Today's autos are chock-full of safety equipment that vastly improves your chances of survival in the event of a crash. And if an automaker wants to achieve the best crash test scores, it has to ensure that parts like bumper beams, air bag sensors and radiator supports perform properly during a collision. But while automakers are concerned about their safety record, in some cases, aftermarket parts makers are more concerned with keeping costs down.

USA Today reports that Ford has called out some some aftermarket parts inferior, as the Dearborn, MI-based automaker's internal testing has shown that some non-OEM parts are made of cheaper materials that may not perform adequately in the event of an accident. Parts marketing manager Mike Warwood says the company was "surprised at the gap between original manufacturer equipment and aftermarket parts," adding that the gap was larger than anticipated. The easy way to avoid this issue is to demand OEM parts when your vehicle is in the shop for repairs, but unfortunately, some insurance companies insist that cheaper aftermarket replacement parts are used.

It makes sense for Ford push its factory-made parts, as the company makes lots of money selling in excess of 24,000 different replacement components. Ford insists that it is merely looking for aftermarket parts standardization to ensure the safety of its customers, along with stickers warning consumers that non-standard parts are being used. Insurance companies and aftermarket shops likely wouldn't be too happy if a standardization process is initiated, but it's hard to argue with oversight in the name of safety. After all, automakers test and build parts like bumpers for optimal safety, and consumers purchase those vehicles in part because of the safety ratings those vehicles earn.

[Source: USA Today]

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