At least once a month I will get a phone call or email message from somebody that would like us to install parts they bought either from an Auto Parts Store or online. I understand you want to save a couple of bucks.
However asking a repair shop to do this is akin to walking into an Outback steakhouse, handing them a T-bone and telling them to cook it for you. Graphic but true. You buy groceries at the grocery store cheaper than if you bought them at a restaurant. Same goes for the auto parts store.
Why is it cheaper? It's cheaper because you are expected to prepare your groceries yourselves. Well it's the same with auto parts. When you purchase an auto part; it is assumed that you know how to install it. Have the tools to install the part, and the skill to install it. Therefore you get the parts cheaper than if you had a repair shop install the parts.
Making a profit on the parts we install on your vehicle is part of the equation of keeping a shop open and running. I have not gone into the logistics of also warranting your parts if it breaks. Who pays? who pays for the labor to replace the part again?
This is why most shops will not install customer supplied parts, and you will have a hard time finding somebody who will. Occasionally we will install customer supplied parts. Mostly because the parts are hard to find and we are working on a specialty car.
My 1998 BMW had a water pump failure on a Saturday evening. I was on the freeway slowed down to merge to another freeway and heard a ting , ting, ting, sound and thought was it my car, or the guy in the next lane over?
Well I soon lost the power in the power steering , so I'm thinking ok, I probably broke a belt. Not the end of the world, it's just going to be a little harder to steer. Then my temperature gauge started climbing, so uh oh, get off the freeway exit" stage right", now. Pulled off on to the city street, and stopped the car.
Now the wife is concerned. I open the hood and the serpentine belt is not where it should be and the car is loosing a little coolant. I pulled over soon enough, so no damage to the engine. So I pull the cell phone out and call AAA. Told them I needed to have my car towed, and why. First time I ever had the tow truck show up 5 minutes after I hung up the phone.
The car broke down in San Lorenzo, and I had to get it the shop here in Napa. Thank god we had purchased the extended 100 mile tow service from AAA. So the car dropped off to the shop, I get home about midnight. Not how I wanted to spend Saturday night.
Monday, I check out the car , and find that the water pump failed; not the belt liked I hoped. So I start ordering the parts. Water pump, upper and lower radiator hoses, serpentine belt, air conditioning belt, belt tensioner assembly for the serpentine belt, tensioner for the A/C belt, and A/C tensioner pulley.
Got to working on the car and found that the ting, ting ,ting, I heard was the water pump pulley bouncing off some part of the motor. BMW in their infinite wisdom decided that the pulley should be made out of plastic. So I stop and go order a new pulley. While I have the water pump out; I try to take off the fan clutch. The Fan Clutch is stuck to the water pump, so I go back to order a replacement fan clutch.
After getting all the parts, I have them installed and coolant flowing correctly. The car is now in tip top shape!
So to the point of this of this story. Cars break down. IT is inconvenient when they do break down. When the technician/shop goes to work on the car there is the possibility for the need of extra parts and or labor to fix the car properly. Breakdowns do happen to mechanics too; even though we do our best to keep the cars maintained so they don't leave us stranded; car parts will unexpectedly fail, and it will leave us stranded on the side of the road. We understand and empathize with you when your car has issues.
We try to get your cars up and back running as smoothly and painless as possible. Remember we want you in your car as much as you want to be driving your car down the road.
A common question is how expensive are we? The answer is it depends. We like to use quality parts and supplies. Quality is more expensive. " Our motto here is if we won't put it in our car we won't put it in yours.
I had a customer call the other day, had lost the gas cap to the car. I ordered the gas cap from the dealer, called the customer when we had it so they could come in to have it taken care of. The customer came in I installed the cap and plugged my scanner in to the car to check the cars Check Engine Light.
I cleared the check engine light as the error looked like it was caused by driving without a gas cap . The car was ready for them in ten minutes. In the course of our checkout conversation, the customer admitted going to another facility to have their oil changed because we were more expensive.
Yes our oil service was more expensive, but we take the time to do a quality job and use oem or equivalent oil filters. We take the time to do a light check and inspect it to be able to overall assessment of your vehicle.
Now a gas cap isn't that much, and the labor is free. IF I were at any other corporate type facility, anytime I hook up a scanner to look at your car I would have to charge anywhere from $150 to $200 dollars. So the replacement of the gas cap and scanning the car's computer , clearing the codes should of cost anywhere from $200 to $250. The cost for this service was less than $50. because we value our clients. So $20 to $40 more expensive in oil service is not worth $200 of great customer service?