Can You Have Aftermarket Parts Installed at the Shop?
Since we started mass-producing cars, reducing maintenance costs has been a hot topic, leading to fierce competition in the automotive parts industry. Generally speaking, independent auto mechanics will suggest OEM but will install aftermarket parts if that’s what the customer prefers. However, having aftermarket parts installed at the dealer might be a challenge since they will do everything to avoid that, especially if it’s a newer model. That said, they will often give in when the car in question is older since there is not much point in convincing someone to get an OEM part if it’s half the car’s value.
There are many creative ways to pursue budget-friendly solutions, but some are better than others. For instance, having your vehicle serviced at a questionable repair shop or servicing it yourself without prior knowledge is rarely a good idea. On the other hand, choosing aftermarket parts and replacing them on your own with the help of a proper service manual for cars is one of the easiest ways to save money, which isn’t necessarily a bad idea when done right. The same component will have a different price for different models, and buying it straight from the manufacturers’ supplier will significantly impact the cost.
Buying and Installing Aftermarket Parts on Newer Cars
Buying OEM parts for a car 3 to 8 years old has always been the standard. Luckily, that price isn’t really justified by higher quality, and OEM parts don’t necessarily bring any other advantage besides keeping your dealer happy and preventing it from making stories when you need to claim something on the warranty. However, once the warranty runs out, some clever ways exist to save money on parts without sacrificing quality.
Indeed, it’s important to mention that car manufacturers get many of their parts from third-party suppliers, who also sell them independently at a huge discount. That means you get the exact part from the same OEM manufacturer for a discounted price and a box that says Textar or ATE instead of BMW. This method will take a little more time but will, in essence, get you OEM parts at a fraction of the price.
The simplest way to avoid any mistakes is by consulting a good car service manual or a parts catalog. They are model specific and will often provide you with OEM part numbers. Once you have those, simply Google the part number, and you’ll find a ton of aftermarket alternatives.
Buying and Installing Aftermarket Parts on Older Cars
When repairing an old car that’s only supposed to get you from point A to point B, cost-effectiveness is a top priority. With that in mind, aftermarket parts are almost a given — and for a car only worth a couple of grand, it might be tempting to go even further and buy no-name instead of original parts.
However, when it comes to cheap Chinese parts, it will always be a gamble, and there is nothing to assure you of their quality. And to some extent, it’s true that more expensive parts are usually made of better materials. So, when choosing between $15 and $20 brake pads, go for the latter if possible. But some parts, even though cheap, will have a warranty. So when shopping for parts, it’s a good idea to ask if some options you are presented with have one.
Installing these cheap parts won’t be a problem at an independent repair shop. Dealers, on the other hand, will object and might even turn you down if the parts don’t at least have some popular supplier name on them. That’s especially true for suspension and brake components that can affect safety. Alternatively, you could replace the parts yourself, which, even if you don’t know how to, is easy to learn with a good car service and repair manual.
Not sure where to find one for your car? Have a look at eManualOnline — you’ll thank me later.
Installing Aftermarket Parts Yourself
Since the underlying subject of replacement parts is saving money, installing them at home will have a much more significant impact on your wallet. In exchange for dirty hands, you will avoid labor costs and potentially suspicious repair shops. This way, you can invest what you save on better quality parts, and with the right equipment, repairing is generally not that difficult.
Rebuilding an engine with no prior experience is, of course, a bad idea. But you can change filters, brake pads, suspension components, tie rods, etc. Moreover, besides the obvious economic value, learning a new skill is never a waste. And you can repair many things using only the tools found in an average garage. But, even if you need to invest in something basic like a socket set, it’s still better than leaving your money at dealerships.
It also helps that learning a new skill has never been easier than in today’s age — and this is especially true for car maintenance, with car service & repair manuals readily available online for any model and engine. For example, learning how to replace your water pump will take half an hour with the help of the manufacturer’s recommended procedures and clear illustrations. And thanks to the troubleshooting charts and parts catalog, you can avoid repair shops indefinitely. All this, in turn, secures more resources for quality parts and consequently increases the longevity of your car.
Selling vehicles constitutes only a part of the average car company’s revenue. A significant part of their profit comes from selling optional equipment, financing deals, maintenance, and selling OEM parts.
An exaggerated example of how the prices of OEM parts vary is that the Bugatti Veyron uses the same MAF sensors as a VW Jetta — yep, the exact same. But of course, when buying one through Bugatti, they cost five times as much.
This practice of charging more money where they can is present across the automotive industry to varying degrees, including your dealer. Avoiding such robberies when possible is everyone’s goal, and one hopefully made more accessible using this article.