Consumer Reports Issues Warning about Aftermarket Parts in Latest Issue
September 28, 2010

The October issue of Consumer Reports (CR) includes a warning to consumers about possible pressures from insurers to use aftermarket parts when repairs are made to their vehicles. Though auto glass isn't specifically addressed, the warning includes all safety-related parts.

"Don't let your insurance company pressure you into using aftermarket collision-repair body parts, especially safety-related ones," writes the magazine. "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."

The article also advised that "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 also might be cheaper in quality," adds CR.

The article also cites testing conducted on aftermarket bumper bars by Ford—which found that a saw could easily slice through an aftermarket bumper bar, while it couldn't cut through the original OEM part.

The Independent Glass Association recently weighed in on the issue as well with a bulletin to its members.

"If a consumer was paying cash for the repair of their vehicle, they would be advised of the differences in quality and price and therefore, would have the information to make an informed choice," writes IGA. "Either pay for the aftermarket parts or the OEM parts. The choice would be theirs' after taking into account factors like the resale value of their vehicle, their own safety, etc."

The IGA adds, "The same should hold true with an insurance policy."

The warning appears as part of a multi-page article about how to save money on car insurance, and appears in a box called "Are low-cost replacement bumpers safe?"

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