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Aftermarket Collision Parts Vs OEM Crash Parts

Educational  ·  August 5, 2020

Aftermarket Collision Parts Vs OEM Crash Parts

Road accidents are a risk that drivers face every single day that they’re out on the road. Yes, you always hope for the best, but you should also prepare for the worst. Assuming you come out safe from an accident, there’s the issue of repairs that will cost you time and money. In this article, we will discuss about OEM crash parts and non-OEM options like aftermarket collision parts, as well as LKQ and reconditioned parts. 

If some of these options sound new to you, worry not because we will start brushing up on these terms. 

What Are Collision Parts?

For starters, let's talk about what collision parts are. Sometimes called 'crash parts', these are the non-mechanical parts of your car. You may refer to them as the cosmetic parts of your car, such as the plastic or sheet metal that you find on the exterior of the vehicle. Now, as you might imagine, these parts aren't just regular plastic or sheet metal painted to look good. 

Automotive manufacturers only use materials that meet strict standards. The chosen materials must withstand the design force and environmental factors like rain and heat.

If your car gets some of its exterior panels damaged after a smashup, you'll need to get those parts replaced. Ideally, you'd want to use OEM crash parts.

What Are Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM Collision Parts?

You may have heard or seen the term ‘OEM parts’ around workshops. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and the name tells you everything you need to know about the quality. Automakers designed the parts in their vehicles and either manufactured these parts or commissioned an OEM to produce the parts according to their design specs. Generally, OEM parts cost more than other options out there but possess the exact quality and construction as the parts that came with your car when you bought it.

OEM parts typically come with excellent warranty coverage on the parts. If your car is still new, it’s a wise decision to use OEM crash parts. Using non-OEM crash parts does not necessarily void the manufacturer warranty, but you need to read the fine print. A non-OEM part that later causes damage to your car might lead to a voided warranty.

What About Non-OEM Crash Parts?

Non-OEM crash parts is a broad term that encompasses aftermarket parts, LKQ (Like Kind and Quality), reconditioned parts, and yes, even counterfeit parts. So, let’s talk about each of these terms.

Counterfeit Parts

Counterfeit parts look like the real deal, with phony marks and even branding, so buyers might not even know it’s a fake part they’re getting. In some cases, buyers may be aware that they're fake, but buy them anyway to save on costs. Don't be fooled by anyone telling you that counterfeit parts are 'just like the real thing'. You may save a few bucks, sure. But counterfeit parts won't function like original parts, and that means they could fail to protect you when you need it the most. There's no point in getting hurt or killed because of counterfeit parts.

LKQ (Like Kind and Quality) and Reconditioned Parts

LKQ and reconditioned parts, on the other hand, are genuine parts. But there's more to it than that!

Sellers usually salvage LKQ parts from cars just like yours. These parts come from retired cars and mined by professional wreckers but could also come from scrapped or abandoned vehicles. LKQ parts are mostly genuine, but there's no telling if they were appropriately removed, correctly stored, or if they have any hidden damage in them. In simpler terms, LKQ parts are a huge gamble if you’re buying from questionable sources.

Reconditioned parts are damaged parts that were restored. Again, there's no certainty as to how they were damaged, how they were repaired, and they may void your vehicle's warranty.

Aftermarket Collision Parts

Then, we come to the option of aftermarket parts. In the global auto industry, manufacturers other than the OEMs make the supply chain even more efficient and competitive. Aftermarket manufacturers produce parts designed to function like OEM parts. These replacement parts are brand new. They usually come with a warranty and could offer substantial savings. Better yet, some manufacturers offer enhanced performance and custom options, which you rarely get from OEM parts.

Still, there is a tradeoff. Aftermarket parts manufacturers might not use the same materials or produce parts with the same reliability as OEM parts. That said, there are plenty of high-quality aftermarket parts out there produced by some of the most reputable aftermarket car part brands. Most of these brands are themselves OEM for certain automakers but also produce aftermarket (aka ‘universal’) car parts.

However, there are two things you need to be aware of. First, your car's warranty may not cover any damage caused by faulty aftermarket parts. Second, aftermarket parts can affect your car's value.

Do Aftermarket Parts Decrease Your Car's Value?

Aftermarket parts can affect your car's value, either by increasing or decreasing it.

Certain high-quality aftermarket upgrades could drive your car’s value to the ceiling. Examples of this include installing alloy wheels, a cool body kit, or a high-tech entertainment system into your car.

Still, there's one thing you need to keep in mind. The more you customise your car, the less it'll appeal to general buyers if you decide to try and sell it later on. On the resale market, buyers prefer vehicles in their original state. So, a car that's already been customised for another driver might not appeal to them, which makes it tougher for you to sell the vehicle.

Aftermarket collision parts, particularly, are said to lower your car's value, not only because they cost less but also because they provide less protection than OEM parts do.

Are Insurance Companies Allowed to Use Non-OEM Crash Parts?

Yes, they can use non-OEM parts to repair your vehicle. Insurance companies will try to cut down on costs. So, instead of replacing your vehicle with top-of-the-line parts, they may resort to using non-OEM crash parts. The more familiar you are with various options, the better off you will be. 

Before you buy an insurance coverage for your car, it’s best to know more about the details of the policy. You may need to pay a higher premium if you prefer that only OEM parts be used in your car in the event of accidents and repairs. Even if the fine print allows the use of aftermarket collision parts, you may still request for OEM parts but be prepared to pay extra. 

There are some situations, though, that make it reasonable for insurers to use aftermarket parts on your vehicle. For instance, if your vehicle was purchased as a used vehicle or is already approaching the end of the road, it might not be wise to use expensive OEM crash parts

We hope you found this article useful. Remember, it always pays to know more about your car and keeping it in good shape. Whether it’s about regular servicing or replacing parts, has got you covered. Keep yourself updated – subscribe to our blogs

By Ray Hasbollah

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