It is not uncommon for car components to wear out and break over time, regardless of how closely you follow the routine maintenance intervals specified in your car service manual. Defective parts mainly result from wear and tear, and when it happens, there is no other choice but to get a replacement. While a few might be inexpensive to fix, others are highly labor-intensive and quite costly to replace.
When things get expensive, buying your own replacement part and bringing it to a mechanic to replace it might seem like a wise option. After all, you are probably here because you aren’t sure whether you should leave it to professionals or not, right? But before you make this critical decision, there are some things you ought to know.
Of course, there’s no denying it; you could save some money when opting to purchase your replacement part yourself. The downside is that, if the new part was to turn out defective, claiming the warranty could be a lot more challenging. Most mechanics work closely with local aftermarket part stores, which keep a record of the parts purchased.
If your repair shop was to replace a ball joint bought at the nearest part store, and for any reason, it was to loosen again only a month or two later, the technician could easily call the part store, have the invoice pulled up in a minute, and have a replacement ball joint sent back right away. On the other hand, if you’ve brought your own ball joint, since they can’t vouch for the quality of your part, and are unaware of the manufacturer’s warranty, it would be really hard to receive a replacement free of charge.
The mechanic would have to remove the ball joint, give it to you so you can bring it to whoever you initially bought it from (without being able to use your car since it’s on a lift and missing a ball joint), have it replaced (assuming you still have the proof of purchase), and bring it back to the mechanic to have in installed.
Not the most straightforward process, that’s for sure!
It’s not just about getting replacement parts
Unless you actually work in the field, it’s safe to assume your mechanic is better informed about the best aftermarket manufacturers and what’s the best options for your car. Not to mention that, when sourcing parts yourself, there is always a possibility of getting the wrong one.
There is also a high risk of running into an incorrect diagnostic. Unless you have a lift at home and actually know what you are doing, it can sometimes be challenging to differentiate if it’s a loose ball joint, a faulty link, a cracked control arm bushing, or a worn-out tie rod end that’s causing that weird clunk when hitting a pothole. Buying a replacement component on a guess could result in you having the wrong part replaced and paying for the job, only to realize the same clunk is still there 3 streetlights later.
Of course, a repair manual for cars (or internet forums) may hint at a defective component, but unless you are properly equipped and know your way around cars, it’s probably better to let a mechanic examines your vehicle first—and once the car is lifted up, why not have it fixed while you’re there?
Not to mention that, when sourcing your own parts, you could also risk not buying the right one. Still, if you decide to go that route, think about getting a repair manual like those sold by eManualOnline first. They are quite inexpensive and contain illustrations with numbered parts so you are sure you to buy the right replacement part from the get-go.
You might end up spending more
When taking shortcuts, you get cut short! Sourcing your replacement part might seem like a smart move since you would save money. Besides, what could go wrong? Right?
Aside from the risk of purchasing an incompatible replacement, you might also buy an inferior model that eventually breaks down a lot faster. Then you would have to get another replacement sooner than projected, which wouldn’t have happened if you trusted your mechanic in the first place. Installing a subpar or different part from the manufacturer’s recommendation can also cause further damages to your vehicle, and you know what that means—more money.
Of course, repair shops often add a 25-45% markup on parts they source, which goes into paying employees, rent, buying the latest pieces of equipment, etc. If you bring your own parts, it’s not uncommon for mechanics and repair shops to charge more for labor.
Although you signed a waiver absolving the workshop from any assurance of the quality of the part you sourced, it can still be held liable for installing it if it was to fail later on.
This is not true everywhere but in some cases, the court may hold a repair shop liable for failing to warn a customer about the dangers of installing a defective/sub-par component. If your repair shop maintains a policy of only using parts it sourced, blame it for playing safe.
Wasted time and unnecessary hassle
If you were to buy an incompatible part, you would end up wasting both your and the mechanic’s time. You’d also need to run back and forth to get the part changed, all in a bid to save a few dollars. Not to mention that while you are trying to find a way to get to the part store, your mechanic might very well charge you for that time too. After all, he cannot work on another vehicle as long as your car is up there.
So? Can you buy car parts and have a mechanic install them?
There are two sides to this, and both have their pros and cons.
- You either trust your mechanic to source for parts, spend more and get a warranty.
- Purchase the part, save some money but risk running into more problems in the long run.
If you are running on a tight budget and are okay with not having a warranty (or having to manage it on your own), buying your own parts might still be a good idea. However, ensure to mention it to your mechanic before arriving at the shop. Be upfront about it and ask your mechanic for advice—preferably before buying the parts.
Moreover, if you are lucky enough to have found a trustworthy mechanic, he should be able to suggest other solutions that would better fit your budget.
Hence, you are better off trusting your mechanic to source the part since he has been in the business long enough to know what’s best for you. Not trusting your mechanic is working in your best interest? Find another one—as simple as that.
Would you allow a doctor you don’t trust to work on yourself? So why allow a shady mechanic to fix your beloved vehicle. In most cases, if you fear your mechanic might charge you too much for a repair, you probably just need to find a new one.
This content is brought to you by Wiliam Jhone.
The post Should You Buy Car Parts and Have a Mechanic Install Them? appeared first on The Good Men Project.