It’s funny how most people, or at least, most people who use the internet, will buy almost anything online without hesitating. They buy toiletries, they buy computer bits and bobs, they buy perfume. However, one area where there is hesitancy is when buying car parts.
Most of us get all our car repairs done at the local garage, or if you’re lucky, you might have a mechanic or car fanatic neighbour who can help you out.
People tend to be a bit worried about sourcing parts or things that they can’t fit themselves, or they think that if they were to try to save money by supplying a car part to their local garage for fitting, that they would offend the garage. One way to look at it is the analogy of taking some fresh fish round to your local restaurant and asking them if you can dine there for less if they cook the fish you brought in.
Well, guess what. Chefs and mechanics don’t think the same way! No doubt, were you to take your own fish into the restaurant to ask for a cheaper meal you would quickly be shown the door. However, this is not the case when you need car parts.
Garages set out your bill for repairs by stating the cost of the parts, and the cost of the labour to fit them. As we all know, garages make most of their money with the labour, and even car parts costing just a few pounds can end up costing you several hundred pounds once you have added on the labour costs.
The truth is, as long as the motor spares that are fitted are in good condition and suitable for the job (i.e. they are right car parts for the right car model), most garages and mechanics will not object if you want to provide the parts yourself. They still get their markup on the labour. Next time you are facing an MOT repair job, find out what the parts are and ask if you can source your own. Yes, it might slow the job down a bit (and if you need an urgent repair, you’ll probably have to go with what the garage provides) but if you do have the time, go for it!
What this means is that you can sometimes save a lot of money by sourcing the motor spares you need online, instead of buying through garages, or through major car manufacturers.
One of the markets that you are opened up to online, is that of the car breakers. These are people who buy a car that is no longer fit for the road, and they literally take it apart piece by piece and sell it. For those who sell these parts online, this is like having access to a car scrap yard without having to go and negotiate with a gruff car scrapyard owner. For those of us who know relatively little about cars and prefer not to have to face the prospect of pointing out to an expert which car parts we need, this can be a big relief!
Online motor spares dealers, especially those offering secondhand car parts therefore can save you a fortune. And it’s not just for car repairs either. If you have minor problems with your car such as faulty windscreen wipers or lights not working, by buying the parts online and fitting these yourself, again, you can save yourself and awful lot of money. If you don’t know how to fit a particular part, a quick Google or a search on YouTube will almost certainly take you towards a host of resources which will tell you what to do with them. Car enthusiasts take great pride in undertaking their own repairs and generally tend to be very keen to help other people to fix theirs. As long as you are polite and reasonable (and as specific as possible with your request) you may be surprised at how easy some car maintenance and repair jobs actually are, even if you’ve never considered yourself to be a car “person”.
Also, consider buying a Haynes car manual for your model of car – and even check the car manual that you may have got with your car. Both will give you a lot of car maintenance tips that can help you to minimise the cost of those trips to the garage.