Although attending to your medical needs should be your first priority after an auto accident, you'll definitely want to make sure any necessary repairs are made to your vehicle in a timely fashion. There are several factors to consider as you're having your vehicle repaired, but one that is often overlooked is the difference between aftermarket parts and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.
What Are Aftermarket Parts?
An aftermarket part is any vehicle part that comes from a source other than the original manufacturer. Aftermarket parts can be:
- Replacements for parts damaged through normal wear and tear
- Replacements for parts damaged in a collision
- Parts used to customize the vehicle's appearance
- Parts used to customize the vehicle's performance
When you have your vehicle repaired at a car dealership, you can be assured that you're getting OEM parts. If you take your car to an independent repair shop, there is a 75% to 80% chance the parts used will be aftermarket parts unless you request otherwise.
The largest source of aftermarket parts in the United States is found online at sites such as Amazon and eBay Motors.
What Type of Parts Are Best for Vehicle Repairs?
Aftermarket parts are popular because they tend to be more affordable and easier to locate than OEM parts. However, there are a number of reasons why you may want to stick to OEM parts for your vehicle repairs following an auto accident:
- The source, condition, and durability of non-OEM parts are often unknown, which can create a safety hazard when you're back on the road. In some cases, you may be at a higher risk of being involved in an auto accident due to the use of aftermarket parts.
- Your vehicle warranty may be voided if you use aftermarket, salvage, or reconditioned parts.
- If you plan to sell the vehicle at a later date, the use of non-OEM parts will decrease its value because of poor quality structural integrity, finish, fit, and appearance. The effect of aftermarket parts on resale value is most pronounced when your vehicle is a newer or luxury automobile.
What Will the Insurance Company Pay for?
Car insurance policies are designed to help drivers repair their vehicles to "like kind and quality” condition. If you're seeking repairs for an accident caused by another driver's negligence, you have a right to request that only OEM parts be used on your vehicle. If you're seeking repairs for an accident that was your fault, your insurance company may only be willing to pay for aftermarket parts when making the necessary repairs. However, you should be able to pay the difference in price if you wish to have OEM parts used instead.
Louisiana law states that insurers who wish to use non-OEM aftermarket parts to repair your motor vehicle must provide written notice of the type of parts being used. When non-OEM parts are used, a repair estimate must identify each part and provide a disclosure that reads, "This estimate has been prepared based on the use of crash parts supplied by a source other than the manufacturer of your motor vehicle. Warranties applicable to these replacement parts are provided by the manufacturer or distributor of these parts rather than the manufacturer of your vehicle." When aftermarket parts are used, the parts must have the logo or name of the manufacturer on a sticker or inscription in an area that's clearly visible after installation.
If you're having trouble getting your vehicle repairs made in a timely fashion, retaining an experienced attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf is a smart move. Insurance companies are primarily interested in saving money, so it's important to have someone on your side who is committed to seeing that your vehicle is repaired in a satisfactory manner.
Your attorney can help settle all aspects of your claim for car accident compensation, including property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To learn more, please contact the legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault. Free, no-obligation initial consultations are available at six locations throughout Louisiana.