It is no secret that the maintenance of the car involves a lot of costs, some fairly large and regular. As a rule, car breakdowns turn out to be especially painful. On the one hand, they are associated with the cost of repair, on the other – with the purchase of parts.
Because of this, many people look for the cheapest craftsman and try to save money on spare parts. Using the services of inexpensive and often unprofessional repairers, as well as buying third-rate substitutes is a bad idea. Is it possible to save money and be sure that the car will last a long time? How can I repair my car without incurring a lot of expense?
Car breakdowns usually happen at the most inopportune time. What can you do to minimize costs and not ruin your household budget? The best option, of course, is cheap auto parts. But how do you find these models so you don’t overpay? A few of our tips can help you save a lot of money.
Auto Parts from an Authorized Service Center
Anyone who has ever repaired a car has probably had the opportunity to notice that original auto parts cost many times more than substitutes. Authorized services most often use expensive original parts – especially those that specialize in the repair and maintenance of specific brands.
At such a place, you will be offered only new parts, either identical to those installed at the factory, or manufactured by a company approved by the car manufacturer.
The only downside to such a solution is the prices. They are often much higher than elsewhere. But customers are willing to pay, because it saves nerves and time: they get high quality parts without having to scour the city for the needed part or wait weeks for delivery via the Internet.
If we want to save money, it is worth looking for a quality alternative – as a rule, in the same authorized service centers there are analogs from reputable manufacturers at a more forgiving price.
Auto parts in stationary stores
There are auto stores in every city – both large outlets with warehouses and small local businesses. Places of this type offer the most common items – lamps, tires and wipers, for example.
However, when it comes to the failure of a fairly specific component (say, brake discs adapted to a specific car model), difficulties arise. In such a situation, the store usually offers the opportunity to bring the right part to order.
Firstly, we will have to wait for the component for at least a few days, and secondly, such a product is likely to be sold to us at a much higher price than when ordering online independently.
Every month more and more auto stores that sell goods remotely appear on the market. No wonder, since we buy almost everything online these days, from food to medicine. In the case of buying auto parts such decision gives a lot of advantages:
Time savings. We don’t need to spend hours running around stores and service centers to buy the necessary parts, risking returning empty-handed. It’s enough to sit down in front of your computer or mobile device, find the products you need, place your order and wait for delivery.
More choice and accessibility. Online stores often work with large wholesalers who send the purchased item directly to the buyer after placing the order. Thanks to this, every product available in huge warehouses is available for sale, and there are no problems with finding accessories for popular car models.
Nice prices. They are lower than in stationary car stores, because online stores work on a completely different principle. The owners do not need to maintain premises, they often do not even have their own warehouses, and cooperate with wholesalers. Consequently, the cost of doing business here is much lower, so the margin is not so high.
In addition, a great role is played here by competition. After all, the usual store competes only with nearby outlets selling similar products (if any at all), and the online store, regardless of the location has to deal with dozens of other electronic counterparts. So they compete with each other on prices and many other conveniences.
Safety and comfort. Many people fear they might order the wrong part. However, fears are rarely justified here, because the search for the right parts in the online store is intuitive, accurate and convenient. There are even direct chats with employees, giving the opportunity to choose parts for a specific car – all we need to do is to specify its VIN number.
Another option is a search by make, model and type of part. Moreover, in the event of a possible error we reserve the right to return/exchange the item within a couple of weeks (terms can vary – this issue is stipulated separately in the warranty obligations on each resource).
Buying on the Internet helps you save a lot of money on expensive auto parts – you just need to choose a good, trusted online store with an untainted reputation and order all the necessary parts there.
It is quite another matter – ad sites and auction sites. With them you need to be more vigilant. Find out in advance if you can return the purchase, if it turns out that the product does not meet your expectations. In addition, beware of fakes, which, unfortunately, in such places are plenty.
Is it Worth Buying Used Parts
When faced with the choice between used or new parts, it’s obvious which one will cost less. However, it is worth considering whether such a decision will be profitable in the long run.
For a fairly new car, it is better to buy original components, and new if possible. When looking for something for an old car, you can safely reach for used elements, which allow saving money.
But even in this case try to choose the “originals”: they will exactly fit your car model, and when the time comes, the car with them will be easier to sell.
Reconstruction of worn parts
Do not forget about the possibility of restoring the “native” components. A good technician with the proper knowledge and equipment can repair a lot of things so that the part/assembly/aggregate will work flawlessly for years to come. And it will be cheaper than buying something new. The main thing is not to significantly reduce the quality of the original elements during reconstruction.
It also happens that a professional restoration is more expensive than buying a new, unbranded part imported from China or India. The term “Chinese parts” does not always mean low-quality products: good and bad quality goods can come from the East as well as from Italy or Poland. What matters is the internal control procedures of the manufacturer of a particular component and the reputation of the distributor who sells it.
But the cheapest knockoffs often perform no better than the worn-out original they replaced. For this reason, experts advise those who cannot afford to buy a new “original” quality part to consider restoring the old one. Of course, this solution also has a number of disadvantages: the repair time lengthens, it is difficult to find a good contractor, plus some people have bad associations with recycling.
Some of the most commonly refurbished components include:
- Starters and alternators.
- Headlights, reflectors, lenses, interior light fixtures.
- Injectors, injectors. The high demand for such services has led to the emergence of many unscrupulous performers, carrying out pseudo-repair, often limited to just a thorough cleaning).
- Engine controller.
- FAP or DPF filter. Working with particulate filters is expensive and requires a number of safety measures. They are purged and flushed with harsh chemicals. The dust they contain is carcinogenic, and the cleaning techniques prove hazardous to the people who perform them.
- Steering gears.
- Suspensions, shock absorbers.
- Turbochargers. According to manufacturers, due to the inability to properly regulate out-of-factory turbines with variable geometry, they cannot be restored. In practice, however, few companies pay attention to this and successfully rebuild almost any turbocharger).
The quality of the work depends most of all on the professionalism and integrity of the technicians. It is best if the firm specializes in the repair of specific parts – for example, starters and generators. Of course, there is a warranty on restored devices. So before you throw it away, try to repair it.