We always have a love hate relationship with our cars; loving them for getting us around quickly and safely and hating them when the break down, need expensive insurance or break down. Often we are intimidated by our mechanics, who have the mystical understanding that can make the vehicle run again, and accept their advice and quotations with touching, but sometimes blind, faith. Instead of merely accepting the word of your mechanic, do a little bit of research, not only on the prices of parts, but also on the signs and symptoms of common car problems. In this way, if you are faced with a money-hungry mechanic who might try and con you into authorising unnecessary repairs and parts replacements on your vehicle, you will be able to refute his claims. (Please do note, most mechanics are honest, working joes who simply want to do a good job and get home to their families – it is, as always, the small minority that lets them down!)
Once you have established that you do, in fact, need certain car parts, how should you go about sourcing them? Thanks to the global marketplace that has emerged thanks to the Internet, you are able to search far and wide for the perfect parts at great prices; all without leaving the comfort of your home or office. Sites like shop4autoparts.net and point-s.co.uk make it easy to find and compare prices and specifications, so that you can be confident that you are getting the right part for your model at the best possible price.
Dig in the Scrap Yard
Scrap yards are a good place to find parts too, although this does require that you have at least a basic understanding of what you are looking for. Complete novices may not be able to tell the difference between strong but grubby parts and clean-looking but weak or fragile ones. Despite the fact that scrapyard prices are reasonable you do not want to end up back where you started, but with a bite out of your restricted budget! If possible, take, if not your mechanic, then a mechanically minded person with you to get the goods from the scrap yard, and ask them to check each piece before you buy.
Search the Ads
Auto parts are often listed for sale in the newspapers too. Once again, avoid any deals that seem to be too good to be true, and ask the vendor where they source their auto parts from. ‘A supplier in (another country)’ is acceptable; obviously he or she does not want you to deal with them directly; but an answer like ‘oh, here and there, you know’ may mean that the parts have not arrived on the market by legal means. Listen for signs of evasion or duplicity, and if in doubt, go elsewhere for your car parts. Once you have agreed to a deal, again, get someone mechanically skilled to check them before handing over your precious money.
Buying car parts is much like buying anything else in life. Check and compare prices, know your own limitations in the field and do not be scared to ask for expert help if you need it.