Attorney General Buddy Caldwell of Louisiana recently filed a lawsuit claiming that a national insurance provider is improperly forcing auto repair shops to install unsafe parts on vehicles, endangering consumers.
Caldwell claims this is an extremely unsafe business practice in which consumer auto repairs are performed only with cost savings in mind, rather than safety and reliability.
Using after-market or junkyard parts can potentially be dangerous, as they are often damaged or do not properly fit the vehicle’s existing components. Additionally, the coating on such parts is typically insufficient, causing premature rusting. This can all lead to further repairs and complications or even a collision, sometimes resulting in injury.
Though Louisiana is the first state to file such a lawsuit, Caldwell believes this is a national problem, and hopes other states begin to follow suit.
According to the lawsuit, insurances companies often work with “direct repair program” shops in order to perform car repair services for as cheaply as possible in order to keep costs down, telling customers they will only pay for cheaper parts. If the vehicle owners wants an “OEM” part, or original equipment manufacturer part made by the vehicle’s manufacturer, they must pay the difference.
This story highlights the fact that auto repair costs are a concern for many American consumers. And understandably so, with engine and transmission repairs being some of the most expensive. In fact, most consumers avoid going to their local car repair shop unless absolutely necessary, a recent survey indicates that nearly 77% of vehicles on the road were in need of some form of repair or maintenance. Further, the Louisiana lawsuit demonstrates the importance of choosing a reputable mechanic or auto body shop.
Worthwhile mechanics urge customers to get in the habit of scheduling regular preventative maintenance appointments for their vehicle in order to save time, money, and ensure vehicle safety. Though auto repair costs can be high for certain repairs, preventative maintenance can save thousands.
For example, consumers often assume brake repairs are costly. However, when properly maintained and cared for, the average lifespan of of brake pads is between 30,000 and 70,000 miles. Consumers are encouraged to work with their local, trusted mechanic in order to develop a working relationship with them. Mechanics will be able to address and answer any car repair questions or concerns.
A properly maintained vehicle is safer, and will cost less than one that is not cared for. Though cutting down on costs and saving money is important, it’s best not to cut corners when it comes to vehicle safety and maintenance.