When it comes to maintaining our cars, we will often find that certain parts can cost us a small fortune.
I remember my car’s ABS module in the engine bay suddenly failing one day, resulting in my car having no ABS or traction control and a couple of lovely little orange warning lights being permanently illuminated.
My car’s manufacturer quoted me a mind-blowing £2,300 + VAT for a brand new replacement ABS module (my car wasn’t even worth £1,000!), whereas, for just £200 + VAT and a couple of hour’s labour in total, I could have my existing ABS module repaired by an electronics expert and I’d even have a warranty for the work too. I’m sure you can guess which option I went for!
When I was researching parts costs for something, I came across a forum dedicated to my car marque that described how the same part I was after for my car cost me about £30 more than one for another model – even though both cars used the exact same part, the only difference was the part number!
As you can see, it is quite important to literally shop around when you are looking for car parts. Here is how you can do so:
Contact the main dealer first (if possible)
Before you shop around for prices, the first thing you should be doing is contacting the local main dealer for your car manufacturer. There are three reasons why you should do this:
You can obtain the part number – some aftermarket parts manufacturers may require the OE (original equipment) part number to cross-reference against their own part numbers;
You can check availability – sometimes the part you need might have been discontinued by the manufacturer;
You have a “worst case” scenario price to work from – alternative parts sources will usually (but sometimes not always) be cheaper than what you get quoted by your local main dealer.
I appreciate that sometimes you can’t contact your main dealer if the car manufacturer is out of business, but in most cases you should be able to.
Now that you are armed with the manufacturer’s part number (either from your phone call or from the part itself you need to replace), you can type that part number into your favourite search engine to find out who sells it and how much for.
Websites such as Euro Car Parts are useful for finding many commonly-used parts, and you can normally just type in your car’s registration number and search that way. Sometimes, you might find the OE part being sold on eBay, even by a main dealer from some part of the UK! So, as you can see, it’s definitely worth searching online for the best deals.
Sometimes you might come across someone on a car forum selling the part you need, so check if there are any UK-based forums dedicated to your particular car marque/model.
If the part you need isn’t a “serviceable” item like brakes or suspension, then you should check out your local scrapyards to see if they have the part you need (or in the least, the same car that you have).
If all else fails
If you have a car that is virtually impossible to get parts for, then you might want to consider cutting your losses and getting a new car, one which parts are easy to source for. There are loads of car dealers across the land that you can go and check out deals and promotions at, such as West London Motor Group deals.
Just make sure that you have a certain budget and type of car in mind before you go car shopping!
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