After a fender bender or more serious crash, auto body shops offer a choice between OEM auto body parts and aftermarket parts. There are a lot of opinions on which is better, which is more cost-efficient and which is the wise decision. Shops in and around Madison WI offer options.
In most situations vehicle owners are looking for the quickest, least costly repairs. And, insurance companies often try to influence the decision – directing the use of a low-cost alternative. Are insurance companies cutting corners to save money? To keep insurance rates lower and repair costs down they dictate the use of low-cost parts. And, that often means aftermarket parts labeled “just as good as” those from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Whether that claim is true is an ongoing debate that isn’t likely to end any time soon.
In most cases, the decision on the quality of parts used in your auto body repair is up to you. You might have to dig deeper into your own pocket, but it’s your choice. The bottom line is simple: you decide what goes into your vehicle. You choose the auto body repair shop and the method it uses.
Defining OEM Auto Body Parts
An OEM part comes from the vehicle manufacturer and is the same thing put on your car, truck or SUV at the factory. You may pay a premium to use them, but OEM choices are the least likely to cause concern. They should fit seamlessly and many consider them (especially insurance companies) as the safest options because they meet all the same standards as those used in the original assembly of your vehicle. None of this means they are any better than aftermarket parts, they are just the same as the ones you are replacing.
When deciding between OEM part and aftermarket choices, consider:
- Price – parts from the factory are, in general, more expensive.
- Quality – manufactured specifically to your vehicle’s specific year, make and model they guarantee a factory fit. Overall quality should be the same or better than what came on your car.
- Availability – going with an OEM part narrows the available choices and sources of parts so don’t be surprised by delays. On the other hand, parts are certain to fit so the final assembly should be quicker.
- Warranty – OEM parts often carry longer, more comprehensive warranties than aftermarket alternatives. Vehicle warranties are not compromised by OEM parts, either.
Evaluate Aftermarket Auto Part Options
Aftermarket parts are made by a manufacturer other than the vehicle’s original builder. However, being made by another company doesn’t mean they are lower quality. They are usually made to the exact manufacturer’s specification – some are actually made in the same factory in which the OEM equivalent is made. Some fit exactly right, some do not. A good way to insure you’re getting the highest quality aftermarket parts is to require certification of the replacement parts. There are national and international groups certifying the quality and workmanship of aftermarket pieces. It’s the least you should expect when your family’s safety is on the line, right? Federal agencies, like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have safety regulations for many aftermarket car parts.
Comparing OEM and aftermarket choices? Consider the same qualities:
- Price – the most often cited selling point, aftermarket parts are less expensive.
- Quality – if a part is less expensive is it the same quality? There’s no right answer. Aftermarket parts have come a long way in recent years. If OEM parts consistently fail, aftermarket part makers may correct defects faster than OEMs. Or, aftermarket part supplies may cut corners to stay price competitive. Best way to feel safe is to work with an auto body shop you can trust.
- Availability – aftermarket parts are often more readily available so your body shop can get them quicker and turn your car repair around sooner.
- Warranty – aftermarket parts may not have a warranty and when they do it is usually much more limited than with an OEM equivalent. Applying aftermarket parts to a vehicle with an existing overall factory warranty may impact that warranty, too.
Trusted Pros Provide OEM Auto Body Parts
So, when the time comes what do you choose? Are OEM parts basically better and more reliable, or are aftermarket parts really “just as good” as many claim? Unless you have a depth of auto industry knowledge, you cannot be sure, right? When in doubt, ask an auto body repair professional. An experienced technician has seen both in place and can provide appropriate guidance.
Protecting and restoring vehicles of all sizes and shapes is an AutoColor specialty. We rely upon the latest technology and products to provide cost-effective solutions.
Call or stop into one of our local auto body shops: on Madison’s West side in Middleton on Parmenter Road; on Madison’s East Side on Stoughton Road near Buckeye Road to schedule an appointment. Make AutoColor your choice for professional auto body repairs and for honest evaluations of OEM auto body parts vs. aftermarket options in the Madison WI area.
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