Over time you will probably develop a close relationship with your mechanic. They get to know you, your family, your driving patterns, what you like in a vehicle and what you need to keep safe on the road. It’s a wonderful relationship that grows over time.
Does that mean that at some point you will get comfortable enough with your mechanic to start bringing your own vehicle parts in for them to use?
Understanding the Basics of Bringing Your Own Car Parts
The best analogy we can offer here is to think about the relationship you have with your favourite local restaurant or takeaway joint. Over time you get to know each other quite well, and you may even be greeted by name when you enter.
That level of friendliness and familiarity improves the relationship over time and usually means you’re getting a higher level of customer service. But does it mean you can start helping the chef prepare your food?
You may make a few special requests or ask for things that are not on the menu. But you wouldn’t bring your own ingredients in to be used. The chef, and the business as a whole, will have specific reasons for this – health and safety, quality control over the end product, complications around costs of goods sold and prices charged, etc. It just doesn’t happen.
The same holds true for the automotive industry. You trust the professionals for a number of reasons.
The Pros and Cons of Supplying Your Own Parts
There are a few common reasons why customers are interested in bringing their own vehicle parts to their mechanic. In the customer’s mind, there are some benefits or pros to providing their own parts.
The most common reason is that the vehicle owner thinks they can save money by buying a part themselves and providing it to the mechanic. This may or may not be true, depending on your mechanic.
Some mechanics buy parts in multiples instead of one-offs, so they may be able to get a better price for a part than you can. Some mechanics add a mark-up to parts. You’ll usually see parts and labour specified separately on your invoice, so it also makes sense to see costs divided that way as well when you ask for a quote.
Occasionally, a car owner will offer to bring in a part that is rare or customised, thinking the mechanic doesn’t have access to it. Always check this. You’d be surprised at how much your mechanic can source. The team at Mt Roskill Collision Centre is experienced in working with a wide range of models, including imports and luxury vehicles. It’s a very rare occurrence for us to not be able to source a required part.
Car owners and, in particular, car enthusiasts sometimes think the other benefit of bringing their own part to a mechanic is so that they can reuse a part they have. Perhaps it adds special features to the vehicle. Or perhaps it is a part that hasn’t been used for very long. We don’t recommend this approach for a number of reasons that we’ll go into below.
Mechanic Policies and Industry Standards
In New Zealand, most mechanics prefer not to use parts supplied by customers. It is NZ industry standard that parts are an element of the service provided by an automotive mechanic.
They will diagnose any issues with your vehicle and provide a recommended course of action, which will include any new or replacement parts required.
Mechanics are held legally liable for the quality of their work under NZ law. If they use a part that ends up being ill-suited or faulty, or that causes other issues with the vehicle, they may face financial and legal consequences.
Legal and Warranty Implications
The reason automotive mechanics prefer to use parts that they source themselves is because it gives them much more control over the standard of their work and the safety of the vehicles they work on.
This, in turn, opens up a range of concerns around warranties and legal implications.
Because automotive mechanics can be held legally liable for their work under the Consumers Guarantees Act (CGA) in NZ, they will usually refuse to use supplied parts for anything major.
How Warranties are Affected
Bringing your own parts to your mechanic will affect the warranty on the parts and on the labour. It’s just not worth it.
A mechanic will not take responsibility for a part that they haven’t purchased or don’t know the history of. Even if it appears to be brand new, still in the packaging, there is no certainty about the quality or previous use of the part.
Legal Considerations for DIY Parts
A mechanic may also be legally responsible for problems that occur with a vehicle after a customer-sourced product is used. There may be legal liability if the part in question causes other problems with the vehicle or, heaven forbid, a traffic accident or other type of personal injury occurs because of that particular part.
Comparing Costs: Self-Sourced vs Mechanic-Provided Parts
When it comes to looking after your vehicle, remember that your car (or ute, truck, etc) is often one of the most expensive assets you own (after your house, bach, and maybe your boat).
So it is worth looking after it with as much care and professionalism as possible. We don’t recommend you look at how to cut corners and save money when it comes to looking after such an important asset.
Not only do you want to keep the value of your vehicle as high as possible for a possible resale, but you should also want to keep it in the best condition possible to ensure the safety of yourself, your family and everyone around you on the road.
Quality and Longevity of Parts
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you find cheap parts, chances are they are sub-standard in terms of quality and durability.
That’s not to say that you always need to use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Sometimes, depending on what is needed, an after-market part will suffice. When and where this is relevant is something your mechanic will determine and discuss with you.
Generally speaking, however, installing a used part into a vehicle that needs repairs or maintenance is a risky decision. It can affect other components in the vehicle, limiting the quality and longevity of several parts.
Relationship Between Mechanics and Customers
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good relationship between mechanics and customers. As mentioned, a good mechanic will get to know you, your vehicle, and what you need to be safe on the road.
Trust and Expertise in Auto Repairs
A key factor in this relationship is trust. When you find a good mechanic who understands what you need, you trust them and their expertise to do what’s best for you and your vehicle.
Bringing in your own parts may undermine that trust and the faith you have in their expertise. It’s best to have an honest conversation with your mechanic about whether or not they’re willing to consider using customer-supplied parts.
Communication and Setting Expectations
Let’s go back to that restaurant analogy.
If there was a special ingredient that you wanted in your food, you’d probably accept that that was an exception – not the norm. So you’d phone ahead and ask for clarity around the circumstances where that might be allowed.
The same is true with your car. If there is a part you want to provide yourself, get in touch with us and let’s have a chat about it. But it’s a good place to start with understanding why there are general restrictions against it.