Where Do Collision Repair Shops Get Parts?

You may have more control over the parts your auto body shop uses than you think. Here's how to understand what parts your auto body shop is using and which ones they should be using.

Three Sources of Parts

In general, auto body shops have three sources for parts. Some go through the original manufacturer. That is a way to ensure the best fit for your vehicle, and your manufacturer stands by the quality of these parts. Aftermarket parts are ones that are made by a third party supplier, but they are made to look and function like original parts. The third option is used auto parts from a trusted vendor. The benefit of these is cost savings. You should not be able to tell the difference when a good auto body shop puts quality used parts back on your vehicle.

What Parts Should the Shop Use?

The parts each collision repair shop prefers to use are different; it generally depends on what that shop's clientele prefers. But your preference may also change based on who is paying for repairs.

If you are paying out of pocket for your repairs, looking for used auto parts is a perfectly acceptable way to go. The used parts will have been pulled from vehicles that are salvaged for one reason or another, but the parts for sale should be in good condition. For instance, if a vehicle is hit on the right side and totaled, the left side doors might be in clean condition. All used auto parts for sale should be inspected and tested before being offered up.

When you are paying for parts yourself, ask your collision repair shop to swap in used parts in your estimate. They can find these for sale on auction sites or used auto parts vendors.

If you feel uncomfortable with putting used parts on your car, you can switch to aftermarket parts if you wish. Keep in mind, also, that the parts are generally not the most expensive part of auto body repairs; the labor costs are usually the part that makes the biggest difference.

If, instead, your auto insurance company is on the hook for repairs, you could try to have the auto body shop provide new parts that are acceptable to you. The parts should be at least as good as the ones that were lost in the accident. 

For more information, contact local professionals like Mach 1 Body Shop Inc.