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What is an Aftermarket Part?

Aftermarket parts are cheap copies of the factory part. Usually reverse engineered. Most of the time they do not comply with the same safety standards or crash tests that the original vehicle manufacturer has to comply with. They can not be cheaper and better!

Do Aftermarket parts comply with N.C. Law ? You decide read below.


11 NCAC 04 .0426

(N.C. Administrative Code)

No insurer shall require the use of an after market part in the repair of a motor vehicle unless the after market part is at least equal to the original part in terms of fit, quality, performance and warranty. Insurers specifying the use of after market parts shall include in the estimate the costs of any modifications made necessary by the use of after market parts.

History Note: Authority G.S. 58-2-40; Eff. April 1, 1989.


  • Aftermarket parts generally do not fit the same as their OEM counterparts – aftermarket parts are typically “reverse engineered” (an OEM part is used to make a mold, then that mold is then used to make the aftermarket parts) or the aftermarket parts are produced using old stamping dies and equipment. These dies are worn beyond the manufacturer’s acceptable tolerances and often sold to aftermarket companies.
  • By far, this is usually a time consuming process in that it essentially entails purchasing and test-fitting the aftermarket part(s), verifying that the part doesn't fit, calling the insurance company to schedule an inspection of the poor-fitting part, and then ordering a new, factory part.


  • Aftermarket parts are generally produced using different alloys (combinations of different types of metals). These alternative alloys have been tested and found to be inferior to those utilized in production of OEM parts.
  • Welds used to secure aftermarket panels together (inner and outer portions of a composite panel) are typically smaller, with less penetration, and are often found in fewer numbers.
  • The quality of the primers used on aftermarket parts is generally inferior to that of OEM parts, and the film thickness is typically substantially less.
  • General Motors replacement parts information states in part: “Application of additional - rust-inhibiting materials is not required and none is recommended.” Aftermarket parts, through the lack of anti-corrosion materials, necessitate this additional procedure.
  • Test after test have shown these parts to be inferior in gage (thickness) as well as composition of metals. Aftermarket parts are lighter than their Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) counterparts – they cannot possibly be “equal” in terms of quality if they are thinner and made of softer metals.


  • Crash Testing

    Motor vehicle manufacturers subject their vehicles to crash testing in an effort to comply with federal safety regulations. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 49 571.219 sets specific requirements for windshield zone intrusion (hoods) and CFR section 581.5 sets similar standards for bumpers. Aftermarket parts are not and have not been, subjected to the same stringent testing. Making the claim that something is equal to another product without rigorous testing is an unsubstantiated opinion - not a scientific fact.

  • Corrosion Resistance

    • Most American vehicle manufacturers conducted salt spray corrosion tests in the mid-late 80’s that clearly showed aftermarket parts to be inferior with regard to corrosion resistance.
    • Most, if not all, original equipment parts either have a zinc-based primer applied to them or are galvanized. Current aftermarket Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) clearly indicate that aftermarket parts are not protected with zinc-based anti-corrosion primers, nor do these MSDS’s indicate the presence of galvanization. Zinc/galvanizing is a critical factor in anti-corrosion properties of sheet metal parts.

  • Restoration of Value

    • One of the aspects of factory OEM parts that is often not considered is that they restore the pre-loss value of the automobile – more so than aftermarket parts do. Prospective purchasers typically will not knowingly pay as much for a vehicle repaired with aftermarket parts as they will for one repaired with OEM parts. (While this may not be a factor typically considered when reviewing “PERFORMANCE” compliance, it is nonetheless something that is “performed” by OEM parts that is NOT performed by aftermarket parts).


    • Insurers frequently proclaim that they warranty these parts for as long as the consumer owns the automobile. Obviously, this “warranty” is nullified upon transfer of ownership, unlike the warranty offered by most OEM.
      1. Any damage to or failure of a Ford part caused by the installation or improper performance of an imitation part is not covered under the Ford new vehicle limited warranty or any other Ford warranty.
      2. Toyota vehicle factory warranties transfer when repairs are completed with new Toyota Genuine Parts. The use of used salvage and/or imitation/counterfeit parts is not covered by the Toyota transferable limited warranty on such parts and all adjoining parts and systems which are caused to fail or rust by those parts.
      3. "This warranty only applies to Authorized Genuine Subaru Replacement Parts and Accessories purchased from an Authorized Subaru Dealer located in the United States. Every owner of the car during the warranty period shall be entitled to the benefits of this warranty. If the car is sold or otherwise transferred during the warranty period for the part or accessory, it is recommended that the new owner be given proof of purchase documents for the part or accessory."
      4. The warranty on Genuine Nissan replacement parts, Genuine NISMO S-tune parts, and Genuine Nissan accessories installed in a Nissan or Infiniti vehicle while the vehicle is covered by a Nissan warranty, which would have covered the part had it been installed in the vehicle at manufacture, will not end before the end of that warranty.
      5. MOPAR replacement Sheet Metal Panels (outer panels) are warranted against defects in materials or workmanship which cause perforation (inside-out rust-through only) for 7 years/unlimited miles. Panels, which prove defective, will be repaired or replaced at the option of Daimler-Chrysler Motors Corporation. This warranty does not cover corrosion due to fire, accident, vehicle abuse, owner negligence or vehicle alteration; corrosion caused by sand, hail, airborne fallout, chemicals, salt, road hazards or stone damage; or surface paint deterioration or corrosion (other than inside-out perforation). This warranty covers the cost of both parts and labor for the replacement of outer-panel sheet metal parts, if an authorized Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge or Jeep dealer or its authorized agent installed the part(s). Parts only are covered, if the parts were sold over the counter.
      6. General Motors replacement parts assume the balance of the new vehicle manufacturer’s “bumper-to-bumper” warranty when installed at an authorized dealership. This warranty remains intact for the duration of the new vehicle warranty regardless of ownership.

    In 1999 Consumers’ Reports, the most unbiased of all companies conducting testing on these parts, did an in-depth study of these so-called knock-off parts and found them to be inferior in nearly every aspect. More recently General Motors conducted scientific testing of these parts and found them to be inferior as well, and while not as unbiased as Consumers’ Reports, the results were the same. Ford conducted a similar study, although the results have been challenged as “biased” and “misleading”. However, the only testing that proclaimed these parts to be equivalent was conducted by a company that is heavily influenced by the insurance industry. Again, this disputes the claim of “equality” as far as “quality” and “performance” are concerned.

    With these facts exposed, do you believe the aftermarket parts are "at least equal to the original part in terms of fit, quality, performance and warranty"?
    With these facts exposed, do you believe these parts comply with the law above?

    If you said no, these parts are in fact NOT equal to the original part, how is it permissible for insurers to mandate the use of these inferior parts?

    If you said the parts aren't equal and the insurance company shouldn't be permitted to force the inferior parts on consumers, why aren't insurance companies being prosecuted and penalized for violating this section of the law?

    Since the law shown above does not differentiate between first and third party claims, why does the Department of Insurance dismiss genuine complaints about this issue if the vehicle owner is not the insured party, instead claiming that the Department has no control over third-party claims? (whether it is a tort action "third-party" claim, or a contract dispute is not the issue – the issue is that the insurer has mandated parts that do not comply with the requirements, and the insurer is apparently in clear violation of the law)

Click here to watch!

Aftermarket Parts Test Video

Another Aftermarket Parts Video

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