The Importance of Using OEM Parts in Vehicle Repairs after a Car Accident in Louisiana
(Last Updated: May 4, 2022)
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident that has damaged your car, you have the right to request that your vehicle be repaired only with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) replacement parts. These are parts made and/or distributed by or for your car’s manufacturer. OEM parts are important in the repair of your care to ensure proper fit, function, and safety.
Note: if you’ve been injured, in addition to having damage to your vehicle, consult with an experienced car accident lawyer in New Orleans to ensure that you are treated fairly, and receive quality medical treatment and the full compensation you deserve.
Several factors will influence whether or not your request for OEM parts will be honored in the repair of your vehicle. Read on to learn more…
If You Were At Fault For the Auto Accident
If you were at fault and you have filed a claim with your own insurance company, you will need to check your insurance policy to see what allowances may, or may not be, made for certain replacement parts.
If your policy does not require that your insurance company pay for genuine OEM parts, you still don’t have to accept third-party replacements, although you will likely have to pay the difference in cost between the OEM parts you want, and the cheaper replacement parts that your insurer is willing to pay for.
If You Were NOT At Fault For the Auto Accident
If the accident was not your fault, and you have filed a damage claim with the guilty driver’s insurance company, at the time of publication of this article (August, 2016) you can insist that your vehicle be repaired with OEM parts. However, there are current efforts by the insurance industry to change this, and allow for forced use of non-OEM parts in certain circumstances with certain disclosures. The proposed exceptions (which have not passed through the Louisiana legislature, yet) do not apply to safety parts like antilock brakes and airbags.
Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance After an Accident in Louisiana
According to LA. R.S. 51:2424, no insurer shall specify the use of non-Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) aftermarket crash parts in the repair of an insured’s motor vehicle, nor shall a repair facility or installer use non-OEM aftermarket parts to repair a vehicle, unless the insured is so advised in writing.
In all instances where non-OEM aftermarket crash parts are intended for use by an insurer:
(1) The written estimate shall clearly identify each such part.
(2) A disclosure document containing the following information in ten point type or larger type shall appear on or be attached to the insured’s copy of the estimate: “This estimate has been prepared based on the use of crash parts supplied by a source other than the manufacturer of your motor vehicle. Warranties applicable to these replacement parts are provided by the manufacturer or distributor of these parts rather than the manufacturer of your vehicle.”
A car owner may request that his vehicle be repaired with OEM parts, but the owner may be responsible for the price difference in cost of such parts. The insurer of the at-fault driver is responsible for returning the vehicle to its pre-loss condition. If aftermarket parts do not void any current warranty on the vehicle, use of aftermarket parts is allowed. If an owner insists on OEM parts, the owner will likely have to pay the difference in cost.
Parts are classified as:
New — These parts generally are made to original manufacturer’s specifications, either by the vehicle manufacturer or an independent company. Louisiana requires repair shops to tell you if non-original equipment will be used in the repair. Prices and quality of these parts vary.
Remanufactured, rebuilt and reconditioned — These terms generally mean the same thing: parts have been restored to a sound working condition. Many manufacturers offer a warranty covering replacement parts, but not the labor to install them.
Recycled or Salvage — These are used parts taken from another similar vehicle without alteration. Recycled or salvage parts may be the only source for certain items, though their reliability is seldom guaranteed.
The Debate Between Using OEM and Non-OEM Parts
Whether non-OEM, or aftermarket, parts are equivalent to those manufactured by the car makers, themselves, has been the subject of extensive debate and litigation, nationwide. Supporters of using generic, remanufactured, or even recycled (junk) parts claim they are no different than using other types of generic or used products with the added benefit of their being less expensive. In fact, some proponents of aftermarket parts contend that sometimes they are actually better than the originals and that they incorporate improvements to OEM parts that were found to have been operating less than satisfactorily after being road-tested a few years. Also, sometimes OEM parts are simply not available for some older model cars.
Importance of Using OEM Parts to Repair a Vehicle Following an Accident:
Today’s vehicles use more advanced high-strength steels, exotic metals, and composite materials than ever before. They also include highly advanced crash avoidance and safety system technologies. It is critical for these systems to be repaired with parts that will deliver the intended level of form, function, performance, and safety the car’s engineers originally specified. The only way to be certain you are getting original equipment performance is to use genuine OEM replacement parts.
Some replacement parts are salvaged or reconditioned from other, similar vehicles and thus their source, condition, and durability are unknown. Using these types of parts can put the car owner of a repaired vehicle in a potentially unsafe situation.
Using non-OEM parts may decrease the resale value of a vehicle because of poor quality structural integrity, fit, finish, and/or appearance.
Using aftermarket, salvage, or reconditioned parts may void a car’s new vehicle warranty.
Insurance is designed to put you back as close as possible to the same position you were in before a loss and “like kind and quality” has traditionally been the standard for replacement.
The Bottom Line
You have made a major investment in your automobile, and because of another individual’s fault or negligence your vehicle has been damaged and is in need of repair. You should not have to accept the value of your car being diminished because it has been repaired with parts that are not equivalent to the original OEM parts placed there by the manufacturer.
All aftermarket parts are not created equal, but all OEM parts are.
In addition, you have already suffered the results of one accident. Using non-OEM parts may increase the likelihood that another accident can occur because a replacement part is faulty or simply not as good as the original. Your safety, and the safety of your passengers and loved ones, is not worth the risk of, or savings behind, using aftermarket, non-OEM parts. So, the bottom line is this: always insist on use of OEM parts in vehicle repairs after an accident.
Filing a Complaint in Louisiana
If you feel like you are being wronged or treated unfairly by the insurance company, you may consider filing a complaint with the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
Injured in an Auto Accident?
If you’ve been injured and would like to speak to an attorney about medical care and receiving the full, fair compensation you are entitled to, please contact us.