Mechanic Glyn Hanna
A Mourne mechanic says these replica parts pose a risk to life and is refusing to fit them.
A Mourne mechanic says these replica parts pose a risk to life and is refusing to fit them
BALLYMARTIN mechanic Glyn Hanna has warned against the dangers of insurance companies using copy parts to repair vehicles.
Describing it as a “colossal issue” Mr Hanna, who runs an accident repair centre, says lives are being put at risk because of the practice and he refuses to use the cheaper parts.
Some insurance companies advise the use of the products which can be a lot cheaper than the manufacturer-specified items. In the case of a £300 Mercedes wing, a replica could be brought for £100.
But Glyn, who is a DUP councillor and vice-chairman of Northern Ireland Bodywork Alliance (NIBA), says it is a false economy.
“These copy parts are not the same quality as parts obtained from a manufacturer.
“Firstly and most importantly these copy parts are not crash-tested. The parts manufacturers supply have been crash-tested at enormous expense which make them as safe as possible, should the accident involve two vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists.
“Copy parts are questionable in quality and performance in an accident. We all want to survive an accident. The money an insurance company would save is not worth any injury or possibly a death.”
Mr Hanna says the insurance companies argue that bonnets, wings and bumpers are cosmetic and replicas can be used.
He says this is untrue.
“If a car or vehicle is involved in an accident with a pedestrian or cyclist, no one knows what way these parts will perform.
“The Alan Deering report proves that these parts are not of the same quality. These copy parts could be too hard or soft, the metal may be poor quality, the plastic in the bumpers may not crumple in the correct way.
“Crumple zones on the metal body parts are unpredictable in a vehicle-to-vehicle accident. I believe insurance companies are exposing car owners and the public to unnecessary risks.”
The NIBA is one of Northern Ireland’s largest car industry bodies and represents more than 50 independent car repair garages and more than 200 professional mechanics.
It is deeply concerned about driver and passenger safety after analysing the results of the region’s first major independent study by Alan Deering.
The comprehensive report and analysis, published last week, was undertaken by consultant engineer Mr Deering and commissioned by NIBA. It concluded that the ‘Non-Original Equipment Manufacturer’ or ‘Non-OEM’ car parts may not perform as well as manufacturer-approved parts if the vehicle is involved in an accident.
“I feel sorry for garages as they are in a terrible position. Insurance companies are directing garages to fit copy parts, to save money, but are not informing the policy holders. A lot of garages are afraid to speak up as they are frightened insurance companies will stop steering work to their garages. No garage wants to expose the public to any risk,” Mr Hanna said.
“The other issue is if these copy parts are used in the repair of a car after an accident, it will void warranties on vehicles. It will also affect the re-sale value of any car repaired with copy parts.
“The quality of these copy parts make the lifespan of the parts shorter. Copy parts do not fit as well on a vehicle so in general gives a poorer standard of repair. The NIBA and myself are highlighting this safety issue with copy parts so the public are fully informed,” added Mr Hanna
According to NIBA, it had become common practice in recent years for insurance firms to order garages to replace damaged vehicle body parts with replica parts as a way to cut cost and that many consumers were wrongly assuming that the parts fitted in the aftermath of a collision were genuine.
It is now campaigning to make consumers aware of the practice and bring it to an end.
The independent research compared, tested and analysed genuine, or manufacturer-approved, parts and the non-genuine replica parts which are commonly installed in vehicles in Northern Ireland without the owner’s knowledge or consent.
It concluded that real differences existed between the genuine and non-genuine panels tested which could affect how well they fitted and which could reduce their performance in an ‘impact’ situation.
care of ulsternet.co.uk http://www.outlooknews.co.uk/articles/news/51832