Can you? Here at Integrity sometimes we get grilled about our estimates. Sometimes customers know of a "guy" who can do it for much less. Well, here's how we look at it.
I know which parts come back for warranties frequently because I track everything. So, I avoid selling those brands, or those parts. For example, we only use original equipment seals. If you have a leaky seal on your Ford we will only install a Ford seal. Why? Because in our experience aftermarket seals leak and Ford seals don't. Sometimes this means it will cost more for a repair here at Integrity. However, I know other part brands that are less expensive that are also better quality. We only install those parts as well. So sometimes we are less expensive. Over time, we are in the middle.
The overall theme is that we install the most reliable parts regardless of cost. Isn't that the right thing to do? To fix it right the first time? I think it's rather shady to put a bad part in a customer's car if you know it's a bad part. It causes my customers headaches because they have to come back for warranty work and it causes me headaches because now I have to fix it again for free. Bad parts are bad for everyone.
So how can you avoid bad parts?
1) Find a shop with a great warranty. Our warranty is 3 years 36,000 miles because we know which parts will last and we will only use those parts. Why will some shops only offer a 24 month 24,000 warranty? Well, it probably has to do with the quality of their work.
2) Be wary of inexpensive estimates at shops. Are they using bad parts (usually very cheap)? Will they be able to afford to warranty the part if it fails (they might just blame it on normal wear and tear if they can't afford the warranty) Will they even be in business when you need the warranty (if they don't charge enough they might be gone soon)?
3) Ask the service writer why or how they pick their parts. The answer should be something along the lines of "we've never had trouble with that brand" or "we've had trouble with other brands."
4) Avoid shops who compete on price only. In the auto repair industry, this is a death sentence for the business. It means the business is not attracting customers because of quality so they have to lower their prices to try to snag customers. Why do they do have to do this? Because their quality is bad. Be it cheap parts, poor repairs, grumpy service or short warranties, something is bad. You just won't find out until later.
So yes, the truth is that sometimes auto parts are expensive. And, that's good for me but it's only good for me because it's even better for you. That's why we use good parts. Because it's best for you.