OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufactured – When people in the automotive business world use the letters OEM they are talking about the entity that designed, created, produced, and made the product available to the public. The importance of knowing and understanding this language is to beware that there are other companies producing parts for your vehicle that are not the same as the parts originally installed on your vehicle. Yes, many of these parts are very good replacement parts and can save money in comparison to the original parts. However, beware that many of these parts are not of the same quality, fit, and finish as the parts produced by the original manufacturer. We call these parts aftermarket, generic, alternative, counterfeit and even reconditioned and rebuilt fall into this category. When your vehicle is being repaired under your insurance contract / policy you should know the difference between OEM and alternative parts.
Most insurance companies will estimate (appraise) for aftermarket replacement parts. Depending on the part this may not be safest alternative for you and your family. For example: Parts such as bumpers, bumper reinforcements, fenders, hoods, radiator supports and many other parts are considered structural parts. When a frontal impact occurs the bumper and the bumper absorber in tandem with the reinforcement bar absorb the force of the impact and identify the amount of force to the airbag sensor mounted on the radiator support. The airbag sensor identifies the amount of force absorbed and either deploys or does not deploy the airbags and the seat belt restraint systems. The airbag inflation and seatbelt activation occurs within 15 to 30 milliseconds. Our endorsement for OEM parts is they have been extensively crash tested whereas the aftermarket, alternative counterparts have not. Deployment within 15 to 30 milliseconds is significant when your life and your passengers’ lives depend on OEM crash testing. In our opinion following the original manufacturer’s guidelines and using the original manufacturer’s parts is the only way to repair our customer’s damaged vehicles.
Remember OEM parts have all been crash tested by the original manufacturer and your vehicle’s response to sudden impact is dependent upon the parts reacting in the manner the OEM engineers have designed. Please read your insurance company’s policy / contract and demand your insurance company and body shop use only OEM replacement parts in the repair of your vehicle.