In the area of body parts for cars there are a lot of options. New OEM Onshore, New OEM Offshore (Import), Copy parts, Re-useable, exchange and reconditioned. For this section we will focus on new only.
The advantages can be as follows:
- Less prep time is likely over say a re-useable part. Even a carefully driven cars panel will have some small imperfections and car park type damage.
- No hidden surprises such as those that can appear on the re-useable part or even the exchange / reconditioned part. (Body putty under the paint, rust, plastic welding and distortion of a reconditioned bumper bar that is hard to detect until it is fitted etc)
- Does not have additional items to remove like hinges on doors etc that often come with a used part
- If the New OEM part is damaged when you open the box and you did not do it, there may be a warranty
- Fitting a re-useable part to your vehicle if it is under ‘new’ car warranty, may void the warranty. (of course this is not so likely to happen as re-useable parts for very late model vehicles are quite rare and often not considered by the very late model vehicle owner. This is because there are statistically less late model vehicles written off compared to the pool of older written off vehicles. Most repairs of very late model vehicles are done at the discretion of insurance companies and of course are done under their strict guide lines. Generally New OEM parts are fitted in this category. )
The disadvantages of the New OEM part may be:
- You may get items ‘thrown’ in with the re-used door that make the job much easier to do. Such as a mirror that is already fitted ready to go. Small clips and odds and sods that are with the component may enable you to complete the repair!
- You may pay a premium for the boxed new OEM panel
So what do you need to look out for when buying new OEM parts? The key point here are to make sure you are indeed buying a genuine OEM part if that is what you are wanting. If it comes from a dealership you can be quite confident that the parts are genuine. The main consideration are as follows:
Is the price full list price? You should attempt to get some discount off new list price. Depending on the make of the vehicle you buy the OEM dealer knows that there is competition from other suppiers. So they may be prepared to give you some discount. If you have done your homework and know there is import parts around then you may be able to use that information to your advantage. Of course they may require a written quote to give you a discount.
If you are buying a new OEM Offshore part, make sure that you confirm its authenticity. Of course this can be hard to do. But of course you should make sure that you buy from a reputable dealer trader that stands by the product. The cases of parts traders selling part that are copies is far less these days. But it pays to be careful and make sure that the invoice says that it is indeed a new genuine OEM part. Always get and invoice! You have strong protection from bodies such as consumer affairs in relation to being sold a fake product. But remember that they will want to see documentation.
What about the New copy part. This is a panel that has been made by someone other then the OEM. It is probably wise to steer clear of these parts for a number of reasons as follows:
- There may be fit issues. This is where the part looks good, but due to the dies, metals and manufacturing process being different there is a risk that parts may not fit exactly. This can mean that when you view the final job the gap between the door and the guard is not exactly the same as original. It may be wider or narrower or not parallel. This can mean that the repair never quite looks right. Secondly the part may just not fit. Requiring very frustrating hours of filing holes to fit bolts and clips in.
- The metal/plastics/etc may not be the same strength as the OEM specified metals/plastics etc. This can mean there is a hidden risk of failure in a crash. The safety aspects of non-genuine parts have made them much more rare in the market. Though they still exist.
- There may be structural components missing or faked. There have been documented cases where hight tensile crash re-enforcing bars have been non-existent or made of inferior metals. This means that for example on a door. The occupant would be sitting next to a death trap in a side impact accident.
It probably goes without saying that the risks and potential grief of the copy part far out way the possible few dollars saved.