OEC Blog

​​Do your customers know the difference between OE and Aftermarket? Remind customers of the hidden benefits when choosing OE

​​Do your customers know the difference between OE and Aftermarket? Remind customers of the hidden benefits when choosing OE

Having a car in a repair or collision shop is a stressful time for anyone. When will the vehicle be ready? What will insurance cover? Are there emergency funds to cover the costs? These are just a few of the many questions customers have when their vehicle ends up in a repair shop bay.

To add to the growing stress, many customers have their hands tied by the insurance companies funding their collision repair. The main issue driving parts decisions is overall cost of the repair; insurance companies wanting to cover the minimum requirements, and customers making sure the total cost is covered without much out of pocket expense. Shops are likely told to choose the cheapest option, and it’s a common perception that the lowest price is an aftermarket part.

Only six states require the consent of the insured before using non-OEM parts, which leaves your customers in the dark about potential risks. Providing education on the differences and potential risks will pay off in the long run for your customers, your customer’s customers, and your parts department.

Here are a few reminders to relay to your shops:

  1. Non-OE parts could make a shop liable

With no surprise to you, salvage and aftermarket parts are often of lesser quality compared to OE parts and are made with cost-efficient materials. Using these parts could potentially lead to an increase in return visits or even accidents due to part failure. For this reason, continue to push the message to your shops that all manufacturers discourage the use of non-OE parts for the best interest of all customers.

2. System compatibility

Technology is one of the biggest automobile change influencers in recent years. Technological advancements allow different systems within the vehicle to communicate, making for a better -- and safer -- driving experience. Complex automobiles ultimately lead to more complex repairs. Aftermarket part manufacturers don’t always have the capability to create these parts, mostly because OEMs have patents on their new technology, making it unavailable to aftermarket manufacturers. FTI Journal reports remanufacturing low-tech mechanical components (brakes, suspension, alternators, etc.) has been the main focus of the Aftermarket industry, however the new technology in vehicles has many barriers to entry and simply cannot mimic the OEM part at a reasonable rate to be suitable for repairs and meet customer needs.

3. OE parts come with a warranty

Warranties with OE parts is one of the best perks to remind your shops to tell their customers. If the part fails, the warranty will cover the expense of replacing the part providing assurance that customers are receiving a quality repair – reflecting directly on a shop. Another good reminder is using aftermarket parts can void a warranty on their vehicle, causing the coverage of that part to be completely up to the customer to pay the cost if it fails in the future. Purchasing aftermarket parts to save some money upfront may be putting customers at risk at paying more in the long run.

Customers depend on the expertise at the parts department to help them make the right choice for the repair on their vehicle. Start advocating for stronger communication between shops and their customers to explain the risks and differences when purchasing OE vs. Aftermarket. Ultimately this communication will not only strengthen your customer relationship, but save time, protect against liabilities, and save money for shops and customers in the long term.