Thursday, 24 February 2011 09:33

Setting the Record Straight on Ford vs. Aftermarket Parts Testing

Written by Lee Amaradio Jr.

I read about the aftermarket parts testing conducted by ABPA (ABPA Says Aftermarket Bumper Outperformed Ford Counterpart in Crash Test—Page 47 this issue) and I have to say that I expected as much. Not unlike CAPA certification, the results will always favor the aftermarket part. In the article they stated that is some cases the aftermarket performed “better than the OEM.”

Wow, I guess I will need to rethink my standards regarding all aftermarket safety-related parts, and maybe we should all lobby to have the OEM’s recall their vehicles so we can install these superior aftermarket parts. We know that the consumers’ safety is our primary concern so now that the cat is out of the bag what should we do? After all, I have been installing OEM rebars that have been “proven” (?) to be inferior to the aftermarket rebars. I think we should probably take it one step further and start testing headlights and other parts because the poor consumer has been duped into thinking that the manufacturer’s parts are best for the safe repair of their vehicle.

There is only one problem that we still need to address and that is to “test” the actual test results. I mean before I go to the Insurance Commissioner’s Office and tell him that I have been wrong all along about the safe repair of vehicles today I better know my facts. So a couple of questions come to mind that maybe the company that did the testing should answer first.

1) Ford showed up at a public gathering and came equipped with photos, videos, sensor reading data. They even brought their engineers to answer questions. Plus they brought in the actual parts so we all could see with our own eyes what was being exposed. Ford was willing to answer questions (and did a very good job), they also made their test results public and published them on CIC’s website (www.ciclink.com). Where is ABPA’s evidence? I need to see this first hand so I can quit making a fool of myself.

2) The article (this issue) said that part of the OEM-rebarred Mustang’s bumper fell off? This baffles me because if they actually did the testing as they claim then they should know there is no part that can fall off. What part could fall off? There is nothing to this part but a beam and two brackets and the bolts go all the way through. This makes me question all the testing they describe.

3) Ford ran two separate tests, both a set of 5-mph crash tests and a set of 8-mph test. Ford’s 5-mph crash test showed there was more intrusion damage and a higher cost of repair with the Aftermarket verses the OEM vehicle, which contradicts the ABPA test. Ford’s 8-mph test with the aftermarket bumper beam revealed the most dangerous evidence of “AIR-BAG DEPLOYMENT” when it “SHOULD NOT DEPLOY.” Why didn’t ABPA do the 8-mph test? This raises concerns for me, (it’s not ‘apples to apples’.) Does the term “like kind and quality” come to mind? It’s uspicious at best.

4) Ford’s damage estimates were very detailed, listing all of the parts used. The ABPA report glosses over these details completely, “the truth lies in the details,” and who wrote the damage assessments? Some “highly regarded” shop? What kind of answer is that? Why aren’t they identified?

5) Ford videotaped the entire teardown process and created some serious evidence which contradicts the ABPA test. Where is their video? I want to see it made public. After all, they are implying that Ford is the one with the skewed results. ABPA needs to put its money where its mouth is.

6) I know that Ford didn’t modify anything but it is possible to modify an entire vehicle to make it crash better (look at Nascar reinforcements for racing safety, for example).

We need to see this so-called ABPA evidence made public and give Ford and the other OEMs a chance to rebut it. Maybe we should present both tests to Congress and let them decide. After all, this is a serious safety issue.

What I have read in this article seems like another effort to mask the truth. The facts are the facts and I say let’s compare apples to apples and bring everything out in the open. Then we can give the information to the public and let them decide. But this question still remains: “Why are we using these parts when we know they have not been tested nor proven to be equal to the original manufacturer’s specifications as the law “requires.”

We are assuming an awful lot with respect to someone else’s safety.