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Should My Body Shop Use An OEM Fender Or Is Aftermarket OK?

Does your Volkswagen have a damaged fender? In that case, it's best to replace it ASAP. If you're here, you may want to know whether OEM or aftermarket replacement fenders offer the most value.

The answer is obvious. OEM fenders are much superior to aftermarket fenders. If you ask us, your body shop should use an OEM replacement fender.

Why OEM Fenders Are Much Better Than Aftermarket Fenders

White VW fender

Why are OEM fenders better than aftermarket fenders? The short answer is OEM fenders:

  • Fit perfectly
  • Last longer
  • Match the rest of your car's body

It's important to get a fender that fits your car perfectly. If your VW has an ill-fitting fender:

  • It will look very bad
  • It will be more difficult to install
  • The engine bay may be vulnerable to debris and moisture

OEM fenders are exact replicas of the stock fenders on your VW. That means you never have to worry about fitment issues when you use an OEM fender. Many aftermarket manufacturers don't design their fenders to OE specs. That means you can't always count on an aftermarket fender to fit your VW.

Material quality is another important factor in fenders. You want fenders made out of durable materials that won't rust or get damaged easily. Aftermarket manufacturers are notorious for cheaping-out on materials. Many aftermarket fenders don't last long because they rust pretty easily.

Let's say you happen to find an aftermarket fender with perfect fitment, and it's made with high quality materials. What are the chances it's going to match the rest of your car's body, too? Is the metal thickness the same as the rest of the body? It would be a bummer to buy an aftermarket fender and install it only to find out that it doesn't quite match the rest of your car. You don't have to worry about that issue with an OEM fender.

To sum it all up, an OEM fender is a much better investment than an aftermarket one. Yet, many auto body shops use aftermarket fenders instead of OEM ones. How can you get them to use an OEM fender? We'll show you how in a bit.

You Can Replace Your Fender Yourself

Before we show you how to get your auto body shop to use an OEM fender, we want to mention something. You don't have to have a shop replace the fender for you! If you have the right tools and an OEM replacement fender, you can easily replace it at home.

While body work is hard in general, replacing a fender is pretty easy. You can find a general overview of the replacement process here.

Do you feel more comfortable having a shop replace the fender for you? If so, you may be happy to hear that you can get your body shop to use an OEM fender instead of an aftermarket one. Read on to find out how.

Getting Your Body Shop To Use An OEM Fender

black vw fender

Many body shops use aftermarket replacement parts because they're cheaper than OEM. You can get them to use an OEM replacement fender, though. Here's how:

1. Ask The Body Shop To Use OEM Parts On Your Car

Sometimes all you need to do is ask! Some body shops will oblige. Other body shops will tell you that they can't do it because your insurance company won't allow it. If the body shop says no, you don't have to give up. You can contact the insurance company.

2. Contact Your Insurance Company

Your insurance company may be willing to pay a little extra for an OEM replacement fender. All you need to do is call them and ask. They may oblige, but not out of the goodness of their hearts. Sometimes they have to follow the law. Some states have regulations in place. For instance:

  • In 31 states, insurers have to disclose that their repair estimates include aftermarket parts.
  • In 13 states, insurers must pay for either OEM parts or OE-quality aftermarket parts.
  • In 6 states, insurers must get the vehicle owner's consent before having a body shop use aftermarket replacement parts.

As a vehicle owner, you have some leverage against your insurance company. The insurance company may react in one of these three ways:

  1. Find OEM costs too unreasonable and deny your request
  2. Accept your request
  3. Accept your request but charge you a little extra for OEM parts

If the insurance company denies your request, you can talk to the body shop again.

3. Offer To Pay Extra For OEM Parts

Repair cost

At this point, you can ask your body shop to work with you. They can bill your insurance company for an aftermarket replacement part, but use an OEM part and have you pay the difference. If you're in this situation, you can save quite a bit of money by ordering an OEM fender from us at wholesale pricing.

Also check out: Volkswagen Fender Buyer's Guide.