When you’re involved in an auto accident.  It can be stressful and disruptive to your life. You also lose your mobility in getting around if your vehicle was damaged and is no longer drivable. The goal of your insurance company, or the other party, if it was their fault, is to repair your vehicle back to its original condition. A claims adjuster will be assigned to your case and an autobody shop will do the job of repairing your vehicle. Damaged parts are removed and replaced with replacement parts. There are two considerations regarding replacement parts for your vehicle. First, are the parts being replaced cosmetic or structural? Second, where are the parts sourced from?

Cosmetic verses Structural:

Auto body parts are either cosmetic or structural. The cosmetic parts are mostly for looks or its function like: Body trims, lights, seals, glass, or bumper covers, etc. The structural parts affect the crash worthiness or the safety of the vehicle. These parts can be the doors, hoods, trunk lids, bumpers, or any metal body panels that are welded or bolted on. It is important that structural replacement parts meet or exceed the original parts structural integrity.

What are OEM parts?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM are parts that were used in the assembly line when your vehicle was being built. The OEM parts are guaranteed to have the best fitment and the same structural integrity. Though some in the automotive industry have taken to referring to car companies themselves as OEMs, the term relates to any company that manufactures parts for use in new vehicles — or to the parts themselves. Original equipment manufacturers work closely with carmakers to build parts used in the manufacture and repair of new vehicles. Structural parts should be replaced with OEM parts. Especially if the vehicles are fairly new.

What are LKQ Parts?

LKQ stands for Like Kind, Quality. LKQ parts are actually recycled/refurbished parts or simply, used auto parts. Technically LKQ parts are still OEM parts, the only difference is that they are not brand new.  In fact, most times they are the same age as the part it is replacing on your vehicle, plus they might get a fresh new coat of paint. They are also less expensive than OEM parts. LKQ parts will keep the structural integrity of your vehicle the same. Finally, LKQ parts are more readily accessible then OEM parts, which can take more time to order from the manufacturers which could delay the repair of your car and could increase the cost to you long term.

Aftermarket Parts:

Aftermarket parts are made by third party manufacturers. They are not the same manufacturers that built your vehicle. Aftermarket parts have the stigma of being poorly made. That is not necessarily true. Some aftermarket parts are poorly made and in some cases, dangerous to the safety integrity of the vehicle. But if these parts are certified by the Certified Automobile Parts Association (CAPA), which has high standards and guidelines for aftermarket parts, they can be used to repair your vehicle and save you money over OEM parts. The testing that the parts go through for CAPA certification must determine that they’re “functionally equivalent” to OEM parts. This means they perform the same in safety tests and are not simply of like kind and quality.


If an insurance company uses aftermarket or LKQ parts to repair your vehicle, it will cost less to repair. The cost will increase significantly when only OEM parts are used to repair your vehicle. Higher cost will affect the decision to repair or replace your damaged car. When the repair estimate surpasses the value of the car, it is deemed a total loss. Repairing is not a viable option. This results in you having to purchase a new vehicle instead of repairing your existing one. It will lead to increased insurance premiums over time.  When a bodyshop can use aftermarket parts or LKQ parts, it allows for cars to be repaired instead of being totaled out.  This cost-controlled practice will help prevent insurance premium rates to increase over time.