Crash Parts 1

Autobody Crash Parts: Quality Makes a Difference

When it comes to quality there should be no debate. The GCIA and its member shops want their customers to be informed and provides the following information as a useful guide to understanding the important issue of automotive replacement crash parts.

Many insurance companies favor imitation “crash parts” such as hoods, doors, fenders and bumper components for repairs simply based on cost. While imitations may appear identical on the surface, there’s evidence that imitation crash parts, most of which are produced in Taiwan, are of lesser quality. The GCIA believes that the consumer should have the right to decide what parts will be used to repair collision damage to their vehicle. Before making a decision on which replacement parts you want used to repair your vehicle, take a few moments to review the facts.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) replacement crash parts that meet specifications are the same as those used on new vehicles; with equivalent fit, finish, structural integrity, corrosion protection and dent resistance.

The quality picture is much less clear for imitation parts. Recent testing of imitation crash parts performed by an independent research laboratory uncovered a variety of deficiencies in the fit, finish, structural integrity, corrosion protection and dent resistance of the parts tested. This news is not new. Previous tests by other vehicle manufacturers and independent collision repair organizations have consistently found similar problems … despite assurances from the proponents of imitation crash parts that they are of “like kind and quality” (LKQ) or “functionally equivalent” to genuine OEM crash parts.

What could the use of substandard imitation parts mean to you and to the investment you have made in your vehicle? Here are a few examples:

  • Poor fit can mean that the gaps between the exterior sheet metal and plastic parts on your vehicle may be uneven, or that the repairer may have to force the parts to fit.
  • Substandard finish can mean that unsightly waves and ripples may be apparent on the surfaces of parts and that inadequate or insufficient surface preparation may jeopardize the durability of finish paints.
  • Structural integrity can be compromised when insufficient welds or inadequate adhesives are used. For example, to connect the two panels that make up a hood.
  • Insufficient corrosion protection can mean that rust may result in areas where regular steel has been used in place of more corrosion-resistant galvanized steel.
  • Less dent resistance can mean that exterior panels on your vehicle are more susceptible to dings and dents.

WARRANTY

When genuine replacement sheet metal parts are used for collision repairs to your vehicle, all other terms of your vehicle’s original limited warranty remain in effect. See your dealer for details.

Warranties for imitation crash parts are generally less comprehensive. Some cover costs for replacement parts only, and exclude labor charges. Some require that repairs be made at the same shop that completed the original repair. Some limit the coverage terms to five years or less. When imitation crash parts are used, collateral damage caused by substandard imitations may not be covered by your vehicle’s original warranty.

Remember that the basic obligation of your insurance company is to return your collision-damaged vehicle to its pre-accident condition. In light of the quality shortcomings identified above, you need to ask if your insurance company can meet its obligation by using imitation parts. The quality of your vehicle can be restored with the use of genuine replacement crash parts.

Read more on Crash Parts – go to our section on FAQs about Crash Parts.

Be sure to click on all of the additional links we have provided in the menu tabs at the top of this page. There’s a wealth of information available here, including what to do after an accident, and much more. We hope you have found our site useful and welcome your comments and suggestions on how we can improve our efforts. Contact us through phone or eMail at: 770.367.9816 or gcia@gcia.org.