Choosing the Best Auto Repair Parts

Your car is one of your largest investments—an investment that you depend on everyday. When you get in an accident, the repair process can be stressful, however, working with your insurance company and local repair shop does not need to be painful. We want to make sure you get understand the process.

What are Your Options?

The insurance company will show you a list of preferred or recommended auto body repair shops. These shops have been approved by the insurance company to make estimates and repairs on their own. This ideally means you get fixed faster. It might also mean the repair shop is looking out for the insurance company more than you. You do NOT have to use any of these shops, it is the LAW that you have freedom of choice. If you have a local shop you can use them instead of the insurance company’s chosen shop.

What are OEM Parts?

One of the most common concerns with insurance company preferred shops is that they are pressured by the insurance company to keep costs down. This is often most evident in the parts with which they choose to make repairs. In the industry people generally refer to three different types of parts:

  • OEM, or Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, are new replacement parts built by the original maker to the original specifications.
  • LKQ (Like Kind and Quality) parts refers to used, recycled, or rebuilt OEM parts.
  • Aftermarket parts are made by a third party manufacturer and may or may not be built to the same specifications as the OEM part.

Why are Some Parts Bad?

Many insurance companies favor aftermarket parts because it costs less. However, these parts come with a risk:

  • Since these parts may not be designed for your specific model car, it can be harder for a shop technician to install the part properly.
  • It can be a gamble. Some could be great but others may diminish your car’s value and safety and come without a warranty.

Pennsylvania law states that estimates must identify when non-OEM parts are used

If you have a fairly new vehicle, you’ll want to make sure OEM parts are used for repairs. While LKQ and aftermarket parts may sometimes be just as good quality, it’s hard to know what you’ll really get. Make sure you talk it over with your trusted auto repair shop instead of only listening to what the insurance company has to say.

If your car received poor quality parts, you may not pass post-repair inspections. Learn more about post-repair inspections.