Master Tech Chris Downs confirmed, “Yup, Alternator”. So into a loaner I went & they ordered up a new alternator. 451,000 on an alternator isn’t too shabby now is it?


This is why I prefer OEM parts to Aftermarket parts. Now, I’m fully aware that some aftermarket parts are just as good if not better than OEM parts. This is true, but mostly when it comes to racing parts. However, I’m not racing from inspection to inspection. As I see enough wrecked cars & I’ve seen my car wrecked twice.

I’ll also give you a recent example: one of the things I tried saving money on rebuilding my car was an aftermarket steering rack from Fast Undercar. The OEM rack was over $1,000. The aftermarket rack from Fast Undercar? $350! A bargain right? Ummm, Not so much. The Aftermarket steering rack lasted a whopping 3 whole days before leaking like a stuck pig. It was going thru a bottle of steering fluid a day. I was out of town when I discovered this, so I just kept dumping in the fluid until I got back to Lyle Pearson Acura. When we got it up on the rack again, this is what we found…IMG_63791The main seals were leaking and filling the boot with fluid. Which is why we didn’t catch it right away. Since the boot was catching all the fluid, there were no leaks to tell us what was going on. So that comes out to $100 a day for an aftermarket steering rack. The OEM rack lasted 10 years and almost 450k miles before I bashed it in running over large rocks. It’d probably be still doing it’s thing if I hadn’t of wrecked it. Aftermarket part bonus? You bet! I’m still waiting to see if Fast Undercars will be reimbursing me my $350, much less having to pay the labor to have it swapped out. It’s already been 2 months & they have the old rack back. At this point I’m not holding my breath. Lesson learned. At least used is OEM. But I’ll never do Aftermarket on my car again.

Consider this, minus the few parts that have served me well during the last 10 years & I’ve had to replace (& not many at that) have lasted 450k miles. If that doesn’t speak to the quality of Honda/ Acura OEM parts, I don’t know what does!


Here’s a couple of tremendous wrecks I’ve seen lately…DSC00390 DSC02473 DSC03721 DSC09657I’m well on my way to 455k. I put on 1900 miles just this last week!

Stay safe out there!20150610_124108DSC04320

About clymerdude

A Property Damage Appraiser in the State of Idaho.
This entry was posted in Maintenance Logs. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Maintenance & OEM vs Aftermarket

  1. Josie says:

    Great Blog!!

  2. Carlos says:

    I also had to replace the steering rack. It only lasted 125,000 miles. I did not run over any potholes or anything. Prior to the rack failing, the power steering system developed leaks in other parts of the system that I fixed by putting in new seals. Also, when the car was cold when first starting in the morning, it would make noise when turning the wheel.

    The power steering system seems to be the Achilles heal of the TSX. I remember reading about Humberto posting that he had to replace the rack also. Humberto is the new member you featured on your prior post in your blog who has a red 2004 TSX. I also have read about other owners in other forums experiencing problems.

    I said my rack failed at only 125,000 miles because I used to have a 1987 Acura Integra that never had any kind of power steering leak. It lasted for 200,000 miles and 17 years. In the time I had it, the car did not leak one drop of power steering fluid which is incredible.

    In the time I have had the TSX since 2005, it had the following problems with the power steering system:

    1) One of hoses leaked. The leaked fluid would hit the hot exhaust manifold. This was fixed by Acura under a national safety recall.

    2) The noise I mentioned earlier when car was steering wheel was turned in the morning. It would go away after warming up. My mechanic fixed a defective seal and the problem went away for a week.

    3) The power steering pump developed another leak at one of the connections in the front. Fluid leaked over the front of the car including my alternator which i had to change. The seal was fixed. And problem went away for a week.

    4) The power steering rack began leaking profusely. I had to change the whole rack. Changing the rack on the TSX is a very labor intensive job according to my mechanic.

    • clymerdude says:

      I must have lucked out then. I haven’t had any of the issues you’ve had Carlos. Are you still having problems? Or are they all fixed now?

    • I can only guess some people have had more luck than others. My first power steering problems started with the power pump hose seals letting in air into the reservoir which then caused the famous whine (almost supercharger like) when the car was cold. I replaced them my self, pretty easy job no biggie, about a year passed no problems then randomly the steering rack went out and leaked all the fluid into the boot which then it leaked out. My mechanic replaced the steering rack, a little expensive since it is in fact really hard to reach to it (they have to lower the subframe). I had a feeling my mechanic hadn’t used the correct Honda fluid since 2 weeks later the pump itself started to leak, replaced that and haven’t had problems since then.

  3. tysonhugie says:

    What the heck? A rear rotor on the front? That’s like putting mittens on your feet, or socks on your hands, or… something like that. Anyway, glad you’ve got that brake thing all figured out. Re: OEM vs. Aftermarket, I’ll add a big +1 to everything you said. My Legend rear suspension made SUCH a racket when I went with a no-name control arm. Back to OEM and it was quiet as intended. Onward you go.

  4. gardel says:

    OEM on everything Except the brakes! Honda Pads are not that good at all, and are expensive. I am having pulsations and seriously considering some Akebono pads. People have great success with those. But yeah, like I said, the rest of the parts will always be oem for me.
    AH, my ‘battery’ light comes on and off during the summer. No clue why. Technician doesn’t know either. When the fall comes, it doesn’t happen anymore.

    • clymerdude says:

      I get lots of miles on my pads. But I do a lot of freeway driving. I might check those out. Your Battery light coming on from extra strain from the ac system?

      • gardel says:

        No AC on and the battery light comes on anyway. It only happens when I am stopped at a red light, never with the car moving. And it only lasts 2 seconds. No clue why.

  5. Carlos says:

    Everything is fixed now. I still love my TSX. 🙂

    You may want to consider getting aftermarket pads. I have Hawk Performance pads on all four wheels. Much better braking performance. In both cold and hot conditions. Before, when starting car in morning, if i slammed on the brakes to simulate an emergency, it would take time to brake properly. Also, when car was hot and I used brakes a lot, there would be fade. Car did not perform well. The Hawk performance pads are much better under both cold and hot conditions.

    The only negative is that the pads produce more brake dust. You will need to wash the rims more often if you always want them clean. But I would gladly live with this if it means I am safer on the road. As an insurance adjuster, i think your next move is clear. 🙂

    The link below takes you to the pads I have now.

  6. clymerdude says:

    haha, it would seem that my next move is crystal clear now!

  7. Charlie says:

    Do you have any special plans when you finally reach 500k miles?

    • clymerdude says:

      Haven’t decided what yet. But I’d like to do a group drive. A reader suggested a couple of routes. But I’m open to suggestions. Any thoughts?

      • Charlie says:

        I like the idea of a group ride ending at Lyle Pearson Acura. Their service department should get a chance to share in the celebration.

  8. Carlos says:

    How about a group drive to Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada? It is considered one of the most beautiful roads in both North America and the entire world. National Geographic calls it “one of the world’s most stunning roadways.”

    Reaching 500,000 miles in a car is an epic milestone. I believe it requires an epic trip. 🙂

    Take a look below at this magnificent roadway.

  9. Sunny says:

    This is pretty interesting. I usually will go OEM for suspension parts, but for brake pads and windshields I won’t mind going aftermarket for them simply because I haven’t had any problems with them. I think if I ever buy a new car, I will exclusively service it at a dealer. But it is expensive though.

    Also, if you do plan a group drive for your 500k celebration, I would love to be in the know. I live really close to Idaho and even though I don’t drive an Acura, I do drive a Honda so I guess that helps and I would love to join the adventure!

  10. clymerdude says:

    I don’t mind AM windshield either Sunny. As long as they are quality glass like Pilkington. I’ve gone thru several windshields in the last 10 years. I’m also starting to believe the pads may also be acceptable. But I will always use OEM for anything mechanical/suspension. The “Proof is in the Pudding” as they say…

    As far as the 500k group drive, this will be discussed frequently, but even more so as I get closer to the mark. When I finally decide exactly what I’ll be doing, I’ll post an entire feature about it with all the info for everybody who wants to participate. For the record, I’d want you there with us, even if Mom were driving you in a 1988 Dodge Caravan w/ wood paneling. Just be ready for the teasing if you do, Haha. The main thing is that you are there. That’s all that matters to me.

  11. Can’t wait to the 500k Josh!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s