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2005 Nissan Altima Parts

Okay, so I have a 2005 Nissian Altima that has been a very reliable car and quite honestly a real trooper. It is currently in the shop for repairs that were caused by my first (and only) accident. I hit a bale of hay on the interstate going about 70 mph. Yes... A bale of hay.

The repairs I am needing are cosmetic and were not caused by the hay incident. My passenger side mirror and taillight are the issue. The mirror is no longer there and the area where it should be is covered in duct tape. Now the taillight is just cracked. The estimate that I received to fix both was around $500+. $500!!! Although I'm 26 years old and a college graduate with a decent job, I am unfortunately not yet a millionare.

However, I was looking online and I found that the parts I need are reasonably priced. Also, I still have the original passenger side mirror. (I was told by the mechanic that I could not use it and would have to purchase a new one.) So my question is: Should I just take my car in and pay the $500+? Or, should I purchase the parts online and have the mechanic use those? Would that be any cheaper? I'm just afraid that since I'm young and a female they will try to over charge me. Any advice or information would be helpful and greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time!


  • Check with your mechanic. Some mechanics won't install parts that you bought.

    Replacing a mirror can be a pain. Many times you have to pull the inner door panel. $500 doesn't sound unreasonable when you consider labor.
  • And if he will install parts you buy, I'd get them from a reputable source, like, I worry that some Ebay cheapie parts may not fit, and you'll have trouble returning/exchanging them.
  • I would let the mechanic do the entire job including finding the parts for you. You don't take your own buns and hamburger into McDonalds do you? It's the same difference.
  • As you enter life you are going to find that car repairs can be an expensive proposition. That does not mean that you're being ripped off.
    How can they overcharge you? You were given an estimate up front. Don't like the estimate then get another.
    Failing to find one that you like then try to do the job yourself.

    Many shops don't like using customer provided parts for several reasons. One is that fitment can be a hit and miss thing with that part fitting correctly; or it may not fit at all without a wrestling match.
    Two is that quality can also be hit and miss. The shop installs some drop shipper provided Chinese part from Wing Wang Motor Works and the shop will also be the one to catch the blame when that part fails 3 days after installation.
  • While I don't know about your specific issue, I do suggest to do a lot of research before spending that much money. When I have a car repair, I do the following research: 1) research the prices of the parts from various locations; 2) look for videos online on how to do the same repairs so you get an idea of the complexity and the time it will take to make the repairs; 3) call around for estimates to both dealers and independent repair shops to get an idea of the average prices. In your inquiry, make sure you ask them to break down what they are charging you for the parts and what they are charging for the labor (rate per hour and how many hours for the job). This research will help you feel better about your decision to spend that amount of money, and ease the "female fear" so many of us have. Good luck!
  • The price is probably about right.

    How handy are you with basic tools and stuff? For $20 you can pick up a repair manual for this car at an auto parts store. It will have a chapter on basic body part R&R. Some aspects of it can be complicated and require some specialized experience/skill. But its often just plain easy too. At the very least you could look and decide its more than you want to try on your own.

    Outside of special circumstances I don't ever buy parts to take to a shop. If I had a shop, I wouldn't install customer supplied parts for reasons noted above.
  • $500 is outrageous..From beginning to end a one hour job at most..If you check eBay I bet you can find a complete mirror assembly even cheaper than the one you found.

    You can use craigslist to find the labor you need..There are many back-yard mechanics looking for an easy hours labor...The counter help at parts stores can usually steer you to an "independent" mechanic too....
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