Are parts just 'parts'? -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Are parts just 'parts'?

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  South Georgia auto body shops warn you to check your car insurance policies.  The replacement parts your insurance company requires for your car could put your life in jeopardy. 

Shop owners say more South Georgians are buying cut rate car insurance.  One way they cut costs is to require body shops to use the cheapest parts when fixing your car.  

Do you know the difference between OEM or AF parts, and have you checked your car insurance policy to see which type of parts they require be used repairing your car?    

Body shop owners say you should, because inferior parts could compromise your safety. Charlie's Paint and Body owner Tammy Mays says some of the auto parts that insurance policies say must be used in repairing cars are just plain junk.

"It just doesn't seem to be the same standard of metal.  The same grade as an O.E.M. part," said  Mays.

O.E.M. stands for Original Equipment Manufactured  parts made by your car maker. A. F.  stands for after market, parts made by other companies. 

"It is sorta like a generic part," Mays said. "It may be made in China or somewhere.  It's not made by your auto company. Some are called substandard, and some are not."

With more cars costing $40,000 or $50,000,  more repair work is being done to put them back together rather than totaling the vehicle.  Body shop owners say they are concerned that more insurance policies require cheap A. F. parts be used to fix your car-- parts that could be vital if your car is involved in another crash.

Mays said "Ask when you get your insurance, because when the car gets to a shop, we're obligated to repair it as the guidelines are stated in your policy.  So make sure about your policy when you buy.  Don't just shop around for the cheapest price.  You want quality as well, too."

Of course most drivers don't know to study their auto insurance policy that closely, so you are being warned what to ask questions about.

Mays said "A lot of it is written in a language that is hard for any of us to understand, unless you are used to writing or reading legal documents.  So ask the questions point blank to your agent.  They should be able to help you out."

Body shop owners point out that cheap replacement parts, especially in your suspension, may save the insurance company a few bucks, but could lead to serious, even life threatening problems down the road.

Of course all after market auto parts are not low quality. You want to make sure your auto insurance policy requires top quality parts be used in repairing your car, and you want to use an auto body shop that you trust to make sure you are getting parts that will protect you in case of another crash.    

Your insurance company may require after market parts for cosmetic repairs but still may use original equipment parts for crucial work.  It's something worth checking out on your policy.


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