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The average age of a vehicle on the road today is 12 years, according to CARID, so it is likely that you will have to make several visits to the repair shop during these years. And depending on what needs to be done, these repairs can be costly.
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But there is a way to save big bucks on your next repair. According to CARiD data, if drivers buy the necessary parts, tools and chemicals online and do the work themselves, they can save up to 85% on average on an auto repair.
What repairs are DIY safe?
Saving up to 85% is an attractive prospect, but it’s important that you only perform a repair yourself if you’re sure you can do it safely.
“Any repair requires a certain level of safety precautions,” said Richard Reina, product training manager at CARiD. “The easiest and safest to start with are things like checking tire pressure, replacing the interior cabin air filter, replacing a light bulb or replacing the wiper blades. They don’t require a lot of tools, and they don’t require working around a hot engine or lifting the car. What I love about starting these recommendations is that it builds a level of trust. »
Once you are comfortable with these simple repairs, you can perform your own oil change.
“Changing the engine oil isn’t a difficult thing to do, but it does require you to have a set of jack stands to properly and safely support the weight of the car before sliding under it,” Reina said.
You can always save by buying parts yourself and leaving the repair to a professional
If you don’t feel comfortable doing a repair yourself – or if it’s a more complicated repair that requires a professional – you can always save by buying the necessary replacement parts and bringing to the repair shop. Spare parts represent up to 77% of the total cost to consumers, according to CARiD data.
Before you do this, however, it’s important to talk to your mechanic and see if they’ll allow you to purchase the parts yourself.
“A lot of mechanics won’t do it, but a lot of mechanics will,” Reina said. “Having a relationship with a mechanic increases the likelihood that they will agree to get a part from you. Having this conversation beforehand adds credibility. It makes them realize that you don’t see them as trying to rip you off , but you want them to understand that you are just trying to save money and you may have dealt with this particular coin source before.
As for where to buy parts if you get the okay from your mechanic, you have a few options that each have their pros and cons.
Buy parts directly from your car dealership
“Your first instinct might be to go to the dealership. The upside is that the dealership is potentially close to you, maybe that’s where you bought your car and you’ll get brand name parts,” Reina said.
And in some cases, that might be your only option.
“Depending on the age of the car and the part you are looking for, this might be the only choice. The secondary market may not have been able to produce the part you need,” Reina said.
However, it is also probably the most expensive place to buy auto parts.
Buy parts from a brick-and-mortar replacement parts retailer
Another option is to buy parts from retailers like Pep Boys, AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and NAPA Auto Parts.
“The great thing about them is that they are very competitive with car dealerships and will therefore offer parts at a lower price than car dealerships,” Reina said. “They will also offer a wider variety of different brands.”
Buy parts from an online aftermarket retailer
“With online retailers, you potentially get the widest variety of choices, you potentially get some of the best prices, but you also have to factor in shipping costs for the net price,” Reina said. “Some places offer free shipping, others have a nominal fee for shipping. You have to take that into consideration.”
Another thing to consider is how quickly you need the new part.
“If you need the part today, buying online won’t get you the part today,” Reina said. “Toyota or AutoZone dealership, if they have the part on their shelves, I can walk there and get the part in an hour.”
Tips for buying auto parts
Whether you’re buying parts from a brick-and-mortar dealer or online, it’s important to shop around and do your research to make sure you’re not sacrificing quality to cut costs. After all, putting a faulty part in your car can be very dangerous. .
“I generally advise people to start by researching brand names that you might recognize,” Reina said. “Some brands are associated with car manufacturers. For example, Motorcraft is a Ford brand, Mopar is a Chrysler brand, and ACDelco is a General Motors brand. I also tell people to look at the warranty. If a brand name replacement part is selling for $100 and someone is selling the same part for $30, that should set off a red flag. How good is that $30 part compared to the $100 part? But look at the warranty. If the $100 coin comes with a one-year warranty and the $30 coin comes with the same warranty, maybe the risk analysis here is worth it.
It’s also always a good idea to ask for advice.
“See if the online store has a phone number where you can call and speak to a sales rep for advice on which pieces are best for you,” Reina says. “Ask friends, acquaintances, co-workers or relatives if they have ever shopped at an online business or purchased this brand. There are also forums you can check out online. So , many of them do homework beforehand.
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