Your vehicle was literally built from the ground up for your safety. When manufacturers build vehicles, they use a combination of various grades of metal to absorb energy in the event of an accident. Softer metals like mild steel are used on the lower part of the vehicle, and as they build the car upwards they increase the strength of that metal to harder metals, such as boron steel. Manufacturers spend billions of dollars crash-testing their vehicles, to ensure all the parts in the energy path properly direct energy throughout this critical crumple zone. This crumple zone will protect you by crumpling like an accordion, absorbing the energy from the collision before it reaches you in the driving compartment.
Replacement Parts & Your Safety
In the event of an accident there are two ways to repair your vehicle. The factory repair guidelines call for OEM parts, while the mega-insurers & their adjusters push repairers to use cheaper non-OEM parts (better known as aftermarket parts). Even though agencies like CAPA (Certified Automotive Parts Association) and NHTSA (National Highway Safety Administration) test aftermarket parts and certify them to be of the same quality as the original, these agencies do NOT perform crash testing.
The bottom line is that the energy path can be altered with the use of non-OEM parts because they can either be stronger or weaker than the parts the manufacturer had originally designed. Something as seemingly insignificant as a bumper reinforcer can wreck the whole equation. And not only does this affect the critical crumple zone. “The air bag may deploy earlier than it should or later than it should. Or it may deploy when it shouldn’t or not deploy at all when it should,” says Mike Warwood, Ford’s parts marketing and remanufacturing manager (as cited in Consumer Reports).
How Does This Affect You?
OEM parts have been tested in conjunction with the other components of the vehicle and how they relate to each other; aftermarket parts have not. Unfortunately, the state of Oregon does not require insurers to pay for OEM parts, this sets the certified repairer up for a battle with the insurance company. Our certifying manufacturers require us to use OEM parts; the mega-insurers adjusters stonewall to save a few dollars. This push & pull can add days – weeks in some cases – to your repair time.
What Can You Do?
Your safety, and the safety of your passengers, matters more than a few dollars saved on a part. Help us protect you by communicating with your agent at the outset of your repair and insisting on OEM parts. Like Precision, your agent is there to advocate on your behalf, even though the mega-insurer’s corporate policies unfortunately may not look out for your best interests.