When an auto repair shop in Pennsylvania performs an auto body repair on your car, they have three options for where they get the repair parts. These three are:
- from a junkyard
- from an aftermarket parts supplier
- direct from the manufacturer/dealer
To someone who is not too familiar with the specifications of auto repair, it may not seem like a big difference between each of these parts. However, there are significant differences between each one of these parts and it’s very important you know what is going on your car. The wrong parts can actually cause severe damage to your vehicle and place you at a higher risk for getting involved in an accident.
OEM parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. These parts are the same parts your car was manufactured with and are only available from the dealer. An example is if you own a Hyundai Kona, the parts for that car come directly from Hyundai and can only be purchased from a Hyundai dealer. They have never been used before and are specifically made for your vehicle.
OEM parts are the safest and highest quality for your car because they were designed only for your vehicle. The advanced technologies cars are built with today, such ADAS safety systems, require being repaired only with OEM parts. Using anything less can severely damage your vehicle and cause these safety features to no longer work properly.
In addition, OEM parts guaranteed to fit perfectly on your car without the risk of damaging any other parts of your car in the repair process. Although it’s clear these are the best choice out there for your car, they are also the most expensive. Because of this, insurance companies often hesitate paying for these repairs. In fact, your insurance policy may even state that you agree to the use of non-OEM parts, such as salvage or aftermarket.
If OEM parts are the best option for your car, then you wouldn’t want anything else, right? Well, we feel it’s our duty to let you know about salvage and aftermarket parts, as these may be what your insurance policy states. Just as the name implies, Salvage parts are purchased from a local salvage yard. In most cases, these are OEM parts, but it’s not guaranteed and they are used parts. For items such as doors and hoods, it is less of an issue. However, there are some insurance policies that require shops to use salvage suspension parts. This is an area where some manufacturers have had an issue in the past. In fact, some brands such as Volvo suggest that the steering rack gets completely replaced with any front end or sideswipe damage what so ever.
Aside from that, one of the biggest problems with salvage parts is they are not at all ready to be placed on your car. They’ll more times than not require some work of their own before they in a good enough condition to be placed on your car. These salvage parts might even have more wear and tear than your actual vehicle. Of course, we will paint them to match (IF we even find the need to use them), but sometimes they require some metalwork. This is clearly not a favorable option, especially when we know simply using an OEM part is the best option all around.
Lastly, we’re here to tell you about what aftermarket parts are and what does that mean for your car. Between the three different part options, this is, by far, the least desirable for both the auto body repair shop and you, the customer. Aftermarket parts are made by a company other than the original part manufacturer and in no way capable of giving you the same level of repair that you’d get from OEM repairs. These parts are low quality, rarely properly fit on your car, and are often part of recalls for warranty issues. You can tell when a car has had an aftermarket repair when certain parts are not fitting as well as you’d expect for them to on the car. Aftermarket parts are also the least expensive option out there, and you can see why. Car manufacturers highly recommend not using aftermarket parts. If an auto repair shop uses them for the repair of your vehicle, it can also void your warranty without your knowledge. This is why it’s critical you know exactly what parts are going on to your car.
What Are Your Options As A Pennsylvania Car Owner?
If you are against using anything other than OEM parts, the easiest thing to do is to pay the difference out of pocket. This can be a reasonable amount, but it can also be very expensive, depending on what we need to do with your car. However, it is the best option out there and what every car manufacturer requires for proper car repair. That said, there are no laws demanding the use of OEM parts. In fact, Pennsylvania is a state that doesn’t require technicians to have a license to work on your car. This is why it’s critical you take your car to be repaired somewhere that knows the importance of these repairs.
Another option is to contact your insurance adjuster and see if they would be willing to reconsider the parts usage of your car. Some insurance companies are easier to deal with than others. They may just make some special considerations in your case, especially when you let them know you only want what’s best for your car (namely, OEM repairs).
Here at 3D Collision Centers, we’re also here to assist you throughout the entire repair process. Your safety is our number one priority and we never take any shortcuts in the repair process. Our team of technicians are all highly trained in OEM repairs and know what it means to give you the best repair out there. In fact, our technicians are all I-CAR Gold Class certified, which is the highest level of certification an auto repair technician can receive.
We will work with you and your insurance company to make sure any question is answered and you have your car returned back to you in as little time as possible.
We have 7 different locations, conveniently located across Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery counties.
We look forward to hearing from you!