Safety features prove their worth to former IIHS president in severe collision – Repairer Driven News

May 9, 2022 by No Comments

What about instances of pushback, when insurers refuse to pay for OEM parts and procedures that collision professionals and automakers believe are necessary in making proper repairs?

“I think where a lot of pushback is, is on cosmetic parts,” Lund said. “We’ve done tests at IIHS that show that you can take away many of these cosmetic parts and it really doesn’t matter. But if you start getting into repairing frame rails, bumper beams going back on, hoods, you want those things to be like they were when the car was designed, because those actually absorb the energy of the crash.

“We’ve tested with door skins removed, and it doesn’t change the results. Because if you think about the energy of that crash, door skins and fender skins and things like that really can’t absorb much of that energy. They’re almost irrelevant, as our tests have shown. But like I said, if you get into bumpers and frames and things like that, now it’s very important that that car’s put back the way it was,” he said.

Those critical parts can be OEM, or aftermarket parts that perform in the same manner, he said.

That’s in line with a 2018 statement issued by IIHS on the safety of aftermarket parts: “Aftermarket parts fall into two categories: cosmetic and structural. Previous IIHS research has shown that cosmetic parts don’t alter crash test results, so where they are sourced — whether aftermarket or OEM — is irrelevant. Fenders, quarter panels, door skins, bumper covers and trim aren’t responsible for safeguarding occupants in a crash. That is the job of structural parts.

“Structural parts make up the front-end crush zone and safety cage. The crush zone absorbs crash energy, and the safety cage helps protect occupants by limiting intrusion. Replacement structural parts must exactly replicate the original parts to preserve the integrity of a vehicle’s crashworthiness, whether they are sourced from the OEM or an aftermarket supplier. IIHS research shows that some aftermarket non-OEM parts can meet these requirements.”

That statement was in response to a Dallas law firm’s crash tests of a Honda Fit that had been modified with certain aftermarket parts. Although the firm said the tests uncovered “monumental” differences with IIHS crash test results of an unmodified Fit, the Institute said the differences were not significant.

After that statement was issued, RDN reported in February 2018 that “A lack of context as to what constitutes ‘normal’ results has prevented the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety from analyzing some of the findings that seemed to support attorney Todd Tracy’s criticism related to a crash-tested 2013 Honda Fit bearing multiple aftermarket parts.”

In that story, IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby told RDN that in some cases, the Institute lacked data to determine if the differences recorded were part of the normal variability unaltered cars naturally show during crash testing.

Lund told RDN he has no position on OEM repair procedures. “When there is significant structural damage, I would hope that the OEM procedure works well, but I don’t know that they always test to determine whether their recommended procedure is adequate or better than others,” he said. “There have been cases where insurers (for example, Allstate) have worked with automakers to demonstrate that an alternative procedure is just as good or better.”

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