Niagara Gazette

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July 25, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Beware the auto parts jungle (part II)

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — One other thing to keep in mind is that sometimes a few different model vehicles use the same part. Since plenty of cars are built on the same platform and use a lot of the same parts, sometime parts on both cars are interchangeable. Sometimes if the parts can be cross-referenced you can save a lot of money by buying a cheaper part from the lesser brand. This requires that you work with a parts professional that knows what they are doing or else you will certainly wind up getting the wrong parts.

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While we’ve already pointed out all the reasons why you don’t want to use cheap “knockoff” parts, there are plenty of situations where the cheaper part is the ticket for a customer. Maybe the car is old and the customer intends to drive it to the junkyard in six months. Maybe the car is rarely driven, and serves as just an occasional backup vehicle. There are many personal factors, and only you and your service provider can decide what is your best option. The key here is that you are told upfront the life expectancy, warranty, and quality of the part and how it will last under normal operating conditions. Sometimes shops will have customers sign disclaimers stating that they have been explained what to expect. Selecting auto parts can be a complicated matter.

Remember, your ASE Certified auto parts professional is a valuable resource when selecting auto parts. However, always, always keep in mind that they are there to sell auto parts. They are not auto repair professionals. Get auto repair advice and direction from an auto service professional. This business of offering free computer scans in an effort to identify a problem circuit is a ploy to sell auto parts, period. When a scanner identifies a problem with a particular performance related circuit, it doesn’t mean that the sensor is bad and that’s it! Yes, the sensor could be bad but something had to cause it to go bad. That’s the nature of vehicular performance systems, problems are usually due to a related system or part being bad. That’s why oftentimes people come to me asking why it didn’t help to replace the part? Well, because the root cause of the problem that killed the sensor to fail is the culprit and the only way to find such a root cause is painstaking step-by-step electrical diagnosis.

‘Til next time ... Keep Rollin’

"America's Car Show" with Tom Torbjornsen airs 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBBZ-TV.

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