Aftermarket or Imitation Parts


Imitation parts are typically new parts that have been made by someone other than your vehicle manufacturer.

This means that someone not authorized by your vehicle’s manufacturer has tried to duplicate a part to be used in repairing your vehicle.

Since the part to be used in repairing your vehicle was not produced by the auto maker, it hasn’t been made according to the specifications mandated by the auto maker, it wasn’t produced on the same equipment, and often, is not made from identical materials.

As a result, these parts often do not fit properly, may or may not wear as well, and may interfere with the performance and safety features, like airbags and their deployment.

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.

In 2010, the collision industry became so concerned about insurers demanding the use of certain imitation structural parts in the repairs of vehicles that the repairers began performing testing demonstrations at national collision industry meetings to alert fellow repairers of the potential dangers of using these parts.

Ford Motor Company then performed a series of tests confirming that the tested parts are not of of “like, kind and quality” as represented by the imitation parts makers and Insurers and typically required by state law.

Click Here or above to see what 7/100’s of a difference means to the deployment of your safety restraint system airbag.


Unlike the parts made by your vehicle’s manufacturer, these aftermarket or imitation parts are not crash tested 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 crash tested by any governmental entity, and typically not crash tested by any independent entity at all.

That means that someone only thinks this part will perform as well as the one made by your vehicle’s manufacturer, but doesn’t really know if it will.

Aftermarket 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.

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.

Some insurers aren’t consistent about whether the use of aftermarket or imitation parts in your repair will affect the value of your vehicle.

When they want you to have your vehicle repaired with aftermarket parts, they tell you that those parts will not have a negative impact on the value.

They save money by convincing you to have your vehicle repaired with cheaper, aftermarket parts rather than parts authorized by your auto maker.