Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Can I bring my own parts to the mechanic

Can I bring my own parts to the mechanic?

At least once a week I see an auto forum poster say they can get auto parts cheaper than the mechanic’s quote. They want to know if they “can I bring my own parts to a mechanic” and have them install them.

Most shops will not install customer provided parts

Shops make money on labor and parts profits, just like every other service business. They’re no different than plumbers, electricians or HVAC companies. The average shop markup ranges from 66% to 100%. Don’t forget, they run a business. And when they install a part, they have to back it up with some kind of warranty. Somebody has to pay for that risk and it’s always going to be the customer.

Why they hate installing customer parts

Aside from denying the shop the parts markup, there are other issues. In most cases, the type of people that buy their own parts are often buying the cheapest parts out there. And many of those parts are low quality. When they fail early, the customer almost always blames the shop for a “poor installation job.”

So installing customer parts is a lose-lose situation for the shop. They have to fight to make a junk part fit. They lose the profit on the part. And they get blamed when the part doesn’t work.

Some shops will install customer supplied parts, but they charge a higher labor rate—one that’s based on the actual time it takes to install, rather than the flat rate shown in their labor guide. Why should the shop take the hit because you bought an economy part?

Overall, bringing your own parts is a really bad idea. So don’t get offended when the shop says no.

©, 2013 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat



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