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Give parts back to customer

I would like to know why a mechanic would refuse to save parts for a customer who requested them every time she talked to him on the phone; and then why he would go ahead with a repair and purchase parts for the vehicle when she gets the parts at discount at the parts store she works at, and provided all parts necessary…hello? did he just feel like being ignorant, or decided that he can step all over her since she is a female? I thought there was a law with garages that they have to give parts back?

I agree 100% that they should save parts if you so request, you should find a different mechanic.

But on the parts you supply, many (most?) mechanics will not warrantee repairs using those parts, as they do not know their quality. But if he agreed beforehand to use those parts, he should follow through.


I have had parts returned, but if you trust the shop why bother? It isn’t as though you have your name engraved on the parts. If you can’t trust the shop just how would anyone know where the parts came from?


Johnbarry: good point

I know in some states it’s actually the LAW the mechanic must return old parts if requested. Check with your state.

As for using the parts from customer…Many mechanics won’t do that…especially if bought from a auto parts discount store. They have no way of knowing the reliability of those parts. Some mechanics will do it, but won’t warranty the work or parts.

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As for the rules for mechanics we don’t know where you are. You need a different mechanic or at least a better understanding of what should be done.
I have had shops say we will show you the parts we replaced and I said I don’t need to see them the car is fixed and that is all I care about.

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A shop should always save the old parts although here in OK there is no legal statute stating this must be done. Saving old parts for a short reasonable length of time can help prevent problems. Other than core charge parts of course.

Second point. You state the customer works at a parts store and gets a discount on the parts she provides to the shop.
Many shops do not like to do this as it can open a can of worms. Personally, I’ve refused (with few exceptions) to install a customer provided part due to the can of worms scenario rearing its ugly head a few times.

The mechanic should just tell her NO; I’m not installing a part you provide. If you insist, go elsewhere or DIY.


Thanks for your response. The mechanic did agree to use my parts because I worked at the parts store & I realized there was no guarantee on the work.

Let me address one point at a time:

  1. Perhaps this mechanic is saying “If you don’t trust me, take your business elsewhere.” Even if he isn’t saying that outright, that’s likely the message you should take away from this.

  2. There are plenty of good reasons a mechanic might insist on using his parts, the most obvious being that he is in business to make money, and using your parts would cut into his profits. Without a reasonable profit margin, there is little reason for him to be in business. Again, he’s probably thinking “If she doesn’t like it, she should take her car to someone else.”

  3. I don’t know where you live, or what the laws are in your area, but a car forum is a terrible place to go for legal advice.

In conclusion, if you don’t like the way this mechanic does business, take your business elsewhere, but you’re likely to run into the same issues on items two and three. Regarding item one, occasionally, the mechanic might forget to hold onto the old parts for a high maintenance customer like yourself, so be prepared.


They should if requested, but you also need to be willing to pay the “core charge” if applicable. Lots of times a shop will get credit for a returned assembly when sending one back for rebuilding, and this amount will be subtracted from your bill. It may not even be visible on the bill.

Many years ago, my brother’s Camry needed an internal engine part replaced, but–unfortunately–I don’t recall exactly which part it was. Possibly it was the distributor drive gear, but…maybe not…

He stated that he wanted the old part returned to him, and the mechanic did so, in a manner that displayed–at the very least–utter stupidity, or–more likely–contempt for the customer. The old part was left sitting on the Camry’s center console, with a nice puddle of oil oozing from the part. :astonished:

Needless to say, after my brother had a few words with the owner of that shop, he vowed to never return to that place.

I had a mechanic whom I used when it was a job above my expertise. He always voluntarily came out and showed me the part(s) he replaced. I really appreciated that extra step. Maybe 'cause he knew me (taught his kid in Sunday school), he knew I was inquisitive, he had been in the middle of a complaint from a customer who claimed he didn’t replace what was billed for?? Who knows?
I have to agree with the majority on the servicer should be allowed to provide his own parts; quality, warranty, and profit. There is, I suppose, a possibility that he had torn into the engine to a certain point, and rather than stop and contact the OP and then wait on parts, he already had some on hand and was anxious to finish the job, clear the bay, get the next car in and start on it.

Can’t say why you wouldn’t get the old parts back but careful what you ask for. I’ve had a wheel bearing laying around for over a year because I asked for the old part. Can’t put it in the garbage but would have to make a special trip to the junk yard to get rid of it.

As far as taking your own parts, I went to breakfast the other day and took my own eggs to them, the pancake mix, some coffee grounds, and the bill was twice what it should have been to order off the menu. Even if you get a discount on eggs or even free eggs, the chef is likely to get very agitated.

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I bought a kidney and took it to my transplant surgeon. She refused to do the surgery.

The company that monitors our water plant where I work work refuses to use some old bleach I found laying around. What is their problem? It’s never been opened.


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To me, it sounds like either:

  1. The person OP talked to about saving the part, and using her parts, was not the person who wound up doing the repair, OR
  2. Same guy did the repair, but didn’t write down the “special orders” and simply forgot.

FWIW, I generally ask for the old parts, because I’m a scrapper.

True story:
When I was a kid, we had a landlord who was so tight that he squeaked, and when his dentist told him that he needed extensive work done on his mouth, he told the dentist that he would return the following week.
Yes, he did return the following week, with a pocketful of old gold that he wanted the dentist to melt down and use that to fill his teeth. The dentist refused, and advised this guy that he needed to look for a new dentist.
(Just by coincidence, this was the same dentist that my family used, so I know that he was a nice guy.)

I heard the tale because the landlord told everyone in the neighborhood about it, in order to try to trash the dentist’s reputation, but all he accomplished was to convince more people than ever that he himself was a royal jerk.

Just to keep this on an automotive footing, the dentist bought a brand new Rambler (circa 1961), and he said that it was the worst lemon that he had ever owned.

Normally if you want the old parts you must indicate so on the repair order, you can’t call later and expect the technician to retrieve the parts from the dumpster or call back the cores from the supplier.

[quote=“the_same_mountainbik, post:10, topic:99675, full:true”]
They should if requested, but you also need to be willing to pay the “core charge” if applicable. Lots of times a shop will get credit for a returned assembly when sending one back for rebuilding, and this amount will be subtracted from your bill. It may not even be visible on the bill.
[/quote]Since she bought the parts, she would have paid the core charge up front. Since she also works at the parts store, returning the cores wouldn’t be an extra trip, either.

Speaking of tight people, when I was a kid our neighbor was very frugal. Nice family but he would have to research everything to death before buying to make sure he got the very best deal. They didn’t buy watermelon because it was too much water and not enough nutrition.

At any rate he was looking at cars and drove every dealer nuts by all the minute detail he needed to get into. Inches of foam on the seats of an Impala versus a BelAire and so on. He finally decided on the 1963 Bel Aire but he insisted that it have the same rear springs as the heavier Impala. So the GM dealer did it and swapped the springs. Now he had the only brand new 63 Chevy with the rear end a few inches higher than the front end. He never said a word about it-what could he say? That car is still around town and covered up in the winter as a classic. It is still raked and I’m sure the owner doesn’t know the story behind it. If he ever put new springs on it, he’d probably think he got the wrong ones when it was level again.

If I ever see the guy outside I’ll probably just see if he knows or not.

I was on very good terms with the saleswoman from whom I bought my last 3 cars. When I stopped into the dealership a few weeks after trading-in my old Outback for a new one, she called me over to her desk in order to tell me the tale of the weirdo customer to whom she almost sold my 10 year-old Outback.

First, the customer stated that she needed to take it on a long test drive, in order to be sure that it could climb “the Kingston Hill”. Bear in mind that this hill is…just a hill…and is not at all steep. The saleswoman assured the customer that the 3 liter six cylinder engine in that Outback would be far more capable of climbing that hill than the customer’s ancient Corolla, but she gave the woman the keys and sent her on her test drive.

About an hour later, the woman returned and admitted that the car did indeed have very good power, but…there was just one more problem. She pointed to a used Volvo that was also sitting on the used car lot and stated that she would buy my old Outback if the dealership would swap the Volvo’s seats into the Outback. With that request, the saleswoman pointed down the highway and told the customer, “Do you see that Volvo dealership? That’s where you should be doing your car shopping”.

As the saleswoman said, “I don’t need to make sales so badly that I need to deal with nut-cases like that”.
And, she was glad to report that this particular customer had never returned.