Local News

N.C. Lawmaker Wants Shops To Use Original Car Parts For Damaged Vehicles

Posted May 15, 2003

— If you wreck a vehicle and you need parts for it, there is no guarantee that you will receive parts from the actual manufacturer, but a state lawmaker wants to change that.

Rep. Nelson Cole, D-Rockingham, is part of a bill that would require mechanics to use parts from the original manufacturer instead of aftermarket parts.

"It requires them to put original parts [on the car]," Cole said. "It doesn't mean that it has to be a new one. It can be off of an used vehicle, but it has to be an original equipment part. That's what I want on my vehicle and I think the majority of consumers out there today want that."

Cole claims the parts fit better and are of better quality, which can protect you in a crash, but some mechanics think cheaper can be better.

"For example a lug nut, I can get one from the dealer and it's going to cost you $7. I can get you one aftermarket just as good, and it's going to cost you $1. Why not save the $6 and you've got a good quality job," mechanic Chet Nedwidek said.

Some lobbyists are not pleased with the representative's idea.

"We actually refer to the bill as the monopoly bill. It's the worst bill in the country related to the use of our parts," auto parts lobbyist Eileen Sottlie said.

Insurance companies say they can save money by using aftermarket parts. They claim that those parts are just as good as the manufacturer's parts.

The bill has passed through the House and it is being debated in the Senate.

Car dealers are also showing their support for Cole, a former auto salesman. In his past two campaigns, he got 66 separate donations from private car dealers in North Carolina for a total of more than $22,000. The North Carolina Car Dealers Association also gave Cole $10,000.

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