Authentic OEM Parts

By Jim Wilder

Undercar Digest Editor

In the automotive aftermarket product marketing often includes terms such as “OE replacement,” “OE quality” or “OE form and fit.” The literature usually uses these and other phrases to avoid saying that the part isn’t truly the same as the original-equipment part made for the vehicle manufacturer.

That’s not the case with Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket’s launch of a new program to the aftermarket under its VDO brand called VDO OEM Direct Parts, according to Dan Caciolo, Continental product management, engine management & fuel supply.

“This new program features an ever expanding range of original-equipment parts made by Continental that are now available to auto parts stores and professional technicians in the U.S. and Canada,” he said. “These are the same high-quality parts as supplied to vehicle manufacturers worldwide.”

Until recently, these OEM parts were only available from new-car dealer parts departments, he said. “The wide range of premium VDO-branded OEM Direct replacement parts is offered at competitive prices and comes directly from the manufacturer – Continental,” Caciolo said. “The VDO parts offered by Continental are not ‘meets OE spec’ or ‘like’ OE; they are genuine original-equipment parts. So there is never any question of quality. The parts are made on the same production lines and deliver exact fit and function for trouble-free, labor-saving installation. They are vehicle specific with OE connectors and install right the first time, every time just like OE parts. No pigtails or universal fits in this line.”

Robust Program

Caciolo calls the new parts program “robust.” It includes VDO branded air actuators, electronic throttle valves, flex-fuel sensors, fuel injectors and fuel modules, MAF and MAP sensors and temperature-controlling water pumps.

“These particular parts are essential to the vehicle’s wellbeing and can directly affect overall drivability, power response, efficiency, fuel economy and even warranty,” he said. “With warranty rates escalating in the aftermarket, technicians do not have time to question quality and need the confidence and reliability that can only come from VDO OEM Direct Parts.”

The new parts program was designed to help independent shops be more profitable and their technicians be more efficient in the diagnostics and the repairs they provide to get customer vehicles back on the road as quickly as possible without comebacks, he said.

“The OEM Direct Parts program is designed to deliver excellent European, domestic and Asian coverage for high volume vehicles, as well as hard-to-find applications,” he said.

Certified OEM, validated OEM

“Because the parts are certified OEM and validated OEM, the aftermarket technician often gets technology that’s not yet available in a non-OE part,” Caciolo said. “In categories such as electronic water pumps and electromotive throttle bodies, where the typical offerings before were all mechanical, only VDO OEM Direct Parts can deliver electronic components.”

In addition, VDO OEM Direct Parts are maintained as the latest supersession, he said. “As the OE switches to a new variant, so does our factory. It is a seamless transition,” Caciolo said.

Technical assistance

Service facilities using VDO OEM Direct Parts also can get the technical assistance they need to assist the professional technician work more efficiently and not tie up service bays. These technicians have the option of calling 800-265-1818 or send their question as an email at

Customer response

Comebacks that tie up bay space and cause profit losses are the biggest issues that automotive repair facilities work hard to avoid. Lee Grant, owner of Christian Brothers Automotive, Springfield, Mo., sees the use of VDO OEM Direct Parts as one way to limit comebacks and keep motorists happy.

“There are a number of parts where we refuse to install remanufactured products or aftermarket parts because their comeback rates are just too high,” he said. “Mass air flow sensors and manifold absolute pressure sensors are two of those items. I’ll always order the OEM part over a remanufactured unit, and VDO Direct OEM fits that philosophy that our shop follows. It just makes good business sense. The same goes for temperature controlling water pumps.

“Recently we installed a VDO fuel injector in a 2003 Ram pickup that’s owned by a good customer who is also my neighbor. I want to treat all my customers just like I treat him.”

Rick Bettger, who recently rebranded his three Omaha, Neb., House of Mufflers & Brakes shops to Omaha Car Care, noted that he just recently learned about the VDO OEM Direct Parts introduction.

“I found detailed information about the new VDO line on the company’s website and brought it up at the monthly dinner meeting I have with my shop managers,” he said. “We renamed our shops to let motorists know that we have certified technicians who not only perform undercar repairs, but also engine diagnostics and drivability. These are the types of products we prefer for our customers, and our managers are now contacting our parts suppliers about the line.”

Future line expansion

The new VDO OEM program is constantly evolving and significant expansion is planned. Future technologies that will be added to the program include diesel products and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) products as well as popular niche products that are only available from the new-car dealer parts departments, such as windshield-washer pumps for GM, Ford and Honda vehicles as well as various European makes and models.

Product overview

VDO OEM electronic throttle and air-control valves are built in ISO/TS-certified facilities and are the exact OEM replacement part, according to Continental. They offer OE quality, dependable performance and vehicle-specific fit and function. The program currently features 49 part numbers, providing coverage for more than 11 million vehicles on the road throughout North America.

VDO OEM Direct fuel injectors also are built in ISO/TS certified facilities and are the exact part available at the dealer. They offer OE quality, dependable performance and easy “plug-and-play installation, Caciolo said. The program currently features 36 part numbers and covers more than 30 million vehicles in operation.

VDO OEM flex-fuel sensors are a featured green technology for GM vehicles. These sensors calculate the percentage of ethanol in fuel and adjust the output signal to the ECU creating dynamic ignition timing and E85 capability. The program features four sensors covering up to the current model year – more than 3 million vehicles in operation.

VDO OEM Direct fuel modules are built in under the same exacting standards in certified facilities. They offer OE quality, dependable performance and vehicle-specific fit and function. More than 55 part numbers deliver coverage for in excess of 15 million vehicles in operation, he said.

VDO OEM temperature-controlling water pumps are designed to provide precise engine temperature control through variation of coolant volume flow, according to the company. The pump operates independent of the main cooling circuit and combustion engine operation. They offer OE quality, dependable performance and easy installation, Caciolo said. These water pumps provide coverage for more than 430,000 vehicles in operation.

VDO OEM Direct mass air-flow sensors are the exact OEM replacement part. They are capable of withstanding the harshest environments and offer OE quality, dependable performance and easy “plug-and-play installation, he said.

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Annie Webber, a technician at Christian Brothers Automotive, Springfield, Mo., installs a fuel injector on a 2003 Dodge Ram.



VDO OEM fuel injectors



VDO OEM Direct Parts



  Dan Calico



VDO electronic throttle valves



VDO flex fuel sensors



Lee Grant



Rick Bettger



VDO OEM MAP sensors


10 a. & 10b

VDO OEM MAF sensors



VDO OEM temperature controlling water pumps