Thinking about Buying your Own Car Parts? Read This First

When I wrote this, I was faced with another customer who pre-purchased his parts and wanted us to install them. In the past in all the shops I worked at I never offered this option to customers, but at some shops that will try to give customers more options than just what they must offer. This article is intended to help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of buying your own car parts are.

While most in the auto repair industry prefer to sell you their own part (for practical and profits reasons) this article helps you decide on your own terms. I will outline the upside and downside to bringing your own parts and allow you to make your own educated choice.

Benefits

Price

You can usually buy them at a lower cost than the shop will offer the part at.

Quality

You can weigh the benefits of getting a better brand and quality part.

Warranty

Your part may carry a longer warranty than what is offered by the shop.

Knowledge

You know that the part you are replacing is new and not damaged.

Speed

When you bring your own part you know that the technician won’t have to wait for the part to be ordered and actually get to the shop. When in doubt err on the side of caution. Don’t buy a part when there are multiple options and you don’t have the answers to some questions.

DRAWBACKS

Accuracy

Many times when a customer brings their own part the part is not correct. If the technician has already disassembled your car and the parts turn out to be wrong, most shops will still charge you for the labor and any additional time your car takes up on the lift.

Warranty

While the warranty offered by the auto parts store may be longer, it does not cover labor. In my shop, if the part I installed was defective I will cover the labor and replacement of the part from the get-go. If you buy your own part and it is defective you will have to go buy a new one and lay out the money first, then return the defective part for a refund.

A shop like mine will offer you a warranty that is valid nationwide. A local part store will not be able to offer you the same kind of warranty.

Quality

Most shops that offer you a warranty have it in their best interest to offer you only high-quality parts. In my shop, I wouldn’t offer an off-brand part on your car because that would almost guarantee that you return quickly with a problem.

Many parts, i.e. electrical components are non-refundable. If you end up with the wrong part you must eat the cost.

If you Decide to Buy Your Own Parts

I advise that you get your car checked out first prior to purchasing the part. This way you are certain of what the problem is and buy the correct part.

Be sure to know all the little details that might be needed. Don’t think that a question regarding 4WD or ABS doesn’t matter. Know what the sub-model of the car is, whether it has ABS, if it’s 4WD, and if it has third-row seating, etc.

When in doubt err on the side of caution. Don’t buy a part when there are multiple options and you don’t have the answers to some questions.

Be sure you know the return policy!

Think about quality and warranty when purchasing parts. Aftermarket parts and perfectly OK,  try to get OE fitment with brands like Denso, MotorcraftNGK, and the like. A part specialist will be able to advise you on better brands for the specific part you need.

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