Are used parts OK in insurance claims?
It was an unfortunate mistake that left Mike Pineda stranded by the side of the road in May. The engine in his 2013 Ford Fusion seized 15 minutes after getting an oil change at a Mr. Lube in Richmond.
Someone may have mistakenly drained the oil out again after the new oil went in. But Mr. Lube immediately took care of the situation by notifying its insurance company. A claim was opened but Pineda wasn’t happy when the replacement engine showed up at the shop.
It was a recycled used engine.
“I didn’t authorize that. I wasn’t even forewarned about that,” he said. “They offered me a scrapyard motor.”
He wanted a new Ford engine with a Ford warranty. The recycled engine came with a one-year warranty, while an engine provided by Ford would have a two-year warranty.
He said he knew he had properly cared for his vehicle and didn’t know anything about the history of the recycled engine.
“I could just only foresee future problems were there more to arise,” Pineda said.
So what’s acceptable and what is not when dealing when dealing with repairs covered by insurance companies?
“The principle when you have an insurance claim, either for a bad car repair or after a collision, is what’s called integral restitution. They have to give you a repair of like kind and quality to what you lost,” explained George Iny with the Automobile Protection Association.
The service manager at the Ford dealer, where Pineda took his vehicle to be repaired, examined the recycled engine.
“It’s actually one of the cleanest motors I’ve seen,” said Ivo Amaral, service manager at Cam Clark Ford.
Although not confirmed, the recycled engine had about half the miles on it as Pineda’s old engine. So Pineda could potentially have had an engine that was even better and last longer than his old one.
Still he wasn’t convinced.
“I wanted the option of factory-backed warranty,” he said.
And that’s his right. That’s where the insurance company may have failed to do things the proper way.
“This is the first time I’ve seen it where the insurance company took the full control of it and got the engine shipped to us without myself or the customer knowing,” said Amaral. “I’m the service provider. I’ll do what he wants. He’s my customer. Not the insurance company.”
It could have been a breakdown in communication. After things were sorted out, the insurance company offered Pineda the choice of a new Ford engine, but he’d have the pay the difference in price from what was originally offered. It would cost Pineda an extra $3,600.
“Our sense at the APA is that you probably would have gotten as good service out of a good used engine for a Ford product like this one, as you would out of a brand new one,” said Iny.
But Pineda was willing to pay the difference in price for peace of mind.