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Old 11-10-2013, 04:59 PM
 
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Good evening.

I'd like to get some advice for anyone who's taken a car to a mechanic. It sounds like a no-brainer, but do most of you buy your own parts to save on the overall bill?

My 2000 Hyundai Accent is due for a timing belt change now that I'm approaching 60k miles. I've found a nice small family/mom & pop dealership that seems to do well. Been there once and was impressed with their hospitality. I don't do dealerships for obvious reasons, and even the smaller chains are resorting to scare tactics with expensive quotes, even Big O Tires have started this with me after years of being a loyal customer.

So my plan was to buy a timing belt and water pump, which look inexpensive from shopping around. Getting work done without parts seem to run people anywhere between $600-over $1k with parts and labor and I'm hoping that at least with the parts, I just pay for labor since there is an inflation cost for parts.

They do allow you to buy your own oil for a discount on the change (though in the end it costs you slightly more) which most mechanics around here don't do. Only thing I'm paranoid if these mechanics might try to tell me my own parts won't work but so far they've were legit with me and my supervisor who recommended me to them.

Any thoughts?
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:07 PM
 
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A garage near me had a sign that read........." You don't bring groceries to a restaurant and ask if they will fix you a meal. Don't bring your parts here either ! "
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:16 PM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,776 posts, read 14,805,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackpot View Post
Good evening.

I'd like to get some advice for anyone who's taken a car to a mechanic. It sounds like a no-brainer, but do most of you buy your own parts to save on the overall bill?

My 2000 Hyundai Accent is due for a timing belt change now that I'm approaching 60k miles. I've found a nice small family/mom & pop dealership that seems to do well. Been there once and was impressed with their hospitality. I don't do dealerships for obvious reasons, and even the smaller chains are resorting to scare tactics with expensive quotes, even Big O Tires have started this with me after years of being a loyal customer.

So my plan was to buy a timing belt and water pump, which look inexpensive from shopping around. Getting work done without parts seem to run people anywhere between $600-over $1k with parts and labor and I'm hoping that at least with the parts, I just pay for labor since there is an inflation cost for parts.

They do allow you to buy your own oil for a discount on the change (though in the end it costs you slightly more) which most mechanics around here don't do. Only thing I'm paranoid if these mechanics might try to tell me my own parts won't work but so far they've were legit with me and my supervisor who recommended me to them.

Any thoughts?
Good idea if your having a friend do the work as a favor for little or no money.

Not a good idea if your taking it to a mechanic who has overhead and a shop to maintain. If the parts you bring are somehow defective will you expect the shop to do the job twice for the same fee?
When you pay a shop to do the complete job parts and labor are guaranteed. When you bring the parts there is no guarantee by the installer.

As a former businessman I never did a job where parts were supplied by others.
The only exception could be vintage parts that may be difficult to get and you did the diligence to track them down.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:16 PM
 
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Most shops won't let you do this, though a few might. We don't. There are several reasons most shops won't let you do this.

1. Money. Everybody has to pay their rent. Most shops take at least a moderate mark-up on the parts we install. Some charge a ridiculous mark-up. They are to be avoided.
2. Ease of work. Some customers THINK they have the right parts, but they don't. Then we have to go to twice the work to fix your screw-up.
3. Quality control. I'm not willing to throw some ultra-cheap crap parts on a car.
4. Liability/warranty issues.

As I said earlier, some shops will do that. And there are some guys that will come to your place & do the work. Some are horrible, but some do a great job. About all you can do is check around.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:18 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
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I never have, but the indie shop I use will happily install owner-bought parts. I don't think they will warranty the work, though.

I think the key is to find a shop you trust. And that means (in my case) I trust them to use and install quality parts without ripping me off. Could I save a few bucks by bringing in my own parts? Maybe. But then again, they'd be within their rights to charge me extra to install owner-supplied components.

Analogy: I am a painting contractor. Occasionally I have clients who want to supply the paint. I will not give a firm estimate or warranty, since using some cheap crap from WalMart may very well take us longer in labor and not be the best product for the job. In fact I generally will turn down jobs if the client has purchased materials - or I will encourage them to return what they bought if possible, and let me supply (and this is often cheaper for them.) I'm the expert, not the homeowner (in most cases.) I assume the same goes for auto repair shops.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:26 PM
 
1,098 posts, read 1,578,212 times
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Thanks for the speedy replies!

Well for the money aspect, it does make sense, everyone is trying to make a living. I think what I'll do is call them up tomorrow and get a quote. Just don't want the drama of having something else go wrong and they have the attitude of "You ain't taking this car out until you pay us more"

That's the thing I hate about mechanic shops, you go in for a simple fix and someone, usually the guy at the desk whos more or less a salesman tries to gaod you into paying more than what you have with the intention of keeping your car there. Had this happen to two co workers of mine, one in Brake Masters, and the other co-worker with Big O.

Don't get me wrong, it's good to be informed of things you're unaware of but there is a big difference between:

"You might want to consider a brake check after XXX miles"

to:

"Dude, your brakes are almost shot but for only 400 dollars we can fix it, I don't think we can't let you leave without it."

Which is why I searched until I found a mom and pop shop.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:34 PM
 
2,341 posts, read 9,255,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackpot View Post
That's the thing I hate about mechanic shops, you go in for a simple fix and someone, usually the guy at the desk whos more or less a salesman tries to gaod you into paying more than what you have with the intention of keeping your car there. Had this happen to two co workers of mine, one in Brake Masters, and the other co-worker with Big O.
I bolded the problem. Don't EVER go to EITHER of those two places. Guaranteed screw-job.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:42 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 15,298,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackpot View Post
Thanks for the speedy replies!

Well for the money aspect, it does make sense, everyone is trying to make a living. I think what I'll do is call them up tomorrow and get a quote. Just don't want the drama of having something else go wrong and they have the attitude of "You ain't taking this car out until you pay us more"

That's the thing I hate about mechanic shops, you go in for a simple fix and someone, usually the guy at the desk whos more or less a salesman tries to gaod you into paying more than what you have with the intention of keeping your car there. Had this happen to two co workers of mine, one in Brake Masters, and the other co-worker with Big O. Which is why I searched until I found a mom and pop shop.
I dunno...the shop I use most often (I have three vehicles) actually has a history of quoting me one price....then when I show up to pay the bill, it's usually a little less than the original quote. Now this may be a sales tactic but it always makes me happy and I've never had a problem with the work done. And if I were to have a problem, I am very sure they would address it correctly and promptly.

The shop I use services the township police cars and is also used by many cops for their personal vehicles. They are pretty straight-up.

But the bottom line is, I am OK with paying a little more to a shop I trust, rather than worrying about whether some chain franchise shop is going to rip me off.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:49 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, Tx
7,643 posts, read 8,090,637 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy52 View Post
A garage near me had a sign that read........." You don't bring groceries to a restaurant and ask if they will fix you a meal. Don't bring your parts here either ! "
I guess I get it but at the same time you have the option to at least make money on the labor. If you turn me away you get nothing.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:51 PM
 
2,341 posts, read 9,255,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabresFanInSA View Post
I guess I get it but at the same time you have the option to at least make money on the labor. If you turn me away you get nothing.
While this is true, experience has shown that most of the customers who are determined to low-ball you, are going to be a giant PIA anyway. You don't want them. And shops that treat customers right aren't hurting for business anyway.

Like I said to the OP, shop around. There are a few shops who will install your parts. There are also some mobile mechanics who will do a good job for you.
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