Motorist rip-off with expensive spare parts

minor damage to a car can quickly become expensive: even if only a bracket is broken or a wire is torn, the entire spare part is often replaced. How drivers find cheaper parts.

By claudius maintz

example windshield wipera defective plastic anchor can lead to the workshop replacing the entire wiper linkage, including the motor – and that costs the manufacturer around 400 euros. The material value of the anchorage is a few euros.

Example window regulatorIf a pulley breaks or the guide rope snaps, the entire component often has to be replaced – at a cost of several hundred euros.

Example alternator (generator): even if only the so-called freewheel is broken, many workshops replace the entire component right away.

Even with air conditioning compressors, headlights and cable connections, a small defect can be very expensive.

Cheap spare parts often not available

Workshops are often unable to order small spare parts, such as the bulb retaining clip for a headlight. Especially for models that have been discontinued for a long time, it is hardly worthwhile for the manufacturers to keep small spare parts such as screws in stock. With every model change, demand decreases, and the production of spare parts for car models that have become rare is often hardly profitable any more.

Cheap spare parts for car repairs

Drivers can save on repairs if they use components from other manufacturers instead of original parts:

  • replicas: if they come from suppliers of the automotive industry, the quality is comparable to the original parts – at much lower prices. For example, a control arm can cost 178 euros at audi, while a well-known supplier offers the part in the same quality for 50 euros less. When buying replica parts from manufacturers who are not official suppliers, look out for differences in quality: not all copies are as good as the original, and counterfeit products (plagiarisms) are also on offer.
  • Identical parts (also called original-identical parts) run off the same production line as the original, but do not receive the car manufacturer’s logo at the end. They often cost only half as much as the original part.
  • Used parts: some repair shops specialize in repairing parts from scrap cars that are in working order. Often, even the smallest parts are available here that are only available new in combination with other parts.
  • Reconditioned partsMost manufacturers offer remanufactured parts for alternators, air conditioning compressors and transmissions, especially for older cars. Even electronic components such as navigation devices, control units and combined instruments such as speedometers, odometers and on-board computers can often be repaired at a reasonable price.

Design protection for visible spare parts

It is not so easy to reduce repair costs in the event of sheet metal damage. visible replacement parts such as windshields, hoods, fenders, bumpers and trunk lids are subject to design protection: automotive companies can have the design of their exterior body parts protected by the german trademark and patent office or the european trademark office. This will prevent other suppliers from distributing copies.

According to the german insurance association (gdv), the price of new taillights rose by an average of 56 percent between 2013 and 2020. Trunk lids have become 49 percent more expensive. Headlights by 40 percent.

Car tires © colorbox photo: f9photos

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