“A vehicle is required to pass a multitude of crash tests before the
vehicle is sold to consumers,” says Paul Massie, Ford powertrain and collision product marketing manager. “In sharp contrast,
aftermarket copy parts face no crash test requirements prior to
distribution, and have not been proven to work effectively with the
rest of the vehicle’s components. Copy parts should be subjected to the
same government safety tests as the original parts so consumers can see
the true costs that come with using many copy parts.”
In its blog, Consumer Reports recently ran stories about the testing,
deficiencies, and dangers of using some of these imitation parts -- and
advises consumers that use of non-genuine auto maker parts in repairing
your vehicle can place your safety at risk.
Unlike the parts made by your vehicle's manufacturer, these imitation parts are not crashtested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") that oversees the federal motor vehicle safety standards for newly manufactured vehicles. In fact, they are not crashtested by any governmental entity, and typically not crashtested by any independent entity at all. That means that someone only thinks this part will perform as well as the one made by your auto's manufacturer, but doesn't really know if it will.
In 2001, the federal Government Accountability Office ("GAO") reviewed issues that had arisen about the use of these imitation parts in the repair of motor vehicles.
In its report, the GAO concluded that NHTSA had almost no ability to recall imitation parts installed on consumers' vehicles if they were found to be defective. GAO also recommended that NHTSA include testing of these imitation parts in its program. NHTSA maintains that it has no obligation and no Congressional mandate to do so. In other words, NHTSA still doesn't test these parts to make certain they are safe, and no other government entity does either.
Tell us what you think about the use of imitation parts in collision repairs by clicking here to take a 10 question survey.
Some insurers aren't consistent about whether the use of imitation parts in your repair will affect the value of your vehicle. When they want you to have your vehicle repaired with imitation parts, they tell you that those parts will not have a negative impact on the value. But get in to another accident, and that same insurer may be using the fact that your vehicle was repaired with imitation parts to reduce a total loss value it might offer you.
In this situation, insurers enjoy the best of both worlds. They save money by convincing you to have your vehicle repaired with cheaper, imitation parts rather than parts authorized by your auto maker. Then, when you are involved in another accident, they save money by punishing you for allowing your vehicle to be repaired with imitation parts in a prior accident and reducing the amount of money you are offered if they declare the vehicle a total loss.
IMPROVING INFORMATION ONE VEHICLE AT A TIME