There is something to be said for the sense of security that comes from knowing that one is the first person to use a product they have purchased. It is often for this very reason why many in Charleston will buy a new vehicle when buying a used car might save them money. For them, the knowledge that the car's parts are brand new (and thus should be in optimal condition) is worth the added expense. Yet accidents and incidents may happen that can quickly put a newer vehicle in the repair shop. The question then becomes what type of parts will go back into it.
From an insurer or repair providers perspective, aftermarket parts are the better option simply due to their costs. Indeed, information compiled by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America shows that original equipment manufacturer parts cost 60 percent more than aftermarket parts. Yet OEM parts offer the assurance that they were built for a specific vehicle by that vehicle's manufacturer, and thus are more reliable.
The state recognizes this, and has reflected that in its consumer protection laws. Per Section 46A-6B-3 of the West Virginia Code, motor vehicle repair providers and auto insurers must employ (and be prepared to pay for) genuine crash parts (in the context of this statute, "genuine crash parts" are equatable to OEM parts) when repairing vehicles still within three years of their original manufacture date. This is to ensure that all repairs are up to the standards set for in manufacturer warranties for the following areas:
- Structural integrity
- Corrosion resistance
- Dent resistance
- Crash performance
The only scenario in which a repair provider or insurers would not have to consent to the use of OEM parts would be if the vehicle owner consents to the use of aftermarket parts.