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OEM Requirements – Are they Realistic?

There has been tension for several years between vehicle manufacturers and insurers (and repairers) about the repair requirements set the manufacturers. In most cases the manufacturers are correct in specifying certain procedures. But there are some that are hard to accept, with parts use being one of the most contentious. 

Most manufacturers have a policy of All New OEM Parts on All Repairs. Meanwhile the repair side of the industry and the paying end users, whether insurance companies or vehicle owners continue to use many used parts.

A hood with a small dent at the front edge is often removed to facilitate the repair and paint process as it is more efficient than dealing with the entire vehicle through the repair process. If that repainted hood is re-installed (paying attention to the possibility of one time use parts such as washer nozzles or mounting bolts) the entire repair process has been done in an OEM approved manner. A hood has been removed, inspected, repaired, repainted and installed.

If the damage is something that cannot be repaired the correct OEM repair would be to buy a new hood for perhaps $900. However, if a used OEM hood from the same year vehicle were available this could be bought for $450 or 500. The work required to ready either the new or used part for installation would be very similar, with perhaps an additional 15 minutes to clean the used part.

As a business owner with 30 years’ experience, I would not be able to offer my customer any good reason why they should pay $400 or $500 more for the new hood. Both hoods were made to the same specification and originally sold by the same company. If I was to say that the manufacturer insists on new parts the next question would be why and my only answer would be ‘because they said so.’

If the replaced part is a welded panel, I have no difficulty using a new OEM part and defending the use of that part with a valid technical explanation of why it is needed.

There are many, with an upper-case M, cases where OEM procedures are truly critical in the safe repair of a vehicle and OEMs are right in keeping the pressure on to insist that these procedures be followed. Unfortunately, by mixing non-essential requirements, such as all new OEM parts all the time, with the truly important ones they are weakening the credibility of those truly important requirements.

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