Many people involved in a collision aren’t sure if OEM parts, aftermarket parts, or even used (LKQ) parts are used in repairing their vehicles following a collision. All you really know is that you want your car repaired as quickly as possible – and you want it to look perfect, as though it’s never been in an accident. As Kansas City collision repair specialists, we think it’s important for consumers to know the importance of using OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts, and the difference between these and aftermarket or used parts.
To begin with, most dealership’s service departments use OEM parts; however, many independent auto body repair shops use aftermarket parts. Considering many people choose an independent shop, it’s important to be aware of this difference. If you’re considering an independent body shop, be sure to ask whether OEM parts are used in making repairs.
Why does it matter?
Many collision repair professionals claim aftermarket parts are equal to (or just as good as) OEM parts, however auto insurance companies will not fully cover OEM parts, leaving the insured to pay the difference. In certain situations, only original equipment manufacturer parts provide the perfect fit.
So, what are the advantages of OEM parts over aftermarket or LKQ (used) parts?
While aftermarket and used parts are less costly, OEM parts are made by your vehicle’s manufacturer. This means that the parts used in repairing your vehicle match precisely to those that were original to your car when it rolled off the assembly line. OEM parts usually come with a warranty, whereas aftermarket or used parts may or may not. Most auto manufacturers back their parts with a one-year warranty. In addition, original equipment manufacturer parts provide the performance and familiarity you are used to, working exactly as the parts that are being replaced.
What are the drawbacks with aftermarket or used parts used in collision repair?
The primary difference is that quality can vary tremendously, as some aftermarket parts are designed using sub-par materials. In addition, if you’re not familiar with brands, making the selection of which part to use can be overwhelming as there are so many. Some aftermarket and used parts also do not provide a warranty, so keep that in mind.
Used or aftermarket parts may not fit perfectly, while OEM parts do as they’re made directly by the manufacturer of your vehicle rather than a third party. Companies who manufacture aftermarket parts do not focus on a particular make and model of vehicle, but instead produce high volumes of parts for countless makes and models.
While aftermarket and used parts can save you money, it really all boils down to your personal preference. Do you want you car to be in the original state it was in when you purchased it? Is your car fairly new, or are you a car enthusiast who would prefer to have parts designed by the manufacturer that are intended for your specific make/model?
Some owners are after the cheapest price, and really don’t care where the parts originate, or how well they fit, how long they last, performance, etc.
Ultimately, whether you choose to have a Kansas City collision repair professional who uses OEM parts or aftermarket/used parts is up to you. In some situations, such as when a body panel is damaged in a crash, and aftermarket part may not be effective in terms of crash safety, and may not fit properly. OEM parts are all created equal, whereas aftermarket parts are not – you never know what you’re getting.
When you want only the best and desire to keep your vehicle in its original condition, trust the KC collision repair specialists at Prestige Auto KC. Taking care of one of your biggest investments and treating it with TLC is our specialty!