We all know about generic drugs. We know that Chevy is the downmarket version of a Cadllic. We agreed with these and even buy them because of the savings. Yes, when it comes to getting cars repaired, there seems to be a tremendous amount of confusion when it comes to the three different types of parts that are available to repair shops and insurance companies. Let’s take a moment to review these types of parts, why it matters, and why it may not.
The three types of parts are as follows:
New (OEM) Parts These are brand new parts, manufactured by the original car maker (Original Equipment Manufacturer). Typically, these parts are used on cars that are 2 to 3 years old or when other parts are not available.
LKQ Parts LKQ stands for “Like Kind and Quality.” Like kind and quality are typically parts from the original manufacturer, but they have been removed from another car and salvaged. Imagine your 2015 Ford f-150 gets rear ended and totalled. Part providers will take off the hood of this vehicle to be used by a repair shop when they need a new hood. This part is a Ford manufactured hood for a 2015 F-150. You had a 2015 hood before the loss. You have a 2015 hood after the loss.
After-Market Parts. These are the generic drugs of the part world. These parts are manufactured by someone other than the original car maker. These can be used when other parts are not available or to keep the cost of the repair in line and prevent the damage to the car from being totalled due to the repair cost.
Typically, when the visible repair cost to a car comes to about 70% of the car’s value, it is considered to be a “total.” This means that the insurance company is going to pay you what the car is worth. (Once the cost to repair a car exceeds its’ value, then it is considered a total loss.) If you have a new, or relatively new car, it is reasonable to expect the car to be repaired with new parts. Outside 3 years though, the cost of new parts could rapidly increase the cost of repair and this could exceed the value of the car and force you back out into the car market. So, in some cases, it is reasonable to expect new parts. In other cases, the alternative parts could make sure that you get to keep a car rather than have it deemed a total loss.