Niagara Gazette — Editor’s note: This is the second part of Tom’s two-part series on auto parts. Look for the first part on our website.
In the first part of this article I talked about the pitfalls of using the cheapest replacement parts. The overriding message was “Don’t!” But that’s not the end of the story. This column will help make more sense out of the various grades of replacement parts on the market and how to select the appropriate ones for your vehicle. Sometimes it doesn’t make the best sense to use the top-of-the-line replacement parts. Sometimes people simply don’t have the money to buy top-of-the-line, or maybe they intend to get rid of the vehicle shortly, and they just need an acceptable alternative. Today’s article is about “alternatives.”
HAVE A PLAN
This brings us to our first point, which is that you’ve got to determine your long-term plan for your vehicle. Are you going to keep it for another five years? Trade it in six months from now? Or are you just “getting by” as long as you can? For most of you who don’t do your maintenance work yourself, it’s the service advisor’s job to help you figure out the most cost-effective way to get your car fixed based on this plan. Your responsibility lies in effectively communicating this information to the service advisor. Only then can he or she find the right parts for an effective repair based on your budget and needs. When I was a service manager I always asked my customers a lot of questions. Who drives the car? How often? Will the car be expected to make long trips frequently or periodically? Is it your son or daughter’s car and are they going to college? All these factors come into play in making a wise repair decision. So make sure that you have a trusted advisor leading you through repair and parts purchase decisions.