Savings vs. safety


On Tuesday we told you about legislation that seeks to increase the use of aftermarket parts on vehicle repairs.

Elicia Dover looked at how passage of that bill could impact automobile warranties.

We now take a look at the bill's impact…when it comes to impact.

Supporters of this bill believe the quality of aftermarket parts has greatly improved and that passage will result in large savings for the insurance industry and consumers.

"Myself...I'm more concerned about the safety of customers," says P.J. Huber, owner of C.J.'s Auto Body in Pine Bluff.

Huber says he regularly challenges insurance companies who try to save money by recommending aftermarket parts be put on vehicles.

“This one is cast iron,” Huber says holding a control arm. “Where this one is just aluminum."

Direct insurance recently wanted him to use a heavier, cheaper aftermarket part but Huber successfully argued it would negatively impact the warranty...and fuel efficiency.

Huber says Farmer's Insurance recently demanded he use an aftermarket bumper rather than one made by the manufacturer on a customer's older car that was out of warranty.

The inside of the manufacturer's bumper is smooth and arches out slightly.

The inside of the aftermarket bumper is wavy. He believes they will perform differently in a crash...and crash tests back that up.

Honda is one automaker that features the results of independent tests on its web site, tests that Honda claims show slower air bag deployments on vehicles where aftermarket parts were used to repair the front bumper.

Huber repaired his customer's car with a manufacturer' part.

"I recommended not to use it because I don't feel it would make it as safe,” says Huber. “So he agreed and just agreed to pay the small difference in the part."

Huber says he also opposes Senate Bill 291 because of how it could negatively impact warranties. But he says customer safety is his biggest concern.

SB291 has passed the Senate. It is scheduled to be considered by a House committee on Friday.

Air date: February 23rd, 2017

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