Choosing Your Auto Parts

By: Jim Champion, The Auto Guy Email
By: Jim Champion, The Auto Guy Email

The cost to repair your vehicle is mostly comprised of two different things, parts and labor. And many times the parts are the majority of the bill, but you do have options when it comes to the parts you need and choosing the right ones can save you money.

The first type of part is what’s referred to as an OE part. The OE stands for original equipment, meaning it’s built for the manufacturer of the vehicle and mostly sold only at a dealership. But you can sometimes find OE parts sold at auto parts stores as well.

Another type of part is a re-manufactured part, already used on a vehicle in the past and then rebuilt in a re-manufacturing plant. The worn out parts inside of the larger assembly are replaced during the re-manufacturing process, many times with parts that exceed the quality of the originals.

Used parts are an option as well. These parts have been removed off of another vehicle at a salvage yard and resold. These have not been rebuilt in any way, but they are one of the lowest cost options out there.

Many parts come in several different quality levels and the prices can vary widely. But remember that you get what you pay for. For example, cheap brake pads will wear out more quickly, leave brake dust on the wheels and many times are noisy after they are installed. Think about it. If you have to replace them twice as often and they are dirty and noisy, you are probably going to be happier going with the more expensive part in the first place.

Aftermarket parts are yet another option. They are brand new parts, but they are not manufactured by the automaker that built the vehicle. Items that you used to have to buy from the dealer such as door handles and power window regulators are now available in the aftermarket line. What used to be an expensive OE part is now a fraction of the price in many cases.

Sometimes a small part is a piece of a larger part, such as an electrical connection in a larger wiring loom. Shops have sources for all kinds of different parts and many times they can get just the part that you need and save you the cost of buying something as complicated as a larger wiring loom.

The warranty on the part is one of the most important things to keep in mind because it can vary from no warranty at all to lifetime. Find out what the warranty is before deciding which part is best for your situation.

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