How To Be a Savvy and Thrifty Car Part Buyer
There are a host of myths and misconceptions around the purchase of car parts.
12:40 09 November 2018
Between brand loyalty, buying options and know-how, there's also a lot of misleading information out there when it comes to proper car maintenance.
So how can you get the best bang for your buck when your car needs a specific fix or upgrade? Learn about where to buy parts, as well as who you can trust, when your car needs repair or upgrades.
It's time some common misconceptions are cleared up. First, it's often thought original equipment manufacturer parts, or OEM parts, are universally better than off-brands found online. This isn't necessarily true. While manufacturers will claim these parts are superior, OEM parts are often sourced from other manufacturers and then stamped with their own brand.
Another misconception is that car warranties become void if aftermarket parts are installed in newer vehicles. In accordance with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, it's illegal for a car's warranty to be voided because of aftermarket modifications.
Lastly, it may feel risky purchasing remanufactured or used car parts, but when bought from a certified retailer, you can often get a big discount on quality parts that come with a warranty.
It's not always apparent when you need new tires, but worn treads can increase your chances of a car accident or the likelihood and hassle of a flat tire. However, you can always use the penny test on your tires to determine if they need to be replaced.
Simply take a penny and place it in the tire tread, with Lincoln's head upside down. If Lincoln's head is completely buried by your tire treads, that means your tires are still in good condition. But if any part of Honest Abe's noggin is visible, that means your tires are worn, and if his head is fully visible, it's time to buy a new set of tires.
This means you'll need some information about which tires are best suited for your vehicle. For the rugged truck owner, an all-terrain tire is your best bet in terms of tire tread life. Meantime, all-terrain tires also hold up well on paved roads and are great for handling gravel roads and muddy slopes.
Unless you're a savvy mechanic, there are always jobs too large to handle for the common car owner. That's why finding a trusted mechanic is essential. However, that's sometimes easier said than done. Some are unreliable, while others try to gouge you on the price of parts.
Your best bet is to find a smaller auto shop that's rooted in your community. Mechanics like these rely on word of mouth, rather than Google and Yelp reviews. This isn't to say you shouldn't use the internet in your search for a reliable mechanic, but keep in mind that a recommendation from someone you know may be worth more than five stars from a stranger.
Ultimately, Knowledge is Power
While you should definitely make it a point to maintain your car or truck, don't fall victim to the misconceptions OEM parts purport in the name of profits.
Similarly, know when you need new tires, and what kinds you'll need. Lastly, ask around your community and check online for a mechanic you can trust. All these steps will increase the longevity of your vehicle.