Friday, 30 May 2014 00:00

Letter to the Editor: Certified Aftermarket Parts Tracking is Superior

As I read your story entitled East Coast Resolution Forum and Leadership Meeting at Northeast 2014 written by Chasidy Rae Sisk and published in the April 2014 Mid-month newsletter, the following caught my eye:

‘Another conversation ensued about the fact that recalls on aftermarket parts aren’t as closely monitored as OEM recalls, creating a safety issue when shops are unable to locate vehicles that have been fitted with recalled aftermarket parts. Ferraiolo circled back to the importance of educating consumers so they can fight their own battles, mentioning the current Auto Body Council of Connecticut (ABAC) campaign to educate consumers.’


While I am sure Ms. Sisk captured the conversation correctly, I would like to comment on the issue raised during the conversation, an issue that is of particular interest in view of the recent GM ignition switch problem.


I wanted to call your attention to an article that came to my attention recently. I’m sending it as an FYI, background, if you wish, since the issue of an aftermarket part recall has come up in Autobody News coverage of the East Coast Resolution Forum. The Exclusive: GM's new recall risk - the spare parts market article by Ben Klaymen, Marilyn Thompson, and Julia Edwards posted by Reuters on March 26, 2014, clearly outlines the impossibility of, in this case, GM to track a part. The OEMs have no mechanism to identify the channel of distribution of their parts sold into the aftermarket. In fact, it appears as if they are not even sure which new vehicles were built with the faulty part.

While the article refers to the current recall involving a GM mechanical part and not a cosmetic external body part, the fact is that, unlike GM or other OEMs, the collision repair aftermarket has a mechanism for addressing recalls.

Every certified aftermarket part, whether certified by Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) or NSF, is clearly designated so that it can be tracked by the manufacturer to the distributor. NSF-certified distributors can track the parts to the exact collision repair shop. I believe that some distributors can also track to the vehicle if the shop has provided the R.O. or claim number, but I don’t know how common that ability is.

In any event, the distributor can definitely track the part to the shop, if not to the exact job. Ironically, while shops often erroneously allege that aftermarket parts cannot be recalled, as is reported to have happened at the forum, the fact is the breakdown in the certified aftermarket part recall process is between the shop and the vehicle owner. As you can see, based on the information in the Reuters article, the recall process for certified aftermarket parts is far superior to that of the OEMs.

Karen Fierst

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