The Three Categories of Auto Parts: OEM, Aftermarket, and Recycled

Posted by Chris Medine on May 4, 2018 11:54:45 AM

Mechanic lying and working under car at the repair garageAmong the many confusing elements to consider during the insurance claim and collision repair process for your vehicle is which parts will be used.  Your insurance company may recommend one type and your body shop another.  So, what’s the difference, and how are you to know which is really the best for your car?  In total, there are three categories of parts that can be used to repair a vehicle.  We’ll define them here in order from most desirable to least.

What are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Parts?

Just as the name would suggest, OEM parts are those produced by the manufacturer of your particular vehicle.  When it comes to auto part replacements, OEM parts are the gold standard.  They are specifically designed for your vehicle, so they will fit seamlessly and, in turn, offer the highest level of safety and cosmetic appearance.  However, insurance companies rarely use these parts for repair estimates despite the benefits to the consumer, as they are a higher cost option.  If you have been in an accident and would like to use OEM parts for the repair, check your policy.  You may already be paying for an OEM rider policy that guarantees these parts will be used whenever available.

What are Recycled or Reconditioned Parts?

Recycled or reconditioned parts are also parts that may be original to your vehicle’s particular make and model.  The catch is that they have been previously used.  Still, these parts undergo some rigorous steps to ensure their quality and safety.  Before being offered for sale, they are cleaned, serviced, and tested to ensure quality and integrity.  When OEM parts are not an option, recycled and reconditioned parts are the next best bet and are available for a lower cost.

What are Aftermarket Parts?

Aftermarket parts fall at the bottom of the list.  They may be the cheapest available option, but there is a reason for this.  These parts are mass produced by third parties to fit a variety of vehicles, not just one make and model.  This means that, even though they may come close, aftermarket parts will never fit your car the way an OEM or reconditioned part would.  They may not necessarily be poorly produced, but even slight differences in fit can have an impact on both the way these parts look on the vehicle, as well as the level of protection they are able to provide.  These parts should be considered a final option when a better alternatives are not available or affordable.

At Medines Collision Center, we understand the importance that well-fitting, quality parts make in a repair.  That’s why we will always do our best to ensure that your vehicle is fitted with OEM parts whenever possible and recycled or reconditioned parts when OEM is unavailable.  The quality of your vehicle’s repair is a direct reflection on our business, and even if it means helping you get the parts you deserve covered by your insurance provider, we will do everything in our power to give you and your car the very best.  Contact our shop today to learn more about our repair process or to schedule your free estimate.

Medines Free Estimate

Topics: Collision Repair, Auto Parts