Looking for ways to save money on car repairs? Regularly maintaining your vehicle – think oil changes and tire rotations – is the best way for an automotive technician to keep an eye on your vehicle health. That way, items that require attention won’t be left to deteriorate to the point of major parts breaking, which could get far more expensive than your budget allows. Just like preventative dental care, regular car care can identify and stave off big, expensive issues.
Another way to save on car repairs is by bringing your own auto parts to a mechanic. There’s often a 25-50% markup on parts, and that number will often be lower for high-dollar parts, and higher for low-dollar parts. The markup helps shops to pay their rent, employees, pay for pricey equipment, and to make some money – after all, they’ve got to remain in business, right?
So, since it could save you a few bucks, you may be wondering, “can you bring your own parts to a mechanic?” In the long run, it’s actually not a great idea.
So, Can You Bring Your Own Parts to a Mechanic? – Here are 5 Reasons Not To:
Let’s say you’ve found a great deal on brake pads at AutoZone, so you bring them to the shop for your mechanic to install. Seems harmless, right? Not so fast. If the brakes you bought wind up failing, you are responsible for those parts, because they won’t have been covered under the shop’s warranty. Why not? The shop may not have recommended those parts for your vehicle. Those parts could have been made with subpar materials, or might fit your vehicle improperly, resulting in poor performance.
If you bring your own parts, shops can only warranty their own labor. This means they would re-install something that weren’t installed properly, but they wouldn’t cover the parts you’d sourced within the warranty. Here’s another way to look at it, courtesy of Bob Chandler, Bonded Transmission & Auto Repair’s service advisor: “Would you bring your steak to the restaurant and ask them to cook it?” Sure, you could buy a steak yourself for much less than you’d pay for it at a restaurant, which would never allow you to bring your own. They wouldn’t be able to confirm its freshness, and might be worried you’d complain about the taste, when they never would have served you that type of steak in the first place.
The Shop Could Be Legally Liable for Failed Parts
If a shop had installed a part that you had bought, and that part failed and caused an accident, the shop could be held legally liable. Matt Weber, owner of Clark’s Car Care, explained that a court will almost always rule against an auto-repair business. They would say it shouldn’t have installed a customer-supplied part whose performance it couldn’t guarantee. Why does that matter? Many shop owners have poured their life savings into their businesses. The liability for installing a part you had purchased, in order to save a few bucks, isn’t worth that risk to a business owner’s personal and professional livelihoods. For that reason alone, many shops will decline installing customer-bought parts. It’s unfair to blame them for not wanting to take the risk of installing the parts you’ve purchased.
You Could Be Wrong
Automotive repair businesses invest a great deal of money into diagnostic equipment. They also prioritize continuing education for their technicians. Unless you’re mechanically inclined, you likely won’t be able to pinpoint the issue. When there’s a sounds coming from some unknown location, or when your check engine light is on, your vehicle is best left in skilled hands. They’ll be much more accurate in determining what’s wrong, and which part(s) will need replacing.
It’s a Hassle
What if you had bought the wrong parts, or if they’re incompatible with additional parts that the shop is providing? You’ll need to head back to the auto parts store, or wait while a replacement is shipped. No need for you to waste time ordering auto parts, and potentially packaging and shipping incorrect ones for return.
You Might Not Get the Best Parts for the Job
Auto-repair businesses have long-standing relationships with parts suppliers. Those relationships allow shops to call in favors for quick deliveries from local parts-distribution centers. Suppliers will also often recommend superior parts for the job. Sure, it may seem as though parts suppliers have a vested interest in recommending more expensive parts. In reality, they wouldn’t dare jeopardize an important relationship with a client (the shop) by recommending a poorly-performing part.
Parts supplier representatives receive training on the latest technology. They have the advantage of receiving real-world performance and warranty information from shop owners and operators. The relationship that your local auto-repair business has with its parts supplier is an advantage that the average vehicle owner wouldn’t likely have after having glanced at a couple of automotive forums. Here’s an example of Tuan, a vehicle owner who had requested OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts for his Subaru. The shop owner had recommended a part that performs better and longer than his vehicle manufacturer’s parts.
Are you sufficiently convinced that your auto parts and labor work should be performed by a skilled technician? Openbay can help you to compare, book and pay for service with a local auto repair business. Drive safely!
Shops! Tell us your opinion. Are there times you’d allow a customer to bring their own parts? Email [email protected] and we may publish a follow-up piece.
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