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Adam Graves
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Risks in Auto Repairs with Aftermarket Parts


The automotive aftermarket is big business – estimated by Autocare Association to be worth $273.4 in 2017 – that includes manufacturing, remanufacturing, distribution, retailing, and installation of all vehicle parts, tools, equipment and accessories for vehicles, after the sale of the automobile by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to the consumer.Limousine

One aspect of the automotive aftermarket is non-OEM replacement parts.  These are commonly available through auto parts stores like Advance, O’Reilly, NAPA, and also through used-parts dealers (“junkyards”), and auto body repair shops. The primary “advantage” of aftermarket parts is price – they are substantially less expensive than their OEM counterparts. However, one must consider the real cost of choosing cheap replacement parts.

Insurance Companies Cutting Corners?

Just last year, CNN reported that auto-insurers were trying to take advantage of cheap prices by forcing repair shops to use aftermarket parts when repairing crash damage. Repair shops from some 36 states are joining a lawsuit against these insurance companies alleging the repairs forced by some insurance companies are dangerous.

Buddy Caldwell, attorney general of Louisiana, has filed suit against State Farm insurance, saying its low-cost repair program could be dangerous for customers who get back on the road in vehicles that are not roadworthy.

He said he fears thousands of Americans could be driving round in vehicles repaired with what he calls junkyard parts after seeking repairs from body shops recommended by their auto insurance companies who took their premiums and picked up the bill.

carsThe issue is a nationwide one, said John Eaves, the lead attorney for the body shops involved in the lawsuit.


“It involves people from Maine to Mississippi to California. Every state in the Union has experienced the same sort of struggle here between the body shops trying to do the work the right way, and the insurance companies trying to cut corners and force them to use unsafe parts and unsafe methods on their cars,” he said.


OEMs Do Not Approve

Ford Motor Company issued a 2010 press release regarding non-OEM parts which included the results of tests performed by Ford’s Material Composition and Computer Aided Engineering department comparing OEM bumper beams, bumper isolators, bumper brackets, and radiator supports to their aftermarket equivalents.

These Ford tests found major differences between genuine Ford original equipment replacement parts and aftermarket copies. Ford found that non-OEM parts performed differently in crash tests because the aftermarket parts were not of like kind and quality as Ford’s original equipment and certified replacement parts.

Paul Massie, the powertrain and collision product marketing manager at Ford, said the tests “highlight the dangers of being penny-wise and pound-foolish, as less-expensive copy parts could lead to much higher repair costs down the road. All drivers should be aware that copy parts can compromise both the safety performance and the long-term repair costs of your vehicle”.


Counterfeit Parts on the Rise

To make matters even worse, consumers now have to worry about counterfeit or knock-off parts making their way into the steam of commerce. These parts are often sold in branded packaging and carry brand markings, but are in fact cheaply made and potentially dangerous fakes.  In June, Chinese police seized 33,000 counterfeit parts, worth almost $750,000 US Dollars, destined for sale in Australia.

“While this seizure is shocking, sadly itʼs not uncommon and using counterfeit parts, knowingly or otherwise, means you’re taking a huge risk,” he says in a statement.

It offers a clear reminder to consumers that just because they see a branded box, bag or label they shouldnʼt assume theyʼre buying a genuine part. The way to avoid safety concerns posed by fake parts is to ensure you or your repairer sources genuine replacement parts from the vehicle makerʼs authorized supply chain.



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  1. Mohamad Idrakisyah says:
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    It is a common phenomenon across the globe today. Auto Insurers are driven by greed to maximise profit. Collect high premiums from drivers and pay out less to repair shops. Money saved is money earned. OEM is not helping either. They too are game for high profit margins. It’s time OEM’s get efficient and start sell these original parts at competitive pricing. That ought slowly but surely put after market & fake parts suppliers wind up their operations.

  2. Jonathan Campbell says:
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    The risk in aftermarket parts normally starts with what is stated in the insurance policy. If the repair will be paid by the insurance company and they insisted on using aftermarket parts instead of OEM, auto body shops must comply or they will not be paid. This is one of the dilemma faced by auto body repair shop. What if the aftermarket product does not fit, damaged or has poor quality? Some auto body repair shop will insist on using OEM if it is the only part that would fit perfectly, like with Airpark Collision Center located in Scottsdale AZ, if the aftermarket product is not of good quality, they refuse to compromise the quality, they will send pictures and receipts so the insurance company will have to pay for the OEM instead.

  3. Ivan Vilches says:
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    May 1, 2015

    The Honorable Gregory A. Presnell, U.S.D.J.
    United States District Court
    Middle District of Florida
    Orlando Division
    Re: MDL docket: 6-14-cv-2557-GAP-TBS

    Dear Judge Presnell:

    I, Jose Ivan Vilches, am not a party to these proceedings, but I am a victim of Defendant’s unlawful actions.

    For years, Insurance Companies have been promoting and facilitating the use of aftermarket auto parts as if these parts were a “legal alternative” to original parts. To further this, they have created “smoke and mirror” entities like CAPA as part of an elaborated consumer fraud scheme.

    Under Title 49, the Bumper Act of 1976 requires that all aftermarket parts sold in this country must pass a front and rear low speed collision test (DOT 581), without any damage.
    The “Bumper Law” is simple and clear; if a part is to replace an original, the part must comply with the standard.
    In fact, it is physically impossible to have tested the amount of aftermarket parts available to Insurance Companies.
    As a result, Insurance Companies have made thousands of passenger vehicles unsafe and illegal to use on public streets.

    As a former insurance company appraiser, I can testify to the fact that Insurance Companies have implemented a consumer fraud scheme that surpasses anything seen in this country. The sheer amount of victims makes this fraud scheme one of the largest.
    From rigging computers to appraisers’ quotas and mail fraud to steering, no tool has been left in the drawer to bring this consumer fraud scheme to bear its fruits.

    Unchallenged, Insurance Companies will continue to pray on the unsuspected.

    At the Court’s request, I will provide documentation.

    Respectfully submitted,

    /s/ Jose Ivan Vilches
    Jose Ivan Vilches
    627 Highland Ave.
    Little Falls NJ, 07424