Director of Right to Repair SA (R2RSA), Les Mc Master, says that for years an impression has been created for consumers that original parts are superior and can only be obtained from OEMs, and that independent workshops often deal in inferior, or commonly referred to as pirate parts.
“The reality is that probably 99% of the parts required for repairs (excluding accident repairs) and maintenance are manufactured by a great number of OES like Bosch, Mahle, and GUD,” explains Mc Master. “Consumers need to know that OEMs buy these same parts off the assembly line, by commission, and sell them to the aftermarket repackaged with their logo on them.”
The fact is consumers and independent workshops can buy identical parts as offered by OEMs, which come from the same production lines, and are referred to as ‘parts of matching quality’. Mc Master says motorists should educate themselves about car parts because buying more expensive OEM parts, rather than identical OES parts, can cost a fortune.
“Aftermarket parts are a good option, especially if your car is three to four years old. Of course there are inferior parts out there but by sticking with brands you know and those recommended by a reputable, accredited workshop that knows your vehicle and uses the right products and parts, you can get the same performance out of aftermarket parts versus OEM and original parts, at a lower cost,” says Mc Master. He adds that the aftermarket also has the advantage of access to parts with an improved design.
“After a vehicle has been on the market for a few years it becomes apparent what parts fail and for what reason. A quality parts producer will redesign the part, correcting the fault that only becomes apparent after the part is used in real life conditions, thereby providing a part that will perform to the exact or better standard than the original part.”
Another plus for motorists is that there are many companies that produce aftermarket parts - more variety means a better price range for the independent workshop owner when sourcing parts. And, with such a big supplier pool, the parts are readily available.
Mc Master concludes that the new car market in South Africa still burdens consumers with warranties which dictate the use of original parts.
“In many first-world countries, this is a thing of the past and consumers are free to use aftermarket parts in their vehicles without affecting the warranty,” he says.
“This is the kind of change we desperately need in South Africa and which is why R2RSA is at the forefront of lobbying for change and legislating the Right to Repair initiative in South Africa”.
Right to Repair promotes consumers having the right to choose where their vehicles are serviced, maintained and repaired at competitive prices in the workshop of their choice.