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Is OEM the same as original?

Cline Collision Center prides itself on being an OEM auto body shop. You can see our list of OEM certifications here, for car makers like Honda, Hyundia, Infiniti, Nissan, Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, and Kia. You may have heard the term OEM over and over again and wonder what it means and the burning question: is OEM the same as original? 

What does OEM mean?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and indicates that the manufacturer was the original producer of the part – fenders, quarter panels, headlight cover, grills, etc – when the car was built. In car lingo, original parts are used to refer to the parts that the car is assembled with in the factory. Every piece of the car as it exits the factory is an original part. Anything that is replaced, including a tail light, is no longer an original part. However, OEM parts are the same as the original in the sense that they are made by the same manufacturer, with the same materials, to the same specifications. OEM parts are markedly different than aftermarket parts. Aftermarket parts have questionable quality; while they may be cheaper, they also may be inferior and more likely to show uneven wear, not align with the seams of the car, and break down over time. By using OEM parts car owners know that they not only receive a vehicle that is completely returned to factory standard in appearance, they also know their car is restored in structural integrity as well.

After a collision, your car may need repairs to the body. While the replacement parts will not be original to the vehicle, they will be OEM parts that seamlessly fit in with your vehicle and ensure its resale value, structural integrity, and restored appearance. Cline Collision Center always uses OEM parts and proper repair procedures and equipment, which is why we are recognized by so many auto makers as a factory approved facility. Need auto body repairs to your vehicle after an accident? Call us today!

mopar certified collision repair

Many car enthusiasts know MOPAR; we even saw a beautiful Dodge Challenger custom painted with a MOPAR logo emblazoned on the front fender in Santa Rosa recently. All this talk of MOPAR might lead some people to ask…..what does it mean?

MOPAR is a blending of the words Motor and Parts (much like the blending of breakfast and lunch creates brunch). It’s the customer care, service, and parts organization within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Starting in the 1930s the name was introduced as a brand within Chrysler, for example on MOPAR oil filters and antifreeze. It remains the parts manufacturer and service provider within the auto brand, and has even released custom vehicles under the MOPAR name.

Although it’s the parts and service arm of the auto maker, the term has become a word for any Chrysler-made vehicle. So you might hear many Chrysler, Plymouth, Imperial, Ram, or Jeep vehicles referred to as MOPAR.

Top Quality MOPAR Auto Body Repairs

So now when we say Cline Collision Center is recognized as the premier auto body shop for MOPAR certified collision repair in Sonoma County, you know what that means. Our auto body shop is certified by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as a Certified Collision Repair Facility. We use only MOPAR parts and factory approved repair procedures, so you can be sure that we will return your vehicle to factory condition. Our experienced team of auto body professionals has been thoroughly trained to properly use tools and procedures with every job. With our state-of-the-art equipment, talented team, and dedication to OEM parts, we offer the best MOPAR certified collision repair for Santa Rosa residents. Just check out our 5 star rating on Yelp!  Whatever type of FCA car or truck you have, we can fix it so the appearance and structural integrity are completely restored.

What is the difference between OEM and OE?

There are a lot of different terms used when it comes to auto body. There’s OEM, OE, aftermarket, alternative, the list seems to go on and on. We talked in another post about what MOPAR means. One of the biggest questions car owners have is: what is the difference between OEM and OE?

OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. OE stands for original equipment. OE parts are the components of the vehicle as it’s made in the factory – all of the original parts that the car was first built with. Once the car comes out of the factory, everything else is not an OE part.

OEM is original equipment manufacturer, which means this manufacturer was the original manufacturer of the part and is approved for use in the brand’s vehicles. For example, Cline Collision Center is certified by Honda, Kia, Ford, Nissan, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, and Infiniti as an approved collision center. These certifications acknowledge our high tech equipment, adherence to factory-approved procedures, highly trained auto technicians, and dedication to using OEM parts. OEM parts are created for specific makes and models, and approved by the automaker, to fit in the car. By using OEM parts, you uphold the structural integrity of your vehicle, retain its resale value, and make sure it retains a seamless appearance.

Use OEM Parts for the Best Auto Body Repairs

Although sometimes used interchangeably, the terms OE and OEM are different. OE parts are the parts your car exited the factory with. Certain things – like bulbs and belts – are going to have to be replaced. Other times, an accident means your vehicle needs major repairs. By using OEM parts you can ensure your vehicle gets the best repairs. Cline Collision Center is committed to only using OEM parts. “Alternative” parts, such as parts that are salvaged off a totaled vehicle, cheaper versions made by other manufactures, and parts that you don’t know the origin of, might be cheaper, but you don’t know where they come from. They could weaken your vehicle’s structural integrity, wear out before other parts, or not fit seamlessly with your car. Get the best parts – and the best service! – by turning to Cline Collision Center.

OEM Certification And What It Means

It used to be that there were car dealerships and independent body shops. Car owners could decide to take their vehicle to the dealership for auto body repairs or go to a local independent body shop. Dealerships are typically pricier, while independent body shops are less reputable and may offer substandard repairs.

However, there’s a better option. There are now OEM certified independent body shops, that offer high quality repairs that have been approved by the automaker, with the convenience and price break of using a local facility. OEM Certification requires numerous stipulations like:


·         Having the facility and equipment necessary to complete the highest standard of work

·         Thoroughly trained and well qualified auto technicians

·         Only using OEM parts


OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. OEM certification means that a body shop has been acknowledged to only use factory-approved parts. It also means that the facility has the correct equipment to install those parts, and uses only factory-approved procedures. For example, Cline Collision Center is a Ford Recognized auto body facility. This means that Ford has authorized Cline to do work on all Ford vehicles, including the new F-150 that has an aluminum frame. Aluminum frame vehicles require different equipment than traditional steel ones; because of the corrosive nature of the metals, completely separate equipment, tools, and space is needed when working on an aluminum vehicle. Cline has the right environment to offer top-notch Ford repairs.


OEM Certifications from Several of the Top Automakers

Ford isn’t the only automaker that has recognized Cline Collision Center’s work as meeting or exceeding the stringent standards expected for top-tier auto body repair. We are also certified through Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, Infiniti, Nissan, Kia, and Honda. In fact, our technicians carry the highest level of training, including certification through Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (II-CAR), the gold standard of auto body certifications. If you have any other questions about OEM Certification and how it pertains to your vehicle’s repairs, call Cline Collision Center.

What does MOPAR mean?

Cline Collision Center is MOPAR auto body shop. But what does MOPAR stand for? And what does it mean to be a MOPAR body shop?

MOPAR is the customer care, service, and parts organization within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. This automaker makes several brands you’re familiar with:  Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram Trucks, and more. The name MOPAR comes from combing the letters in “MOtor” and “PARts” to create MOPAR. MOPAR produces all the parts for FAC vehicles. Although this is the organization with the automaker’s corporation, the term is used by car owners to refer to all vehicles produced by Fiat Chrysler Automobile. For example, in popular culture the word MOPAR has come to refer to Dodges, Chryslers, Plymouths, Imperials, etc.

When an auto body shop is specially a MOPAR body shop, it means they only use original equipment manufacturer parts for all FAC repairs. Just as Cline Collision Center is certified through Ford, Hyundai, Infiniti, Nissan, Kia, and Honda as an approved body shop that only uses OEM parts, the same goes for Fiat Chrysler vehicles. The label MOPAR body shop is the same as stating we are a FCA certified collision repair facility. It means the automaker has acknowledged our work meets the stringent standards set by Fiat Chrysler for auto body repairs, including using MOPAR-produced body parts, factory approved procedures, and high quality equipment and tools for the job.


Why use MOPAR parts?

It’s crucial to use MOPAR parts for auto body repairs on your Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, or other FCA vehicle. Why is it so important? MOPAR specially manufactures these parts for your vehicle. Every part is engineered and fitted for the exact car. Aftermarket or alternative parts might be cheaper, but they are not a guaranteed fit, are often inferior quality, and may alter the appearance and/or structural integrity of your vehicle. By using MOPAR parts and trusting a MOPAR auto body facility, you can ensure your vehicle is restored to factory condition. That’s exactly what Cline Collision Center provides. If you need repairs on your FCA vehicle, contact a factory approved collision facility today.

Using the Right Equipment is a Must for Auto Body Repair

When you’re selecting the auto body shop where your car will be repaired, there’s nothing more important than making sure your technicians have both the right equipment and the right training. Too often, auto repair shops skip over certain equipment and use less functional versions, resulting in subpar work that can end up causing more harm than good.

If you’re curious about how a shop does things, you can always visit to ask questions and have them explain their process. You’re going to want to choose a shop where the staff is certified and hopefully uses OEM parts when possible so that you know you’re getting quality parts that meet the standards your car did when you first drove it off the lot. Once you have a good idea of how they run their shop, try speaking to a few customers if they’re willing, or checking reviews online to see what people have to say about the quality of the work. Remember, for your safety and peace of mind, it’s better to look for quality over low cost.

As far as equipment goes, it’s really important that they have the appropriate tools for the job and that they know how to use them. There are a lot of businesses that use the wrong equipment, and it results in shoddy work at best and dangerous situations at worst. For example, many shops don’t invest in proper aluminum repair equipment. Aluminum is a popular metal to use in the construction of most cars, but you’ll find that several companies will use panel bonding instead of rivets, which is a mistake that can result in bad consequences in the event of an accident.

Instead of panel bonding, the proper tool to use is a rivet gun. We use one made by ProSpot that is approved by Ford for use on their vehicles. It allows us to both remove and install rivets. Without this tool, you flat-out can’t install self-piercing rivets. There’s no other way to do it. It’s a pretty sizeable investment, so some auto body shops will skip it altogether and use alternate methods, which results in suboptimal work.

It takes extra investments in both money and time to make sure the shop has a tool like this, but in our opinion, it’s absolutely necessary to get the job done right. Beyond spending the money on the tool itself, everyone who uses it should be properly trained, or else it’s just as bad as not having the tool at all. Take a peek onto the floor of an auto body shop if you can and note what sort of tools are being used. Do you see a rivet gun anywhere? If you’re not sure, ask.

We are always happy to talk you through our methods and discuss our recommendations for your repairs. If you have any questions at all, please ask. We encourage all our clients to know exactly what’s going on with their cars!

Windshield Installation: Why Less Is Not More

When it comes to auto body repair, one repair that you really do not ever want to skimp on is windshield repair. The price tag for certain repairs can be cringe-worthy and can make you want to immediately look for the cheapest possible option, but it’s incredibly dangerous to cut corners where your windshield is concerned.

Your windshield is a major piece in the structural integrity of your car, protecting you from flying projectiles and in the event of a collision, as well as helping to maintain the overall shape of the body of your car in an accident. If it’s improperly installed, it could pop out or shift, causing irreparable damage to your vehicle and, by extension, you and your loved ones. A bad seal could also cause serious damage if your airbags are deployed, even resulting in a blowout and a dangerous amount of glass shrapnel.

It’s just not worth the potential damage, so if your windshield is cracked or broken and in need of repair, don’t try to find the cheapest possible replacement. Instead, go with an auto repair shop that has a history of professional installation and quality work. You can find such a shop through business recommendations and customer reviews.

To help you understand why a replacement may cost a pretty penny, we’ll go over the process with you. It’s a relatively quick repair, usually taking about one hour to complete and two hours to allow it to seal properly. In our shop, we follow OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) guidelines, which means we typically use factory-quality glass and professional installation to ensure a good seal. While some of our windshield installations may vary depending on the customer’s insurance company and policy, the bulk of our windshield replacements use OEM glass. At this time, we don’t perform repairs on small cracks or chips.

Windshields should be installed while wearing gloves to prevent the transfer of any skin oils to the glass, which can mess with the adhesive and prevent a proper seal. There’s a method to setting the glass, requiring primer and other bonding agents before it’s properly sealed. If the job is performed incorrectly or in a slapdash way, it can cause major issues with rust and leaking along the seal, as well as major safety concerns. Please don’t forget that your windshield is you top safety restraint — even moreso than your seatbelt. If your windshield’s seal is weak, you could be thrown from your vehicle when you otherwise wouldn’t be, resulting in terrible injuries or even death. Don’t take the risk!

If you have any other questions or would like a consultation for windshield replacement, please let us know. We’re here to help!

Why Don’t Insurance Companies Require OEM Certification?

Do you know what OEM stands for? It stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturer.” When an auto body shop talks about repairing your car with OEM parts, they’re talking about parts that are the same as those that were installed when the vehicle was first built. On the flip side, you may hear the term “aftermarket” parts, which refers to parts that may be similar but are of a different brand or type than those that were originally used in the making of the car.

You may be wondering what the difference is. In truth, many aftermarket parts are perfectly fine and usable in a variety of cars. However, a good auto repair shop will always opt for the OEM Manufacturer Recommendation, whatever that recommendation happens to be. That’s because OEM parts are frankly higher quality, as well as the fact that they’re the parts that were originally intended to be a part of the vehicle. When a vehicle is designed with certain parts in mind, replacing those parts with different versions can have an effect on the car’s performance.

OEM parts require a very stringent certification process, which is part of what makes their cost higher than cheaper aftermarket parts. That certification process includes requiring that technicians be certified in welding steel and aluminum, ensures they have proper equipment, and that they must use software to access the OEM repair guidelines. Furthermore, an OEM shop must use a CSI platform to track customer reviews and maintain a clean shop with adequate space. This helps to make sure that OEM parts are installed and repaired correctly.

As you can see, operating as an OEM shop is a much more involved process, but in the end it means that a car will be repaired to its original factory specs — it’ll be “good as new.”

Insurance companies don’t require shops in their “preferred” network to be OEM certified, and in fact often recommend against it. Their ultimate goal is getting cars in and out with the cheapest, fastest repairs in order to keep their costs as low as possible. We don’t believe that’s the way to do things, and we refuse to do it that way. Your car deserves better than a fast and loose repair job, and so do you.

If you’re concerned about the higher price tag that comes with using OEM parts in repairs, please feel free to ask us questions and have us explain the benefits. This isn’t a decision we came to lightly, but it’s one we truly believe is in the best interest of our customers.

Insurance “Preferred” Shops vs Independent Auto Body Repair

You’ve had an accident and you’re in need of some auto body repair. Lots of us have been there, and we know the stress that comes along with figuring out all the details of insurance claims and “preferred” body shops. We want to make this as easy as possible on you because you’ve already been through enough, so we’re writing up a quick primer to help you understand what’s in your best interests.

First things first: what is a “preferred” body shop? These are shops that work through an insurance company’s DRP, or Direct Repair Program. It’s a relationship with an auto repair shop that allows the insurance company to have a great deal of say in how a car is repaired, down to approving specific parts and labor. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the hands of the insured, since the insurance company simply hands over a list of their “preferred” shops and lets you choose, but it comes at a cost. That cost is that the auto shop is beholden to the insurance company, not you, the customer. The insurance company gets to call the shots and decide what they’re willing to allow, which may not be what’s best for you or your car.

Why do auto body shops enter a relationship like this? Because it’s guaranteed income, usually. The insurance company provides them business in exchange for more control over the outcome. You can certainly have perfectly adequate work done at one of these “preferred” shops, but ultimately it’s better for you to go with an auto body shop that’s working for you, not your insurance company.

Here’s why: any auto body shop that works with you directly is going to be focused on making you happy, not making a corporation happy. Insurance companies are interested in keeping their costs down, and if that means making sure your car is repaired with cheaper parts and a lower labor rate, then that’s what they’re going to do. Generally, insurance companies don’t require “preferred” shops to use OEM parts, which means a lot of discount aftermarket parts are used instead. As with most things in life, you’re always going to want to go with quality over the cheapest possible solution.

It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to try to put you off from using a “non-preferred” shop, which is hardly surprising. If they have less control, that means more paperwork and cost on their end, but ultimately that’s what they’re there for. You pay insurance premiums so that you can receive quality care if something goes wrong. An insurance company cannot stop you from having your car repaired at the auto body shop of your choice, but they will probably try to convince you to go to one of “their” shops by making claims that outside-network shops “charge more” or “take longer.”

The true long and short of it is that if you’re insured, then your insurer must allow you to repair your car wherever you like, and once you hit your out-of-pocket premium, their coverage should kick in. We’ll do everything in our power to help you through any stall tactics so we can get your car repaired and back to you as soon as possible. We’re happy to help you with the paperwork to get your claim settled!

Is the Expense Worth It?

With popular models of Infiniti like the QX50 (formerly known as the EX) costing just under $35,000, it is possible to get the feature-rich joy of driving a luxury car at a less expensive price tag. One of the reasons consumers consistently choose Infiniti is the sleek, modern look of their vehicles and the trendy features offered. While you may enjoy the cheaper price as opposed to other luxury cars like BMW and Audi, it’s important not to choose the least expensive repairs.

You’ve already invested a lot of money into your car. You don’t want to waste unnecessary funds on a part that doesn’t matter. We totally understand. But auto body repair is not a place to skimp. There’s a reason Infiniti OEM repairs are so important. The quality you receive from a Infiniti certified collision repair shop is unparalleled. Aftermarket, or alternative, parts are inferior. They may be made by second-rate suppliers, salvaged from totaled cars, rebuilt from other vehicles after an accident, or come from a different source. You don’t know where these parts come from, who made them, or what condition they are in. There’s no guarantee that these parts won’t deteriorate over time. In fact, depending on the part, they may seriously impact your car’s crash worthiness.

By trusting an Infiniti OEM body shop, you receive high quality parts that will return your vehicle to factory condition. Not only does a certified OEM shop make sure the parts used on your collision repairs are new and original equipment manufacturer parts, specifically made to fit your car, they also are required to follow Infiniti approved procedures on all repairs.

Cline Collision Center is certified in Infiniti collision repair, meaning our work, equipment, and parts used have be acknowledged by Infiniti as being the highest quality.  Although Infiniti OEM parts may be more expensive than cheap knockoffs, you can rely on them. Inferior aftermarket parts are not necessarily made to fit your vehicle, and may deteriorate or rust over time, impacting the appearance and structural integrity of your car. Instead, trust an Infiniti OEM shop with experience, the highest certifications, and a dedication to our work. We stand behind all our repairs. Come to Cline, where “choosing us is no accident”.