Chances are if you’ve been in an auto accident, you’ve probably been confused by all the terminology like aftermarket, remanufactured, salvage, and OEM parts. What’s the difference anyway? In honor of Valentines Day this week, let’s compare the auto body replacement parts to flowers you might see in your Valentine’s bouquet.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. It’s the rose, without a doubt. Created specifically by your vehicle manufacturer to to match the fit and finish of your automobile, they are most commonly used on newer model vehicles after an accident. The problem is that generally speaking, OEM is the most expensive part replacement option. Your auto insurance policy probably has a clause that limits the use of OEM parts to vehicles within a few years of their production date. Check with your agent to verify your own choverage and discuss adding an OEM parts rider to your policy if the use of OEM parts is important to you.
Aftermarket parts are like Carnations, they look good – they smell nice. Nobody turns away a bouquet of red carnations, but they aren’t a rose. Aftermarket parts are new parts that are manufactured by a company other than your vehicle manufacturer. Many times they are a great option to repair an older model car after an accident, especially if you’re worried about the car being declared a total loss. A good body shop will test fit any aftermarket part to ensure that it truly is a good fit and match for your particular vehicle. If it’s not, than we have a case for asking the insurance company to use an OEM part. It’s also sometimes possible to ask an OEM parts provider to match the price of aftermarket part, if the difference is not that much.
Salvage parts – or previously test driven parts – are the mum in the group. They have staying power. They are used OEM parts that came from the same make, model, and year as the vehicle you are driving now. It’s important that the auto body shop performing the repair thoroughly inspect the used part to make sure it’s not damaged or rusted, and indeed correctly matches your vehicle. They are often a great option to consider if using OEM parts is important to you, but not covered by your insurance policy. They can be sourced from salvage yards all over the country, and shipped to your repair facility.
Remanufactured parts are the baby’s breath – a pleasant surprise.The term remanufactured usually (not always) refers to a part that, for all practicable purposes, has been completely remanufactured to the standard of a new part. We see them mostly with bumper replacements. When available, they are a great way to use an OEM standard part for the price of an aftermarket.
Another consideration with any part replacement is time – is the cost savings gained by using a non OEM part great enough to justify additional rental car days if the part is hard to locate or coming from far away. Your repair facility should weigh all of these options, working closely with your insurance company, to ensure the best part, at the right time, is available for your auto body repair work.
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