Do you have a damaged fender or another damaged auto body part? In most situations, our advice is to do it yourself (with the guidance of the many tutorials on our blog). Not in this situation, though. Auto body work is very difficult. You should leave it to the professionals.
Another piece of advice we always give is “go the OEM route”. It’s because OEM parts are always a much better investment than aftermarket parts. In this case, you should follow this advice.
- OEM parts are built to OE specs, meaning perfect fitment is always guaranteed. This applies to all OEM parts, ranging from serpentine belts to cabin air filters to body parts. Many aftermarket manufacturers use their own dimensions. It’s common for aftermarket parts to not fit just right.
- OEM parts are built with high quality materials. In the case of auto body parts, quality matters a lot. A may rust or dent more easily than the rest of the OEM auto body parts on your car.
- OEM parts “match” the other parts on your car. For example, OEM rotors match OEM brake pads. This results in optimal braking performance. In the case of auto body parts, you want your new auto body part to match the other body parts on your car. That means the same exact fit, and the same thickness of steel. The best way to guarantee this is to use OEM replacement parts.
If you have professionals do auto body work for you, they’ll most likely use aftermarket parts. If you want to use OEM parts, this puts you in quite a dilemma. The good news is that there are several ways around this. You can get your auto body shop to use OEM parts. We’ll show you how. The first step is to understand why auto body shops use aftermarket parts.
Why Do Auto Body Shops Use Aftermarket Parts?
Most (if not all) auto body shops use aftermarket replacement parts instead of OEM parts. If OEM parts are much better than aftermarket parts, then why do some shops use aftermarket parts? Aren’t they concerned about the quality of their work? The reason is simple. Aftermarket parts are cheaper than OEM parts. That's why some insurance companies will only pay for aftermarket parts. So body shops use aftermarket parts by default.
You can get the shop to make an exception for you. Sometimes it's as easy as asking them. Other times, it takes a little more work. You may get the best results by doing the following (in order):
1. Ask The Auto Body Shop To Use OEM Parts
It can’t hurt to ask the body shop if they can use OEM parts instead of aftermarket parts. They may surprise you and agree to do it. But in most cases, they may say no because your insurance company will only pay for aftermarket parts.
Chances are the body shop agrees with you that OEM is better, but their hands are tied. That doesn’t mean you should give up and accept inferior aftermarket parts on your car. You can try to work something out with your insurance company.
2. Ask The Insurance Company To Pay For OEM Parts
The idea of calling your insurance company and asking them to use OEM parts can be intimidating. They may surprise you, though.
Some insurance companies are willing to work with you. It’s especially the case if you drive a newer, more common Mazda model. That means OEM parts for your car are easier to find, thus they may be more affordable.
Your insurance company may ask you to pay an extra fee to help them cover the cost of OEM parts. In that case, you want to figure out if it’s worth paying the extra fee.
Is The Extra Fee Worth It?
Sometimes the extra fee may only be the cost difference between the OEM part and the aftermarket part. Sometimes the extra fee may be higher to factor in the "extra work" the insurance company will put in.
The best way to figure out whether the extra fee is worth it is to find out the average cost of the OEM replacement part in question. Next, subtract the average cost of the aftermarket part from that number. If the extra fee is much higher than the number you come up with, then it may not be worth it. You may save some money by offering to pay the difference directly to the auto body shop. Read on to find out how.
3. Talk To The Auto Body Shop Again And Offer To Pay The Difference
As a last resort, try to work out a deal with the auto body shop. Ask the auto body shop if they can bill the insurance company for an aftermarket part, but use an OEM part instead. You can pay the difference.
To keep your own costs down, ask the shop to order the OEM part from us. You'll save about 30% on the part. It's because we offer wholesale pricing on genuine OEM Mazda parts. Our inventory includes many different auto body parts for a variety of Mazda models. Look up your Mazda model to see which OEM auto body parts are available at wholesale pricing!