Dangers of not using OEM parts in your repair
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. If you’re buying OEM parts, this either means that you are buying parts directly from the car manufacturer or that you are buying from a company that has been contracted by the original car manufacturer and thus carries their seal of approval.
There are many reasons why people choose non-OEM parts; sometimes, they think this is easier or cheaper, but it also turns out that it could be more dangerous and cost you much more in the long run. Studies that have been done on the topic suggest that non-OEM parts carry considerably more risk than parts that have been approved and tested by the car manufacturer—and there are plenty more reasons other than that.
Here’s exactly why it’s dangerous to use non-OEM parts when it comes to repairing your car (or someone else’s):
The first thing that drives a lot of people to choose non-OEM parts is the thought that it might be cheaper—but, in the long run, it’s not. When you factor in shipping costs and the inevitable costs of when you have to do the same repairs again several weeks later, non-OEM parts end up costing you more, and they can be a huge safety risk. Using OEM parts means that you’re using the approved, correct part: it works the way it’s meant to, and you are much less likely to have problems later down the line or do permanent damage to your car.
In most cases, non-OEM parts will have to be fitted by third-party mechanics, and this immediately puts you at risk as a vehicle owner. If you’re having it installed by someone who isn’t approved by your car manufacturer, then you’re risking the fact that they might downright screw up the job, which can cost you thousands.
This can also impact other things such as your car insurance, and it puts you at a lot of unnecessary risk. This is also commonly seen when unregistered auto repairpersons attempt to repair cars they don’t have proper knowledge of, and this can cost you just as much money.
Insurer Risk and Warranty
Responsible car owners have their cars insured. Insurance doesn’t just protect you and your wallet, but also protects other people on the road should anything happen. Nobody means for an accident to happen; that’s why they’re called accidents in the first place. When they do happen, you want to ensure that you are protected.
If your car is found to have non-OEM parts installed in the event of an inspection by your insurance company after an accident, then they could refuse to insure the claim at all; of course, the same is true for the other party in the accident. Installing parts in your car that aren’t covered by your manufacturer puts you at risk; not just do those parts make accidents more prone to happen on the road, your insurer will likely refuse to cover the claim because of the risk caused when installing these parts in the first place.
Fitting these parts is something very few people think of when they buy non-OEM parts off the internet; should you really be surprised when parts that aren’t designed and approved by the car manufacturer turn out not to fit your car? The real answer here is no.
Non-OEM parts might not fit, because they were usually designed with a similar model at best, and this definitely isn’t what you should be looking for when you’re repairing a part on your car.
Using non-OEM parts in your car puts you at unnecessary risk on the road. These parts haven’t been designed with your car in mind, and they might not even be manufactured with safety standards in mind at all. Is this really a risk that you want to take, considering how many accidents there are on the roads every single year?
If you’ve never thought of this before and might have non-OEM parts in your car right now, you can still contact your car manufacturer and let them know; they are usually happy to fix this and install safer, approved parts in your car—though they will not cover this if the part malfunctions and causes an accident or needs to be repaired after one.
OEM by state
Did you know that different states also have different laws on non-OEM parts? In some states, you can even be heavily penalized for being found to have non-OEM parts in your car if you are an accident and you could be held responsible for damages you didn’t possibly factor in.
If you want to know what your state says about non-OEM parts, take a look at this handy guide from SEMA about aftermarket parts by-state.