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Old 05-24-2011, 10:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: venice beach, ca
buying your own parts on the way to your mechanic... good or bad idea?

so i thought of putting this in tilted motors but my question is more about attitude so i opted for this forum.

i have to get a couple bigger jobs done on my car soon (timing belt/water pump and cv axles). in the past i've always just gone in to my mechanic and paid up.

but lately i've gotten good at finding online deals for different stuff, just poking around, and i've found a lot of big coupons for places like advance auto or o'reilly.

so i'm wondering if you guys thought it would be rude or if my mechanic would resent it if i saved his markup and maybe more on the parts and just brought them in with my car to him for the labor.

i've been to my mechanic now for about 5 or 6 years but you only know someone so well and i wouldn't want to piss him off so bad that i get a substandard job done or something else breaks right away to "make up" for the money i can save on parts.

thoughts?
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Ask him first. Some will refuse, some will do it but not guarantee anything, some won't care, and some will price match. It's absolutely a case by case thing, varying by type of repair and by mechanic.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: The Great NorthWet
What he said.

Talk to your mechanic. Most places order parts at wholesale and then charge you retail. If you find a part on sale or have a coupon they will usually match the price if it's not below their cost. Most will accept customer provided parts if they are new and in the original packaging.

However, the draw back to this is if the part is defective or fails in the first 30 days. IF the part was provided by the mechanic, they will usually replace it at no charge. IF you provide the part, they will usually charge you the labor to replace it and it's up to you to get a new part under warranty from who ever you bought it from.

A third scenario is when the mechanic knows of a better deal on a part, but as a business can't purchase the part at the better price. In which case they may have you go purchase the part and bring it too them to install. Often they treat this as if they purchased the part.

Treat your mechanic like a friend and you'll be amazed how well you're treated in return. Also, a small shop with a good reputation is usually better to deal with than a large shop of any type. Mechanics like cookies, cold frosty beverages (not necessarily alcoholic) and hats. Tokens of appreciation are always welcome and make you more memorable.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Arabidopsis-ville
When I've needed to go to a mechanic to change my oil & filter, they usually have me bring in both the oil and the filter, since they don't keep them in stock. I wish they would have me do this for everything. I'd rather give them the parts myself. There have been a number of times that I have taken my car to a non-dealer shop and have been without my car for a week (or two!) while they're waiting for parts. It's such an incredible hassle - if you know what is wrong with your car, are willing to hunt down parts and want it to be fixed by someone else - you're going to be able to find someone who will be willing to work for labor alone. Just don't expect it to be the first place you call.
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Some good things here about what could go wrong with your approach. As others have said, ask your mechanic up front.
I have an old AMC Eagle that my mechanic appreciates me having the parts, since he doesn't really know where to look for AMC parts. I take my other car to an independent SAAB specialist, (different mechanic) and I know he will have or get the right parts. I'm on the road a lot, SAABs have their quirks, and I just trust him.

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Old 05-24-2011, 06:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
©
 
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Location: Colorado
Another "ask him" .

My motorcycle mechanic is fine with it and understands I have preferences for some things he doesn't sell. My truck mechanic, not so much.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
After School Special Moralist
 
Location: Large City, Texas.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogueGypsy View Post
What he said.

Talk to your mechanic. Most places order parts at wholesale and then charge you retail. If you find a part on sale or have a coupon they will usually match the price if it's not below their cost. Most will accept customer provided parts if they are new and in the original packaging.

However, the draw back to this is if the part is defective or fails in the first 30 days. IF the part was provided by the mechanic, they will usually replace it at no charge. IF you provide the part, they will usually charge you the labor to replace it and it's up to you to get a new part under warranty from who ever you bought it from.

A third scenario is when the mechanic knows of a better deal on a part, but as a business can't purchase the part at the better price. In which case they may have you go purchase the part and bring it too them to install. Often they treat this as if they purchased the part.

Treat your mechanic like a friend and you'll be amazed how well you're treated in return. Also, a small shop with a good reputation is usually better to deal with than a large shop of any type. Mechanics like cookies, cold frosty beverages (not necessarily alcoholic) and hats. Tokens of appreciation are always welcome and make you more memorable.

I can't add much to the above post , other than some shops need the mark-up on parts to stay in business. It sucks to "pay too much" for parts when you're an informed consumer, but sometimes it's a necessary evil.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: venice beach, ca
update: he was fine with me doing it; just stressed that i needed to buy the whole kit, not a la carte parts.

so i got my timing belt water pump kit with 50$ off 150$, plus i'll be getting another 50$ off 100$+ coupon in the box it comes in, so i can use that for my cv axles on my next repair. all in all i think i'll have saved 150$ or so.

not too shabby.
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