Consumer Alert: Bumper Recall: Tests Show Your Bumper May Be Unsafe

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The Auto Body Association of Connecticut today announced that it is offering assistance to consumers in determining if these recalled aftermarket parts were used in the repair of their car’s bumper, as independent tests suggest many are unsafe.

Pulling together for a better future.

If your car’s bumper has been replaced following a crash, it may be unsafe, perhaps even affecting proper deployment of the airbag.

The Auto Body Association of Connecticut today announced that it is offering assistance to consumers in determining if these recalled aftermarket parts were used in the repair of their car’s bumper, as independent tests suggest many are unsafe.

The potentially hazardous parts include front and rear bumper reinforcement beams, radiator core supports, bumper brackets and bumper energy absorbers.

“Tests conducted by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists and by the Certified Auto Parts Association, both nationally recognized associations, highlight a likely consumer safety hazard,” said Bob Skrip, president of the Auto Body Association of Connecticut. “As a result, we now are urging any of our members who may have used these aftermarket bumper parts to immediately stop. As well, we want all body shops to clearly understand the huge potential liability they may face by using inferior parts.”

“If your car’s bumper was repaired or replaced after an accident, we urge consumers to determine if aftermarket parts were used,” said Skrip, owner of Prospect-based Skrip's Auto Body. “Selected members of the Auto Body Association of Connecticut are now offering to review, without charge, the paperwork for any bumper repair to help consumers learn if any of these recalled, inferior aftermarket parts were used in a repair.”

“Clearly, consumers should demand that only safety-tested original manufacturers’ parts be installed in the future,” he said. “In a repair, it should be the consumer’s choice to require the use of only original parts, made by your car’s manufacturer."

In November 2009 and in January 2010, The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) conducted random tests comparing aftermarket structural bumper replacements parts with parts manufactured by the original auto manufacturer.

“In every example tested, there were significant differences in both the construction of, and the materials used . . . which can significantly impact the roles that these parts serve in the transfer of energy resulting from a collision,” said SCRS in a statement to auto body shops nationwide.

Following two months of similar tests conducted by The Certified Auto Parts Association, the organization’s Executive Director Jack Gillis said, “In what appear on the surface to be reasonably well-manufactured aftermarket bumpers, our laboratories discovered serious deficiencies in mechanical properties such as strength and metal hardness, material thickness and fit. These deficiencies potentially place the driving public, who trust body shops to repair their vehicles with safe quality parts, at serious risk.”

Because of the deficiencies, The Certified Auto Parts Association announced that it would develop independent certification standards for bumpers and bumper reinforcement parts.

As well, this week NSF International also announced it had launched an Automotive Parts Certification Program to address the same concerns. NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit organization that helps protect consumers by certifying products and writing product standards.

Skrip said, “Information on the results of these independent tests has been distributed within our industry. We felt obligated to bring this important safety issue to the consumer.”

“We have found that auto insurance companies often prefer the use of aftermarket parts because they are typically less expensive than those made by the original car maker,” Skrip added. “As a result, many cars that appear properly repaired may in fact be unsafe if there is another crash.”

“Our members see problems with aftermarket parts every day,” Skrip said. “Our strong stand for many years has been that these parts are potentially unsafe. It has finally come to light.”

“Perhaps it is time for the legislature to prohibit the use of these aftermarket bumper parts,” Skrip said. “Alternatively, the legislature should require the car insurance companies that request the use of these inferior parts to accept any potential liability that may arise in the event of the failure of the sub-standard parts.”

“Meanwhile, auto insurance companies should do the right thing and take responsibility by notifying consumers and offering to replace, free of charge, any of these potentially hazardous aftermarket parts, with parts made by the original auto manufacturer. The Auto Body Association of Connecticut is here to assist in the process. Our goal is, and always has been, quality repairs, with consumer safety as our top priority.” Skrip said.

The Auto Body Association of Connecticut is a statewide consumer advocacy association dedicated to the advancement of the collision repair industry. The ABAC continuously strives to enhance the professional abilities and knowledge of its membership, helping provide safe and dependable repairs for the public. Additional information is available at its web site: http://www.abaconn.com.

Auto Body Association of Connecticut
104 Cheshire RoadÏ Prospect, CT 06712Ï Phone (203) 758-6605
Fax (203) 758-0345Ï http://www.abaconn.com
                 “Pulling together for a better future.”

Additional Information:
Michael J. London -- 203-261-1549

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