Parts prices dilemma is real

All the excuses you need to know so you can feel better about yourself while paying outrageous prices to fix your car.

Viable Excuse No. 4, the parts price dilemma.

In our last article, we discussed how the salesperson who is kept in the dark can sell you a model car that can cost you thousands of dollars more than it should over the life of that car without even knowing it. This time we deal with the cost of parts and why some are ten times the price of the same part for other cars.

Parts prices might be the least understood part of a repair bill. There are several factors that affect parts prices. Car manufacturer’s prices are almost always higher than aftermarket parts. To understand this think in terms of drug manufacturers pricing of drugs. Everyone knows the prices are outrageous right up until the off brand identical generic drug hits the market. Then the price drops precipitously. If there is little demand for the drug the generic drug makers don’t bother getting into the market and the manufacturer gets away with stupid prices. If there is great demand for the drug, lots of generic drug makers get in the game and the price drops to a reasonable level quickly. Aftermarket (generic) parts manufacturers think exactly the same way as generic drug makers think. If a part almost never fails or there are not a lot of this part in service there is no profit to be made and they stay away, therefore the car manufacturer will not lower their price. So you may see the dilemma… a well-made part will not wear out, because there is little demand the parts price will stay high, but god help you if that well-made part wears out! There will be no lower priced options. That said a junk yard part is likely to be good and last a long time (look for a crashed car with low miles).

So the next time you have to pay $500 for a rear axle on your BMW when a Chevy’s could be had for $75 just remember… it’s because you bought a car with parts that rarely wear out. Oh wait… this article is supposed to explain why expensive bills are not your fault… Never mind. …

Nick Rowe has more than 20 years experience in the automotive industry. He has worked at Volvo, Dodge and Jeep dealerships and is currently one of the mechanics at Horseless Carriage in Milford.