Some auto parts are tailor fit for one or more vehicles while others aren't. Is there a universally understood name for those two types of parts?

  • Is that the case? The reason why I posted it here is I want to hear how vehicle enthusiasts call them, even if it's slang
    – AllanCaeg
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 8:17
  • It was just a suggestion, as the english stackexchange is very good at exactly this type of question.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 8:20
  • This should not have been migrated. I would expect an auto mechanic to be more knowlegeable about auto parts terminology than a bunch of English majors.
    – choster
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 1:14

2 Answers 2


Most parts have applications to several vehicles because the manufacturer

  • Used the same part for several years of the same vehicle
  • Used the same engine/component in multiple models
  • Borrowed technology or used the same supplier as another manufacturer

There are many cases where a part was only used on one make/model/year of a vehicle and the manufacturer used something else the next year.

Aftermarket suppliers often find where two "OE" (Original Equipment) parts are identical or close enough to identical to combine the applications and offer a single part.

Last, there are cases like exhaust where a Direct Fit muffler that matches a specific vehicle is offered whereas a generic muffler that fits a large number of vehicles will also work but might need some custom welding or pipes upon installation.

  • Cool! How do you think should non-Direct Fit parts be called, though?
    – AllanCaeg
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 13:44
  • There is not a specific name. It is just a part. In some case you might refer to it as a generic part, but that is normally only when there is also a direct fit component.
    – jzd
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 13:54

I typically think of parts that are not meant for a specific model or models of vehicles to be "universal" or "universal fit" parts. I can't say where exactly I picked that up though...

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