Consumer Safety: Two Types of Parts

The following article is adapted from our friends at

Part Type Definitions

Today’s vehicles are complex, sophisticated and technologically advanced. A multitude of systems must work together to provide an enjoyable and safe driving experience. This includes your vehicle’s sheet metal, bumpers, and safety-related items, such as airbags, and the sensors that trigger airbag deployment.

Many consumers may be aware of the existence of non-OEM (non-original equipment manufacturer) mechanical parts sold at traditional, highly visible and highly advertised auto parts stores. But most consumers are totally unaware of the existence of alternative collision repair parts (also called “crash parts”).

Sometimes, insurance companies will specify the use of these alternative parts (non-OEM) to repair your vehicle as a cost-saving measure. The following is offered to help you better understand the terminology of collision repair parts and some of the ramifications of their use.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Collision Parts:

Sometimes called “OEM Part” on the estimate, OEM collision parts are designed by your vehicle manufacturer and are produced to the same specifications and tolerances as the parts on the vehicle when it was manufactured. These parts meet stringent requirements for fit, finish, structural integrity, corrosion protection and dent resistance. They are the only parts proven during vehicle development to deliver the intended level of protection as a whole system.

The only way to know for sure you are getting collision repair parts just like the original parts on your vehicle is to use your vehicle’s OEM collision replacement parts. No other parts meet this level of testing. Using them also ensures your new-vehicle warranty remains intact.


Aftermarket collision parts are parts produced and supplied by companies other than the original equipment (OE) manufacturer.  They may be referred to as Non-OEM or imitation parts.

These imitation collision parts may offer a lower cost alternative, but are typically made from inferior material, may not fit the vehicle properly and if installed could compromise the original design and tested safety systems.   These systems rely on their original manufactured design to perform properly.

Damage to your vehicle or its parts caused by the failure of imitation collision parts may not be covered by your new-vehicle warranty.

Imitation collision parts are often referred to on your estimate with these names or abbreviations:

A/M Aftermarket / Automotive replacement parts
QRP Quality Replacement Parts
CP Competitive Parts


In the collision repair world, recycled generally means parts removed from junkyard or damaged vehicles that are then repaired and/or refurbished.  Recycled parts may also be referred to as salvage, used, reconditioned or rebuilt parts.

Damage to your vehicle or its parts caused by the failure of reconditioned parts may not be covered by your new-vehicle warranty.


Counterfeit parts are falsely branded as if made by an OEM and often sold by unscrupulous distributors trying to pass them off as coming from the OE manufacturer.

These parts may be similar in physical appearance to OEM collision parts and may not be detectable to the average person or even a trained technician. A prime example is counterfeit airbags sold at a fraction of the cost of the OEM airbags.  If you are in a subsequent collision, and the airbag deploys incorrectly, or does not deploy at all, driver and passengers could be severely harmed.

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