Are aftermarket parts as good as OEM parts?

My car's front bumper and hood needed replaced after an accident and my car insurance company required the body shop to use aftermarket parts. Are aftermarket parts as good as OEM parts?

There will always be a lively debate pitting the insurance companies against body shops and OEM part manufacturers. There have been numerous studies conducted that tested the crash-worthiness of aftermarket or non-OEM parts, and both sides of the argument can present their cases effectively. Some studies show little difference in the performance of aftermarket parts as compared to OEM replacement parts, while other studies have shown that certain aftermarket parts did not perform quite as well as OEM parts.

The benefit of having a aftermarket parts available is they tend to drive down the cost of OEM parts. This results in lower car insurance costs for all of us, but it always opens the debate to whether using non-OEM parts actually restores your vehicle to "pre-crash" condition.

Some body shop technicians have stated that non-OEM parts do not fit as well as OEM parts, and result in more body work being done than is necessary. Some argue that non-OEM parts are a thinner gauge steel than OEM parts or they don't have as much corrosion protection as OEM parts.

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The solution to the issue may be simply allowing consumers to purchase an option on their car insurance policy that allows them the choice to use OEM parts in the repair of their vehicle. When insurance companies mandate that body shops use aftermarket parts, they are not giving the insured a choice in the matter. By offering an endorsement at an additional cost to their policyholders, car insurance companies can be relieved of the ongoing litigation in the aftermarket vs. OEM debate.

The debate over whether aftermarket parts are as good as OEM parts will be ongoing, and there will be more court battles over whether insurance companies can be allowed to require body shops to use aftermarket parts to reduce the repair costs to car insurance companies. In the end, if you are satisfied with the repairs made on your car, and if your insurance company or the body shop backs up the repairs with the same guarantee afforded to OEM parts, then there really isn't any difference between OEM and aftermarket parts other than the cost.

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