Frequently Asked Questions About Original Equipment Parts

Whether you’re a car enthusiast, mechanic, or just looking to replace a part in your vehicle, knowing the difference between OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket parts is essential. Not only do you need to choose the right repair shop, but you also want to get the right components for the job. Before you decide, you will want to know about the components used for the repair. Here are some of the most common questions about these OEM parts.

Why Should I Buy OEM Parts?

When buying replacement components for your vehicle, you must decide whether to buy OEM parts or aftermarket ones. OEM replacement parts are specifically designed and manufactured for your vehicle’s make and model. For many owners, quality is a major advantage. Since the vehicle’s manufacturer makes them, you can trust that they will fit perfectly and function like the original parts. Additionally, OEM parts undergo rigorous testing to ensure they meet strict quality standards, giving you peace of mind when it comes to safety and reliability.

Another advantage of OEM parts is that they come with a limited warranty. If the part fails due to a defect, you can get a replacement or repair for free or at a reduced cost. However, remember that the warranty may be limited in scope or duration. You will always want to read the terms carefully or talk to your repair shop before making a purchase.

Are Aftermarket Parts a Better Option?

When it comes to repairing or upgrading your vehicle, you can choose between OEM or aftermarket parts. Aftermarket components are made by companies other than the vehicle’s original manufacturer. While they may be less expensive than OEM options, there are cons to using them in your car.

Quality varies widely between aftermarket manufacturers. Sometimes, lower prices indicate lower quality. Without the same rigorous testing and quality control as OEM parts, there is a risk that aftermarket components may not fit or function properly. Warranties are also a consideration. While some aftermarket manufacturers offer warranties, these are often limited in scope. If the part fails due to a manufacturing defect, you may not be able to get a replacement or repair for free or at a reduced cost.

Where Can I Buy OEM Parts?

There are several options for buying OEM parts. You can purchase these components at:


The most common place to get OEM parts is through the dealership where you bought your vehicle. You can also visit other dealerships that sell your make and model of vehicle.

Online Retailers

Several online retailers specialize in selling OEM parts.

Manufacturer Websites

Many vehicle manufacturers have websites that sell OEM parts directly to customers. Check your vehicle manufacturer’s website to see if they offer this service. Most of the time, these components can only be purchased through a licensed repair shop or dealer.

Local Auto Parts Stores

Some local auto parts stores may carry OEM parts for specific makes and models of vehicles.

When purchasing OEM parts, always ensure you’re buying from a reputable source to avoid counterfeit or low-quality parts.

What Is the Most Expensive OEM Part?

When it comes to automotive repairs, some parts can be very costly to replace. While a few basic parts can be replaced for a few hundred dollars, certain components can quickly drain your wallet and break the average budget.

Cylinders are very expensive, with some repairs costing up to $10,000. With the intricate nature of the engine, it does take significant time and labor to replace the damaged components. Also, transmissions are another high-cost item, ranging from $4,000 to $5,000 for a replacement. The part is a crucial component of the vehicle, and a malfunction can result in a costly repair bill.

Suspensions are also known for being pricey, with some repairs costing up to $3,000. These high costs are due to the complex system of springs, shocks, and other components that make up the vehicle’s suspension. Finally, brake lines are another costly repair item, with replacement costs often exceeding $1,000. Brake lines are vital for safe driving. Any damage or wear to the system can lead to a potentially dangerous situation on the road.

Are OEM Parts Always Required?

When it comes to collision repairs, OEM parts are typically the preferred choice for several reasons. These OEM components are designed to fit your vehicle. When a car is involved in an accident, the body panels can be damaged and require replacement. Installing aftermarket parts may not provide a secure fit, leading to potential safety hazards and suboptimal performance.

OEM parts are made to the manufacturer’s specifications, ensuring a secure fit and restoring your vehicle’s performance to its pre-accident condition. Another reason to choose OEM parts is that they are often required to maintain your vehicle’s warranty. Using aftermarket parts may void your warranty, leaving you responsible for the cost of any future repairs. Additionally, leasing companies often require OEM parts for any repairs to ensure the vehicle is restored to its original condition to retain its value.

Need an Auto Body Shop Near Me?

Using OEM parts is the safest and most reliable choice for collision repairs. While aftermarket parts may seem more cost-effective, they can lead to potential safety hazards and void your vehicle’s warranty. By choosing OEM components, you can ensure that your car is restored to its pre-accident condition and maintains its value.

At Elmer’s Auto Body, we are a reliable and experienced collision repair provider. Our family-owned and -operated business has served South Jersey for over 75 years. By choosing us, you can trust that your car will be repaired correctly and efficiently. When you need a reputable South auto body shop, make sure to call (856) 218-0202.

What Does R&R and R&I Mean On My Car Repair Estimate?

Car repair estimates are never going to be exact, but they are the surest method of diagnosis. Even an expert can misjudge something if they don’t take a close enough look. A car repair estimate involves a thorough inspection of all working parts, making it far more likely that any problems will be discovered. Although these are just ballpark figures, it is important to understand them completely. That includes any acronyms or special terms that might be used. Let’s talk about a few of those terms in more detail.

R&R: Remove and Replace

Once you know what the letters mean, this term becomes self-explanatory. It should be accompanied by the name of a vehicle part such as the radiator, the brake pads, sensors, etc. The “R&R” designation means that the part is completely shot and cannot be repaired. Thus, the only thing to do is remove the damaged part and replace it with a new one. This might involve waiting for several days or even a week or two, as it can take time for parts to be found and shipped. Needless to say, older and/or less common parts are going to take longer.

You should also understand that there is a safety issue here. A damaged part might be technically usable, but a weak or damaged part might pose a safety hazard. Even if it still partially works, replacement is the best option. This is particularly true in the case of safety features like brakes, airbags, bumpers, and outer panels. It takes a skilled eye to tell the difference between something that can truly be fixed and something that has been compromised too much. In any case, when you see “R&R” on your car repair estimate, it isn’t hard to understand the meaning.

R&I: Remove And Install

This is what happens if the part is not completely shot. Like the “R&R” code, this one will appear next to any parts to which it applies. When you see “R&I”, that means the part needs to be removed and then reinstalled. Obviously, this tends to be cheaper since you are only paying for labor costs. Also, you probably won’t have to wait nearly as long since the shipping of parts is not an issue.

There are a number of good reasons why a mechanic might need to remove and then re-install a vehicle part. Sometimes, they might have to remove that part in order to gain access to another part. Not all vehicle components are easy to reach, even if you have the proper tools. So, there is often no other choice but to remove the part that is in your way and re-install it later.

This kind of thing might also be done if the part itself can be repaired. For instance, if they need to remove an outer panel to repair a minor dent, this kind of fee will apply. If you are getting an alternator repair, the “R&I” tag will also be present. In the case of an estimate, it might also apply to any parts that had to be removed during the diagnostic. Every estimate needs to include a detailed look at every working part (which means most of them), and that might require the removal of certain parts to gain access to others.

Other Terms That You Might See

Let’s go over a few other abbreviations/codes that you might see on your car repair estimate. They are all less common than the two that we’ve already discussed, but it pays to know what these terms mean:

  • PDR: Paintless Dent Repair: This means you have some minor denting that can be repaired without any need for repainting.
  • O/H: Overhaul: This means that a set of parts (an “assembly”) will require a total re-working, which may or may not require replacement parts.
  • FEA: Front End Alignment: This means your front wheels are out of alignment and require correction.
  • OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer: This term denotes an original part. That means it either comes from the same company that made your car or that it has been made to their specifications.
  • A/M: Aftermarket: This is the opposite of OEM. It refers to parts that come from third-party manufacturers.
  • BC/CC: Base Coat/Clear Coat: These refer to painting costs. The base coat is the paint layer, and the clear coat acts as a protective layer.

Understand What You Are Reading

When you are looking at your repair estimate, it might be confusing at first. So, ask plenty of questions and make sure you understand everything that you are reading. Also, make sure you understand that you are looking at two sets of costs here: The cost of the estimate itself, and the estimated cost of the final repair bill. Make sure you don’t get those two mixed up, as this is a common mistake.

Where Can I Get A Good Car Repair Estimate?

As we said before, it’s important to choose the right place. It takes a competent hand and a trained eye to detect those subtle problems that lesser mechanics would have missed. And so, if you are in need of car repair, you are probably asking yourself: “Where can I find the best auto body shop near me?”

If you are located in South Jersey or the surrounding areas, your best option is Elmer’s Auto Body. We’ve been serving the community for over 70 years, and our reputation for excellence is well-known to the people in the area. If you would like to find out why, you can call Elmer’s Auto Body at (856) 218-0202.

The Top Reasons To Consider A New Paint Job For Your Car

When looking after your car, most people prioritize the very essentials but this can actually mean that they neglect the car in certain ways which will eventually mean that the car will not last its full lifetime. On the surface, you may be wondering why a new paint job would be important for your car as surely it is just aesthetics. Surprisingly, a new car paint job on your car can actually prevent issues like rust and be a healthy splurge on your vehicle, and could even increase its value. In this article, we will explore the top reasons to consider a new paint job for your car.

1) Increase the value of the car

If you are looking at selling your car in the next year or two and the paintwork on your car has seen better days, we would highly recommend that you consider a paint job. With the market how it is currently, used cars are increasing in their value due to the production of new cars being largely delayed. If you want to increase the value of your car by a couple of thousands of pounds, then a paint job is the way to go. The job is quick and effective to apply and will make sure that your used car looks in pristine condition.

2) Protect from rust and corrosion

One of the health benefits for your car when applying new paint is that the new layer of paint can help protect your car from the dreaded rust and corrosion. Rust and corrosion can cause our vehicles a lot of damage and is very common due to our climate. Most cars are made from either steel or metal and the bodies of the cars will slowly start to corrode over years of use. Rust and corrosion can also damage the exterior of your vehicle and be seen by future buyers. When it is visible that a car is suffering from rust, this can make the car unappealing and often not sell as well if you are looking at placing it back on the market. The new paint job will protect your car from corrosion and rust for many years to come and it is worth the investment.

3) Pick Your Favorite Color

This may not be on the top of your list of priorities but it is a lovely added bonus. When you have a new paint job done on your car, you can select the color and shade that you have always wanted. If the overall aesthetic of your vehicle is important to you then applying a new paint job to your car is worth it. You can select any color from the standard shades that you see on the road to a more recognizable and distinct color.

4) Motivates better care and maintenance

If you have taken your car for a new paint job and seen what pristine condition it has come out in, this will naturally inspire you to take better care of the maintenance of your vehicle. It is surprising what a coat of paint can do! A vehicle can look a lot more expensive and new with just a little paint and this will inspire any future owner to keep on top of all maintenance the car may need.

5) Repair Damage following a Collision

If you have been in an accident, there are sure to be a few scratches, scarps, and often damage to your paintwork. If you have been in a collision it is more common that the full body will need repainting to ensure that any new panels installed will match the original car. If you need to repair the car due to a collision, the insurance company may help with the cost of the repair.

6) Repairs scratches and damages

By repairing your car, you will find that you can repair small minor scratches that have occurred. If the scratches have been caused by general wear and tear, these will be fixed quickly by a new paint job as the paint will fill in the dented areas.

7) Replace chipping or flaking paint

If your current paintwork has started to chip, flake or peel then it will be time to have your car put in the garage for a new paint job. The reason your current paintwork could be chipping or flaking could be for many reasons including the age of the vehicle or the weather conditions the vehicle has endured. If the paint job was of poor quality or used poor quality paint, this may be the reason the paint on your car has started to chip away and show signs of damage. It is important that you book a new paint job as soon as you see signs of your old paint chipping, flaking, or peeling as when this happens this will expose the metal on your car which can then lead to your vehicle rusting.

How Elmer’s Auto Body Can Help Today:

At Elmer’s Auto Body, we would recommend that when you are booking your car for a new paint job you choose to use high-quality paint as this will be the best for your vehicle in the long run. Quality paint will last longer and help protect your vehicle against rust and corrosion. Selecting the correct color for your vehicle can be a challenging point for some but at Elmer’s Auto Body, we have a team that is ready to help you.

One of the professionals amongst the team can help you decide which paint is best for your vehicle and if it is time for your vehicle to come in for a new paint job. If you need any repairs to your vehicle call in at Elmer’s Auto Body today. The team at our auto body repair shop in South Jersey is ready to repair your car back to its original form using quality parts and skilled labor.

How We Work Around Your Busy Schedule to Complete Your Repair

Most people live busy lives and figuring out the best time to take your car into the auto body shop can prove difficult. You keep pushing it to the back burner because other more important things keep coming up. Luckily, you can do a couple of things to squeeze it into your schedule more easily. Let’s take a look at how we work around your busy schedule.

Start with a Phone Call

Many times, the thing that holds people back the most comes from them not realizing how little time the repair could take. They continue to put it off because they think it will take over a week to receive the repair. It depends on the repair, but auto body repairs usually take from two to five days. Minor auto body work requires one to two days of work. Give us a call over the phone, and we can give you an estimate of the time so that you can plan for it.

Just keep in mind that we can only give you an approximate amount of time on it and how long it takes to get it fixed. Knowing how long it would take will let you fit it into your schedule more easily. We can’t give a diagnosis over the phone, however, because we may miss crucial repairs that were hidden on the vehicle.

Maintenance Prevents Costly Future Problems

You want to make the repairs on your car as soon as possible because if you continue to drive a car with damages, it will worsen over time. This will lead to higher costs than the original repair. Think of it as maintenance and a way to save more time on your busy schedule.

How to Handle Not Having a Car

When your car goes in for repairs, it can interrupt your schedule. Even if you have your car repaired, you don’t want to take a day off work. We don’t recommend it either. Instead, you would leave the car in the shop with us and borrow a friend or family member’s car. You could even rent a car for those days if it will take a while. This ensures the minimum disruption to your day.

In general, we don’t recommend that people wait in the shop for us to finish the repairs. Auto body repairs do take longer than regular mechanic repairs in most cases, and it rarely will make sense for the customer to wait around like you would with an oil change or tire rotation.

Hire Someone Who Works with Your Schedule

You can Google, “auto body shop near me,” and you will come across many companies. At Elmer’s Auto Body, we will work with your busy schedule to try to get you in at the time that you need. Unlike some of the alternatives, we will work on your schedule and help you so that you experience as little of an inconvenience as possible. You don’t need to have this take up all your time to have the car repaired.

Why Do Auto Body Shop Repairs Take so Much Time?

Almost every customer will ask us, “How long is this going to take?” We need to look at your car to give you an exact estimate of time because of the potential for hidden damages that need repairs. Many variables enter the equation, which explains why it can take us so long.

Let’s take the example of a bumper repair. Sure, it might look simple, but when we start to disassemble the car and take a look at it, we learn how it had further damage than its original appearance. Most of the time with auto body repairs, we need to repair hidden damage that we didn’t see at first. It doesn’t become apparent until you start to take the car apart.

In this case, we might even have to order extra parts, which will take another one to two days. We need authorization from you as well as the insurance company before we start. Most of this happens electronically, which makes it reasonably fast, but it does make things more complicated. It opens the door for more things to go wrong.

To sum it up, the things that will impact the amount of time auto body work takes include:

  • Parts availability
  • Auto body repair time
  • How complicated the repair is
  • Insurance company’s approval
  • Doing quality control on the auto body work

Every auto body shop should follow strict standards about what they will do for repairs. Following strict quality control standards ensure that the technicians catch a defect before it can lead to an accident on the road. Not all auto body shops follow these standards, but at Elmer’s Auto Body Shop, we do everything that we can to get your car back to you as quickly as possible with the quality control standards followed strictly.

We can’t promise that you won’t experience a delay, but you can trust that when it happens, we had a good reason for it. We did this to ensure that your car meets the highest standards of quality repairs.

Final Thoughts

At Elmer’s Auto Body, we have the experience to ensure that you receive the best repairs possible. We have served the South New Jersey region for over 70 years. As a family-owned and operated business, we seek to make our services easy, convenient, and fast. At the same time, we wish to provide exceptional services to our customers so that they can trust and depend on us. You can call us now at (856) 218-0202.

What You Need to Know About Aluminum Auto Body Repair

When you think about car manufacturing, you probably don’t think of aluminum auto body repairs. Instead, you think of classic steel cars. Over the last few decades, they traditionally made cars from steel. Even today, about 54 percent of all American cars use steel to make them, but things have been changing. The fueling shift comes from changes in technology, more environmental awareness, economic factors, and safety. We see an increased number of automakers transitioning over to aluminum. With this increase in the popularity of aluminum, let’s take a look at what you need to know about aluminum auto body repair.

Aluminum Auto Body Repairs vs Steel Auto Body Repairs

Aluminum is more pliable than steel, and steel will return to its original form because of a concept known as “metal memory.” While many alloys including steel have metal memory, aluminum doesn’t have this. You need special tools to pull out dents with aluminum. Using an aluminum dent-pulling station has become the norm at auto body shops today.

The other thing that makes aluminum auto body repair different from steel comes from the fact that aluminum doesn’t react as well to heat. You put too much heat on aluminum and it will harm the structural integrity. Most auto body shops will use other methods besides welding to connect the parts of a car with extensive aluminum.

Let’s take the Ford F-150 as an example since it uses many aluminum parts. It joins the aluminum parts with the steel parts using special adhesives and rivets. Even if we have experience with steel, we can’t use the same techniques on aluminum because we would ruin the car. Welding aluminum incorrectly can lead to safety hazards because the metal decays at high temperatures.

The technicians who work on aluminum auto body repair also require special and advanced training techniques to do it right.

Why Has Aluminum Gained Popularity?

Looking at all of that, you may wonder why people would use aluminum at all. It does have advantages, but in the past, only supercars were made from aluminum. Now, many cars use aluminum materials to one degree or another. The reason behind this is that the government continues to push stricter requirements on fuel economy. How do you get better fuel economy? You lower the weight of your car, which you can achieve with a lightweight aluminum body.

It may be more complicated to fix, but the fuel savings will outweigh the cost of the repairs. All aluminum vehicles will shed about 40 percent of their body mass, which improves your economy at the fuel pump by 18 percent.

Surprising Number of Benefits

To sum it up, there was a reason why supercars would use aluminum bodies over traditional steel. Because aluminum weighs less, you can make your doors and panels thicker. This greater thickness will allow it to withstand collisions better. Lightweight vehicles can also accelerate faster and handle better than heavier cars. This is because it requires less energy to move the car with a lighter mass.

Believe it or not, aluminum cars also meet up to safety standards better than their steel counterparts. This is because of better energy absorption at impact. Aluminum is also the most environmentally friendly choice in metals for a car because you can recycle it, which saves up to 95 percent of the energy used for raw production.
The Biggest Differences between Steel and Aluminum Auto Body Repairs

Let’s quickly highlight the key differences between aluminum and steel auto body repair:

Should I Get an Aluminum Vehicle?

Even now, aluminum vehicles still tend to be the higher-end cars because of the higher cost of aluminum, but that has been changing slowly. Some of the most common cars that use aluminum today include:

  • Ford F-150
  • Mercedes Benz SL-Class
  • Jaguar SJ
  • Tesla Model X
  • Range Rover
  • Honda NSX

In general, aluminum cars just perform better, which is why we would recommend it. You’ll see a big improvement in your car’s performance in areas like fuel economy, better handling, better braking, and better acceleration. Aluminum also has better towing and payload capabilities, which is why we see it used in some trucks today.

Aluminum Repair Happens in a Separate Enclosure

Because of the risk of irreparable corrosion damage, aluminum auto body repair happens in a separate enclosure to prevent contamination. It uses heavy-duty non-combustible curtain walls to prevent aluminum and steel from mixing. Let’s take an example of this to paint a better picture of how corrosion could happen otherwise.

It happens through a process known as galvanic corrosion. The two dissimilar metals aluminum and steel react to each other chemically. A white powdery substance of corrosion will start to form on the aluminum surface, which bubbles the paint and deteriorates the aluminum. Galvanic corrosion is the reason that we go to such great lengths to avoid contact between aluminum and steel. If the two metals make contact, it creates a problem.

Final Thoughts

If you’d like to learn more about aluminum auto body repair or you need some auto body work done, you could Google, “auto body shop near me.” You could also call Elmer’s Auto Body Shop in South Jersey. At our auto body shop, we have the expertise of over 70 years behind us. As a family-owned and operated business, you support a local family in your community. We seek to make service for you easy, convenient, and fast. You can call us today at (856) 218-0202.

How to Spot a Bad Car Paint Job

There comes a time in a car’s life when you may have to get a paint job, either to touch up damaged areas, match new parts to your old color, or just for a change in your car’s look. After your paint job your car may look perfect as you see it, but looking at it in direct sunlight and from many different angles, you may discover imperfections or errors that should be covered by the company that did the job’s warranty.

Be sure to check your vehicle as soon as you can in direct sunlight, and to check everywhere so that you can bring any issues to the attention of the paint shop and get your issue resolved quickly. There are many different signs that something might be wrong, some extremely obvious– and some a bit harder to spot. After this article, you should have the know-how to make sure that your paint job is done perfectly, or know for certain if that isn’t the case.

Sagging or Running Paint

One big issue is sagging or running paint, which is usually caused by an inexperienced painter rushing the job or failing to mix the paint correctly. The sagging could be very subtle or it could be very obvious even when viewed from afar, but either way, you will need your vehicle to be repainted if you spot the warning signs. You may also notice unsightly spots or raised marks on the vehicle, which may be a sign of over spraying. Overspray may be visible when panels aren’t masked off properly, showing that important steps may have been omitted in your car’s paint job.

Uneven Texture

Uneven texture may be an issue you can spot as well, which could be the result of spraying too close to the surface or having the pressure on the paint gun too low or under-thinned paint. The texture of the paint may resemble ripples or waves, or even have the texture of an orange peel. Trapped air under your paint could produce pinholes in the paint job that can be seen with the naked eye. Wrinkles or feathered edges (raised or lifted edges outlining a repaired area) are sure signs that an issue is present, as well as small circular openings in the surface of the paint job, caused by spraying onto a dirty, oily, or waxy surface. You may also see bubbles on the surface, thick raised and uneven lines, or even spots where the paint is simply peeling off of the vehicle.

Color Quality

Besides the texture and structure of your paint job, there can be issues with the color or look as well, which will indicate that action must be taken to fix a mistake that occurred during a paint job. If a vehicle has a gray cloud that appears on your car over time, that may indicate that condensation had formed on your vehicle as the paint was being applied. You may also notice discolorations, which look like stains forming over time that could be caused by a contaminated product, or too little or too much hardener used. The most obvious issue could be poor color matching. Something may look like it matches at the time, but seeing it in a different light and at different angles can sometimes bring to light streaks, blotches, swirls, or entirely different colored panels than the rest of the vehicle.

Miscellaneous Issues

Your paint job will either look or feel wrong, but it may take some careful examination to actually diagnose the issue. Besides what was listed above, there are many other small issues that you may notice after a paint job. You could see pieces of the paint chipping off or cracking, or forming crow’s feet (like what appears on your face, but on your vehicle’s paint job instead.) You could notice peeling paint or even patches where the paint seems to be sagging or running down the vehicle. There are many different issues you may see, but you will easily be able to see that something isn’t quite right, even if you’re not sure exactly what that something is. Always be sure to document and take as many pictures and videos as you can and send them to the shop you used for the paint job immediately. The quicker you solve the issue, the less of a chance that it could turn into a bigger issue.

Looking for the Best South Jersey Auto Body Shop?

You should always go with a shop that offers a warranty, so any issues discovered after the paint job can be addressed and fixed with minimal stress from you, the owner of the vehicle. Consider Elmer’s Auto Body for your future auto paint job, with over 75 years of experience and high standards for customer satisfaction, safety, and performance, Elmer’s Auto Body will match your color exactly and guarantee that the job is done right the first time, so you can rest assured that now that you know what exactly to look for in a bad paint job, you won’t see any signs of what we’ve discussed, since you will have an unparalleled paint job! So don’t leave the quality of your auto paint job to chance, contact Elmer’s Auto Body today for a free consultation, or book your appointment today!