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Overall score: Excellent

"I had a rough collision with a deer during Thanksgiving week of this past year. I wanted to shop around to find a respectable collision service near my home. What I found was much more. I found Autotech on the internet and set up an appointment with them after the accident. The owner Dean, sat down with me and went over cost and timeline. He is dedicated and he indeed goes the extra mile, as described by others. I was constantly in contact with him about the status of my car during its repair, and it was repaired in a timely fashion. When I saw I found much more, I really mean it. The one on one service was something that you cannot get from a dealer. You can tell that Dean cares about his work by what he puts into it. Not to mention the most important thing: the car looks great! 5 stars!

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Why we don’t trust aftermarket parts.

Aftermarket/imitation parts are placed on vehicles every day at the request of the insurance company and the only benefit is that they are CHEAP. Insurance companies save money by pushing shops to use aftermarket parts. The down side of using aftermarket parts is that they have rarely been crash tested on vehicles. Crash tests are performed regularly to see how vehicles will hold up in the event of an accident and also for the protection and safety of the passengers. These tests are done with factory parts and hardly ever with aftermarket parts.

The manufacturers of aftermarket parts don't follow the same stringent engineering guidelines as the vehicle manufacturers. The result... aftermarket parts could void your factory warranty.

Factory primers, metal thickness, weight, and corrosion protection are some other areas where aftermarket parts fall short. The last thing that gets by most customers is the fit. Insurance referral shops are pressured to use the aftermarket parts in order to continue to remain part of the referral program. In many cases, extreme measures, such as reaming holes and forcing parts to fit, are taken by these shops in an attempt to keep their insurance partner happy. In the end, repairs made with aftermarket parts only benefit the insurance company and the customer is now left with a vehicle that might not be as safe and is worth considerably less money.

Below are some examples of why we don't like to use
aftermarket parts.


Read the full article here .

Watch crash repairs closely
Claims payment is where the rubber hits the road. Your insurer might push you to use shops in a direct-repair program (DRP) or use cheaper replacement parts, rather than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Tests have found that some non-OEM parts fit poorly, are more prone to rust and corrosion, don't always meet federal safety standards, and may not provide good protection in a crash.

In our survey, respondents' satisfaction with repairs was significantly lower among those who felt pressured to use DRP shops and non-OEM parts. And respondents who said they were pressured to use non-OEM parts had significantly more problems with their repairs.

Beware of hidden cost factors
Are low-cost replacement bumpers safe?

A number of auto insurers have recommended or required use of aftermarket crash parts, which are often produced in overseas factories and can be significantly cheaper than the parts from original equipment manufacturers. Unfortunately, the parts might also be cheaper in quality.

Some safety experts are concerned about the internal bumper parts: a bumper beam, bumper isolators, foam, crush cans, brackets, and radiator supports. In a frontal crash, those pieces work together to properly transmit the crash pulse, or vibrations from impact energy that moves through the vehicle, to air-bag sensors and away from the passenger compartment to reduce or prevent injury.

"There's a lot of engineering that goes into making a crash-protection system," says David Zuby, chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "You can't willy-nilly change those parts because the system may not work the way it was designed."

In July, Ford reported that its engineers had found alarming differences in two aftermarket parts tested. One bumper bar was made of mild steel, instead of the ultra-high-strength steel that the original Ford part uses. A radiator support was made of plastic instead of the magnesium used in the Ford part. In computer-simulated crash tests, the fakes changed the timing of the crash pulse, which might affect air-bag deployment.

"Differences in material could result in a difference in the timing of the air-bag deployment," says Mike Warwood, Ford's parts marketing and remanufacturing manager. "The air bag might deploy earlier than it should or later than it should. Or it might deploy when it shouldn't or not deploy at all when it should."

Ford's testing follows a demonstration last year by Toby Chess, a master collision-repair instructor, who used a reciprocating saw to easily slice through an aftermarket bumper bar. The saw couldn't cut through the original automaker bumper bar.

Some insurers have suspended use of the bumpers in repairs. In February, the Certified Automotive Parts Association, which certifies the quality of some aftermarket replacement parts (but not bumpers), tested a sample of aftermarket bumpers. It found "serious deficiencies" in metal hardness, material thickness, and fit.

Bottom line
Don't let your insurance company pressure you into using aftermarket collision-repair body parts, especially safety-related ones. If your car has already been repaired, check your invoices or ask your insurer to see whether aftermarket parts were used. If knockoffs were used, demand that they be replaced with original equipment.




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