A HAPPY ENDING TO AN UNHAPPY COLLISION

When one Ford owner's Flex was hit at a drive-through, he thought he’d have an endless hassle with repairs. He didn’t. Here’s what he did right.

It seemed like an ordinary weekday for Ramiro Bocanegra when he got into the driver’s seat of his Ford Flex for the 15-mile commute to his job as front office operator of a medical group in Los Angeles. But the morning quickly turned from typical to terrible when he made a pit stop for breakfast at a fast-food restaurant: Another driver started backing up while Bocanegra idled in the drive-through line.

“I kept honking, honking, but he did not hear, and he ran into my driver side,” says Bocanegra, whose blaring horn yielded to the sickening crunch of metal as his front end was smashed by the steel bumper of an aging Nissan truck. Not only did he miss his egg and sausage sandwich, but Bocanegra was detoured from work with the inconvenience of having to arrange unexpected repairs on the fly.

“He messed up my bumper, and broke my headlights and fender,” says Bocanegra, a 47-year-old father of six who had been driving his Flex for three years without incident. He estimated that the Flex needed more than $2,000 worth of repairs. Dismayed, Bocanegra immediately called Star Ford Lincoln in Glendale, where he had purchased his car, to find out where he could have his vehicle fixed with real Ford parts (also called OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, parts).

Bocanegra had the right idea, because using genuine parts can be key to having happy results. “Ford parts fit better, like a brand-new car,” says Daniel Delgadillo, a body repairman at the Santa Monica Ford Lincoln Collision Center. “Sometimes aftermarket parts don’t fit. OEM is always better.”

Just because you have a Ford vehicle, however, doesn’t mean an insurance company will approve repairs with new Ford-manufactured parts. When it comes to collision repair, many policies do not automatically include original parts. In addition to non-Ford parts, they may recommend utilizing salvage parts taken from a vehicle that was in a collision. One way to be certain you receive new Ford parts is to request that coverage when acquiring your auto policy.

“You can trust Ford products when you want to fix something because they’ve been making cars for years,” says Bocanegra, who ended up having his Flex repaired with original Ford parts.

If you’re in an accident caused by someone else, you can insist on original parts, especially if the other driver’s liability insurance coverage exceeds the cost of your vehicle’s repairs. If your request is not granted, you have the right to sue the other party to demand them. If your insurance company is covering the repair and recommends aftermarket parts, you can request that genuine Ford parts be used. When contracting for service—even with a Ford Dealer Service Center—be sure to get it in writing that the repairs will be done using original factory parts, so there’s no question about what you’re getting.

Do your own research, like Bocanegra did, on the benefits of using real Ford parts: Not only are the parts of higher quality than many offered in the aftermarket, but they are subject to the same crash-testing procedures and safety standards as the original vehicle. New Ford parts help maintain the resale value of the car—and are covered by Ford Motor Company warranties.

Bocanegra had his Ford Flex back within two weeks. “They did a great job,” he says. “And I have full confidence using actual parts from the dealer. I feel more safe.” But next time he’s hungry for a fast-food fix? He’s skipping the drive-through.

By Chris Cane

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