Money Saving Tip: Buy Parts Yourself and have Mechanic Install Them

About 1 month ago (ironically just after I finished paying my car loan off), I started having trouble starting my Nissan Sentra. I am not even close to being a mechanic; about the limit of my car knowledge is that I can change my oil.

Despite my lack of knowledge I really didn't want to spend a bunch of money fixing my car up just after I finally finished paying for it. I talked to as many people as I could find that knew something about cars and did lots of googling trying to find details of anyone having similar problems. Most of the signs pointed to the starter on my car.

I then called the dealer and got an estimate of $380 to change out my starter. Someone recommended I also call a local tire shop (who did full service) and they gave me an estimate of $303.76. Better, but I checked with Advance Auto Parts (auto parts store) and knew I could get a remanufactured starter for $88.21 (after tax).

I called the local tire shop back and asked them to break down the estimate for me. Once they told me it would cost $251.26 for the starter I told them I could get a starter for almost 1/3 the price. I pressed them on what the 3x price increase gets me and they explained the difference was they warranty the part and labor.

After more investigation I found out that the part I could get from Advance Auto Parts was also covered by a lifetime warranty. I was really just paying an extra $163.05 for labor if the part fails again and needs to be changed out. Since the labor to change out the starter was only $52.50, the part could fail and be replaced 3 times before I see any payback on the extra cost. Not a good payback on my investment.









Tire Shop




Advance Auto Parts & Tire Shop




So I called up the tire shop and they agreed to let me bring in my own part. Everything worked out great. I am very happy with the service I got and I saved over 50% off my repair bill estimates.

Bottom Line: Consider all the options. If you can find a good mechanic who will let you supply the parts, you could easily save 50% off the repair bill.

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Comments (6)

DATE: 10:39 AM
Better feeling yet is Paying $30 for some small valve seals- Replacing them yourself and not paying the $1000.00 the shop wanted to charge- 97% savings. I do all of my own repairs.

DATE: 10:45 AM
Now that is some serious savings.I would do that if I knew what the heck I was doing. For something such my car which I rely heavily on - I just assume leave that to the professionals.

DATE: 9:54 AM
You'd be surprised what you can do with the vehicles shop manual and a little time. Might take a few hours longer than the shop, but the feeling of doing it yourself makes up for that time spent. Plus you know that you are putting in good parts, and of course the money savings

DATE: 9:22 PM
i did the same thing with my old civic and the muffler. the guy at midas looked at me like i was crazy walking in with that muffler. and i was, crazy about saving money. check out

DATE: 10:46 PM
great post!I have a buddy who has his own garage with a lift, and he lets me use it to change my oil. Plus, I volunteer to help him out on weekends, and he is teaching me so much about cars.

DATE: 11:21 AM
I got into a little fender bender about a month ago. No other vehicles were involved, just mine and a cement pole... So, I am not sending it to the insurance. Great savings over time there.Now, I found an ad for replacement parts that come pre-painted. I am going to check out the price difference, and see if I would be better served to have pre-painted, or if it would be cheaper to get a paint job on the entire car (if you are ever in this situation, realize that if you are having a couple pieces painted, it is almost the same cost to have the entire car painted).So, I am going to at least change the body panels myself... If I do not get them pre-painted, I will take them in to have them painted.

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