Smart Consumer: 'I saved €500 by buying my car parts independently'
John Mulligan saved around €500 just by making a few phone calls. And you could too the next time you need to by a car part, simply by going independent.
When the diesel engine on John's Saab required two new injectors, he was quoted €1,000 for the parts by his local main dealer. He had a feeling he could do better.
"I didn't think that Saab actually made injectors, so I checked the ones fitted to my car and found that they were made by Bosch", explains John. "I also found the part number on the top of the injectors, so I contacted independent supplier DSL in Dublin.
"They quoted me €550 for the two injectors and were able to have them in stock the following day."
John bought the injectors, had them fitted by an independent garage and away he drove.
With the cost of fitting added John reckons he saved between €450 and €550, and all "for the sake of a few phone calls."
So, if your car needs a new part bear in mind that you do not have to buy it from or have it fitted at an authorised dealer.
You can choose to buy the part yourself or have an independent garage buy the part and fit it.
Micksgarage.ie operations manager Michael Crean explains that in fact not all car manufacturers make all their own parts. So when you buy a part independently, it could be the exact same and made by the same manufacturer as the part you would buy from a branded garage.
The only difference is it isn't in a branded box. Oh, and it'll be cheaper.
These are called OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, parts. Or you could buy 'after market parts', which are parts of equivalent standard but are non-branded.
"If people have theories that these parts aren't as good, that is rubbish", claims Crean. "All the parts we sell have to be approved and comply with EU safety standards. After all, if we have one failure our business could be gone. And in any case, remember that many parts are identical to the ones you'll buy from a main dealer."
And it seems that people are wising up to the average 40% of savings you can make on the main dealer price.
Micksgarage.ie has seen growth of 100% per annum since Crean founded the company in 2004, where they list over 800,000 products, provide an expert advice service and have a facility that allows you to search the part you need using your car details.
So the next time you have that sinking feeling that comes when your car starts spluttering and you realise you'll have to go into overdraft to take care of the problem, remember that you have a choice.
You are free to buy car parts from an independent seller and crucially under new EU rules from June 2010, this cannot effect your car manufacturer's warranty, as long as the car parts are of the appropriate standard.