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Do Your Customers Know the Difference Between Manufacturer Auto Parts and the Aftermarket?

Remind customers of the hidden benefits when choosing Manufacturer auto parts.

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 question’s 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 company funding their collision repair. The main issue driving collision parts decisions is the overall cost of the repair: insurance companies want to cover the minimum requirements, and customers need to make sure the total cost is covered with little out of the pocket expense. Shops are often told to choose a cost-effective option, and it’s a common assumption that aftermarket parts are the cheapest option.

Only six states require the consent of the insured before using non-Manufacturer auto parts which leave customers in the other 44 states in the dark about the potential risks of aftermarket parts. Educating customers on these risks can 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 shops:

1. Non-Manufacturer auto parts could make a shop liable

Salvage and aftermarket parts are often of lesser quality compared to Manufacturer auto parts and made with cost-efficient materials. Just think about it – aftermarket suppliers have to reverse-engineer parts made by the Manufacturer, down to the material used. Installing these parts can lead to an increase in return visits, and an even scarier scenario – accidents– due to part failure or ill-fitment. The parts engineered by Manufacturers are is made for that specific vehicle, and significant amounts of durability, structure, and safety research. For this reason, continue to remind your shops that all manufacturers discourage the use of non-Manufacturer auto parts and this is in the best interest of all customers.

2. System compatibility

Emerging technology is the biggest automobile change influencers in recent years. Technological advancements allow different vehicle systems to communicate, making for a better – and safer – driving experience. Complex automobiles lead to more complex repairs. Aftermarket part manufacturers don’t always have the capability to create these parts, mostly because Manufacturers have patents on the new technology, making it unavailable to the aftermarket. 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 created many barriers to entry and aftermarket manufacturers simply cannot mimic the Manufacturer auto part at a rate that’s also suitable for repairs.

3. Manufacturer auto parts come with a warranty

The warranty on Manufacturer auto parts is one of the best perks to remind your shops about and to share with their customers. If the Manufacturer auto part fails, the warranty will cover the expense of replacing the part, providing assurance that customers are receiving a quality repair – and that reflects directly on a shop. Another good reminder is using aftermarket parts can void a vehicle’s warranty, making the customer responsible for the cost of the part (and more) if it fails in the future. Purchasing aftermarket parts to save some money upfront can put the customer at risk of paying more in the long run.

Shops depend on the experts in a parts department to help them make the right choice for the vehicle repairs they are working on. Start advocating for stronger communication between shops and customers to explain both the risks and the differences that come with purchasing Manufacturer auto parts vs. aftermarket parts. 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.

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