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Research Raises Concerns Over Aftermarket Crash Parts

February 03, 2010

PROSSER, WA - New collision-repair research is raising concerns about the safety of some aftermarket crash parts requested by some insurance companies to settle claims, according to the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). 

The research, overseen by SCRS National Director Toby Chess, compared randomly selected OEM parts with aftermarket structural replacement parts, including front and rear bumper reinforcement beams, radiator core supports, bumper brackets and bumper energy absorbers.  

According to SCRS, tests revealed "significant differences" in the aftermarket parts' construction and materials used, compared to the OEM parts. These differences were reflected in the parts' effectiveness in the transfer of energy resulting from a collision, SCRS said. 

The aftermarket parts also had an impact on the effectiveness and response of the vehicle safety restraint system, potentially affecting airbag functionality, SCRS added. However, the research also found that when aftermarket crash parts manufacturers pay particular attention to using the same materials as the OEM and employ credible third-party testing, the parts perform much better in crash tests. 

"This is a serious issue that has not received enough attention from the industry in the past," Chess said. "These parts are critically affecting the structural design of a vehicle in its post-repair state." 

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