OEM vs. Aftermarket Replacement Parts Part II

Last week, I talked about the general difference between OEM and aftermarket replacement parts and the issues that can arise when your body shop uses aftermarket parts to repair your vehicle. Using an aftermarket part to replace the original part on your car can cause serious issues not only to the way your car operates, but also with the safety of those in the vehicle. This week, I’ll go into a little more detail about differences between OEM and aftermarket parts and how they can affect your vehicle.
To start, an aftermarket part is any part for a vehicle that does not come from the vehicle’s manufacturer. The vast majority of independent shops (shops not operated by/aligned with any manufacturer, i.e. the shop at a Ford dealership) will use aftermarket parts if they have a relationship with an insurer. The number one reason that most shops will use aftermarket parts is price. Almost without fail, aftermarket parts are cheaper than the comparable OEM part. Unfortunately, most often, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is true when it comes to aftermarket parts. Usually, to get an aftermarket part that is of the same or similar quality to the original part, you would have to pay as much, if not more, than you would for an OEM part. Most body shops are not willing to pay the extra money to get a quality aftermarket part. After all, they’re using aftermarket parts to save money, not spend it. Studies done by various groups, including Ford Motor Company, have shown that aftermarket parts are inferior to OEM and can be a serious detriment to the effectiveness of the safety measures in your vehicle. Not only that, if you’re in another accident in your vehicle, the next time you go back in for repairs, your repair bill will likely be considerably higher than if you had used OEM parts. For more on this, check out this YouTube video about a study done by Ford: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPly9QFteso
In order to help you gain a better picture of the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts, I have to tell you a little more about OEM parts. OEM parts are parts that are made by the vehicle’s manufacturer. When you use an OEM replacement part, you are replacing the original part with a part direct from the manufacturer that is engineered to fit and perform exactly the same as the original. OEM parts offer a much more reliable repair than aftermarket parts. With an OEM part, you are assured of its quality. You know exactly what you are getting with an OEM part because it is exactly the same as the part you are replacing. This offers a certain peace of mind because you know what to expect from that part.
If you want the assurances and peace of mind that quality can bring, you are better off going with OEM parts. Insist that your body shop use only OEM parts to repair you vehicle. Otherwise, they may try to cut corners to save themselves and the insurance companies money. OEM parts may have a slightly higher cost associated with them, but the question you have to ask is, “Is it worth the extra cost to be assured of your safety?” If it is, go with OEM parts.

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