Body shop owner: Replacement parts not always crash tested

Body shop owner: Replacement parts not always crash tested

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - State Police responded to thousands of calls for service after all the snow. Now that people are getting out on the road and driving, there are reports of even more accidents. Even fender benders can mean a trip to the body shop.

But when you go to replace that bumper, light or any other part, the owner of Bruce's Super Body Shop has a warning. "These parts have not been crash tested," said Bruce Hutchins. "But every major insurance company uses these parts."

Hutchins owns several body shops, and what he's talking about are aftermarket or generic parts that can be used to fix a damaged car. Generally, he's against them because he doesn't think they fit as well and he doesn't think they're made as well.

"This is what most of them figure to use," said Hutchins. "When you look at the two, there's a great deal of thickness difference between this part and the aftermarket ... That could be  problem when you have an accident. "

He says all major insurance companies suggest using them for repairs because they cost a lot less. "State law says that the parts that they use have to be equal to in like, kind, and fit," Hutchins said.

So, if you're confident the generic piece you got is just as good, then it's fine. But Hutchins says from what he sees, that's rarely the case. "Obviously, they're a lot cheaper than the OEM parts, but to say that they're the same, in my situation, 99% of the time, they're not," he said.

It's why Hutchins says to know your rights before you sign off on that repair work.

Here's another problem: Hutchins says a dealer can identify the aftermarket parts. So if you go to trade in or sell your car one day, they will likely offer you less money for your car with generic parts versus the original or standard parts.

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