Crash Tests Prove Aftermarket Auto Parts & Non OEM Repairs Cause Serious Injuries

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Aftermarket Auto Parts & Non OEM Roof Repairs Flunk Crash Safety Test

Auto Insurance Carriers pressure and downright bully the collision industry into using cheaper aftermarket auto parts and non Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts to save money.  The car insurance bullies as we call them put profits over the safety of their customers and now we can scientifically prove it.

In the wake of a $42 Million jury verdict for damages suffered by a young couple when their 2010 Honda Fit burned and crushed them because the roof had been replaced using glue, the Auto Body Association of Texas and vehicle safety attorney Todd Tracy conducted scientific crash tests.

The insurance company bullies flunked two of three controlled tests conducted by KARCO Engineering.

  1. Black 2009 Honda Fit in Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) condition was used as the control vehicle in the test.
  2. Red 2010 Honda Fit was tested with a glued roof instead of the OEM procedures recommended by Honda.
  3. Dark Blue 2013 Honda Fit was tested with aftermarket parts.

You can read more about the equipment and testing profiles here.  Although the three vehicles are different model years, it is the same design without any changes produced by Honda during that time period.

The vehicle equipped with aftermarket auto parts performed the worst. The tests scientifically prove that a non OEM approved repair and the use of aftermarket parts dramatically effect how energy from  crash forces should be channeled around the occupant compartment.

The safety restraint systems and airbags failed to protect the front seat driver and passenger from serious injury, inflicting brain damage and broken necks in both the vehicle equipped with aftermarket parts and the vehicle with a non OEM approved glued roof panel.

The crash tests replicated earlier tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. that show that the occupants should be able to walk away from such an accident. Instead, data from the crash test dummies show that both the driver and passenger would suffer broken legs, ankles, and feet.

Todd Tracy explains how not using OEM parts and repair procedures throws the critical safety systems out of synch.

Watch the video above to learn more about the injuries.

Todd Tracy is preparing a lawsuit against the auto insurance companies on behalf of collision repair businesses to out of pocket monies spent to repair vehicles with OEM parts and repairs that were rejected by insurance estimators.

Learn More about how to hold the insurance bullies accountable.

If you prefer to read, here’s a transcript of Todd Tracy’s video:

Vehicle Manufacturers Tune Safety Systems To Work In Sync In An Accident

Todd Tracy: When vehicle manufacturers design, develop, test, and assemble vehicles, one of the primary responsibilities they have is to tune they safety systems to the design of the vehicle. What we saw in our three crash tests is that ever so slight changes to material or to the assembly as it relates to repairing a vehicle can have devastating consequences to the way the safety systems are tuned.

OEM Seat Belt Restraint System Protected Occupants in Crash Tests

Let’s look at the OEM vehicle and you’ll notice that on the OEM passenger side, that there was eight inches of pass-through over the D ring of the passenger side belt during the forty mile per hour moderate frontal offset impact. This was the baseline and it was consistent with what we saw in an earlier test that was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) back in 2009.

Now, let’s compare what happens when we know that there’s eight inches on two separate tests that were conducted on 2009 OEM vehicles and let’s look and see what happens when an improper vehicle repair is made, for example, utilizing a glued-on roof and an after-market windshield, and we’ll see this on the red vehicle.

Non OEM Repair Causes Serious Injury In Crash Tests

Now, remember, the two OEM tests that were conducted, eight inches of webbing pass-through. However, what happens, when you affect the tuning of the restraint system, you don’t get eight inches of pass-through any longer. You get 12 inches.

Now, what does that do to the human body? First of all, it affects occupant kinematics which are the way the occupant moves, going forward and going rearward on rebound. What does that also do? That also affects the head injury criteria because if you have too much webbing going through, you’re engaging too much with the airbag, you’re coming back in a different location on the head restraint system, we’ll see that in the actual crash testing when we see the airbags deploy and the occupants rebounding, when we show you the actual films.

Aftermarket Parts Cause Catastrophic Injury & Death In Crash Tests

So let’s look and see what consequences it had when we used after-market parts comparing it to the improper repaired vehicle and the OEM. So what happens when you use after-market parts? Does that affect the tuning of the safety systems? As we saw on the crash testing, the passenger side belt didn’t allow eight inches like it did on the OEM. It actually allowed 13 inches of pass-through to go over it, so that means the restrained anthropomorphic test device is going forward 13 inches and that affects kinematics, it affects head injury criteria, and the reason it does is because you end up missing almost the entire head restraint like we see on this particular vehicle which increases the head injury criteria.

So what did the crash test prove from a scientific basis? They proved several points. First of all, when you change the assembly of the vehicle and when you alter the material of the vehicle, then that has devastating consequences to the restraint system performance that we’ve seen on the seat belts. We also see on the injury performance, from the ankles, the tib-fibs which are the lower legs, the femurs which are the bones from your kneecap to your pelvis, those numbers are all increased dramatically when you alter the material and you alter the repair like we see in our vehicles crash test. More importantly, you also see that these slight changes in material and slight changes in assembly, they affect the head injury criteria which is your brain, which is your ability to withstand the crash forces necessary so that you can walk away with no brain injury.

When you mess around with the vehicles tuning, devastating consequences can happen and don’t take my word for it, you trust the data from the scientific testing.

16 Responses

  1. I’ve ask numerous times if anyone has ever performed a test after repairs were completed with aftermarket parts. Thanks for performing. Was the airbag timing affected?

  2. Bravo Todd Tracy, keep up the good work! Let’s hope it won’t take another motorist enduring horrendous injuries, worse yet death before the insurers stop pressuring and the body shops discontinue the use of these counterfeit replacement parts.

  3. 30 years collision experience also many years experience and training in auto extraction. Thank you for your efforts. I’ve worked in New York as well as Florida. The direction the industry has taken is despicable and ridden with greed. When I was a kid growing up. We were craftsman. Now those skills are of little use. Every car I touch I think about my wife or child being in that vehicle and think if I would be comfortable. If you ever need any inside from a different part of the country. Please feel free to contact me
    Thank you
    Karl F McGinn

  4. Thank you .. for doing what you have done.. I really enjoyed seeing you and hearing you speak on long island .new york. At BMW COMPETION
    .As well as L.I.B.R.A…

  5. So on the previously repaired vechicle, why wasn’t a new seat belt installed to run the test? Considering it has been in a previous accident the seatbelt restraint system could have also been thrown out of sync.

    You also failed to demonstrate exactly HOW the windshield and glued roof were the cause of the seatbelt having a higher pass through rate. Exactly how?

  6. I really wish you crash tested the glued roof car with an OEM windshield, without that crash test it is uncertain if it was the gluing of the roof or the aftermarket glass since glass is often considered a structural part of a vehicle.

  7. It’s not just the insurance companies it’s some of these hole in the wall body shops that use aftermarket parts and cut corners to put the savings in Thier pockets

  8. Finally someone has spent the time and money to prove what collision repair shops have been complaining about for years but are told by the insurance companies aftermarket parts are the same if not better than oem replacement parts.

  9. I would like to see a crash test using a car repaired per OEM recommendations with OEM parts. Repairs are not preformed the same way the vehicle is manufactured, for example the car is built at the factory from the inside out and repairs are made from outside in. It would be interesting to see if proper repaired car performed the same way as a car that was never repaired.

  10. I operate a body shop in WV and appreciate you bringing awareness to the people. We have customers who insist on OEM parts and have to explain to them we have to do what THEIR insurance company mandates. Anyone who works in this industry knows aftermarket parts are not near the quality of OEM. Quite often they don’t fit correctly and are poorly made. I hope something changes. These insurance companies make enough money off people who pay their premiums month after month and never file a claim.

    1. Actually you don’t have to do what insurance demands. Check the laws in your state and maybe take a stand to do what’s right. If the dealerships begin to push back maybe insurance companies will start thinking differently or start getting the blame for real costs in cutting corners

  11. OK I am not a fan of Aftermarket parts. But what does the seat belt have to do with the repairs on the roof and windshield? This video DOES NOT show anything about the difference between the repairs on that area. It is only showing the seat belt difference. My guess is that the seat belts were not replaced on the repaired cars. The OEM car has not been repaired and the seat belt has not been stressed. Show the difference in the windshield and roof.

    1. The aftermarket parts did not transmit the crash energy around the passenger compartment as designed by the manufacturer. Thus, the safety systems including the restraint systems were out of synch and did not provide the same level of protection that was present in the OEM control vehicle. The comparison of the seat belts on all three vehicles is to show the ramifications on safety when non OEM structural parts are used.

      Next week we will publish a video show charts of the forces experienced by the crash test dummies in each of the three vehicles. It will compare the injuries sustained in each vehicle. The vehicle equipped with the aftermarket parts causes severe injuries while the OEM control vehicle inflicts minor injuries that the occupants could walk away from the accident.

      I hope this explanation helps. Thanks for your interest.

  12. I’m going through a nightmare in that my insurance company is insisting my dealership use none OEM and non-tested parts in a Mercedes repair.

    Thankfully my dealership is standing up for me but the insurance company will not budge.

    I drive a Mercedes in large part because of a century of breakthrough designs for safety and function. The accident I had was proof of the genius behind the car’s crumple zones, and crash energy absorption and redirection.

    Now my insurance company want to replace the very parts that protected me with parts from who knows where. China? I guess the shady foreign produced parts industry has found a new friend. Apparently the trillions in assets the big insurance companies control isn’t enough to spend 10-20% more to protect their customers? And don’t let their pleadings that the parts are “certified” blind you. If you look behind their so called experts it’s mostly fluff. It’s all about money and that appears to be their main only concern.

  13. There are some legitimate questions here (regarding the seat belts in the glue & A/M parts vehicles, and; the Non-OEM windshield installed in the glue & A/M parts vehicles), however; this is an obvious good start. I’ve heard about Honda performing similar testing in CA using only A/M parts in 2011. The point is that the insurers and the OEM’s both understand that the crash/safety systems don’t perform the same with A/M parts as opposed to OEM parts.

    As long as there is insurer-influenced directives on which operations and parts they wish to use to indemnify, there will never be any real indemnification. They are selling “watered-down” policies which is a huge consumer issue. I don’t think that the legislators (who have allowed this to happen) can be drained from this perilous swamp that the shops and consumers are forced to dive into as well. It’s all a rigged game of greed by insurers and the shops that help them perpetuate these cost containment schemes.

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