My teenage son has a 2002 Saturn Ion with over 200K miles. He turned on the wipers when there was ice and broke the driver’s side wiper assembly (motor and all). Since Saturn doesn’t exist anymore, I brought the car to my GM dealer. He wants over $600 to repair the wiper. He says the parts alone are about $400. How do I find someone who will either use parts I buy on the internet or will buy used parts himself? I don’t have a local mechanic that I know or trust; I always go to the dealer. I really do not want to pay $600 for a windshield wiper assembly for a car that can not last much longer.
You absolutely want to find an independent mechanic and not use a dealer. I’ve had great success using the Cartalk mechanic finder:
The Car Talk Mechanics Files is a good place to start. You could also ask for recommendations from friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, etc.
You need an independent mechanic for this car, not a dealer.
I hope your son learned a valuable lesson about making sure the wiper blades are free before turning on the wipers.
Searching for a used part does take some time, and my experience has been that many independents are very willing for you to locate the part and bring it to them. One independent that I had worked with for years would call a salvage yard where he did business and send me after the part and sometimes some parts for other customers whose car he was repairing. He would have me put on a jacket with Sunoco (it was a Sunoco station) and send me out in the service truck to the salvage operation.
My suggestion is to find an independent shop and ask them what salvage yards they may work with. Have the independent mechanic look at what is needed first so you and he know what to get.
That’s funny! I will ask the dealer who is quoting me the outrageous number exactly what I need. He’s actually a nice guy. Do I need part numbers, as well? I honestly know nothing about cars whatsoever, but I do know people who buy used parts online and they are far cheaper. I’m somewhat wary since I don’t want to buy the parts and then find out I messed up and pay even more.
It doesn’t matter that Saturn doesn’t exist anymore, rebuilt and new wiper motors are everywhere and so are the other parts of the car. Windshield wiper motors do cost a bit and that Ion will still be driving around in 2024.
While there is a perception that because the dealer is high means you’re being gouged the reality is that the price the dealer pays for the OEM parts is much higher than what is offered on the 'net or even what the local auto parts stores pay for their parts.
If the dealer tried to compete with the 'net or local parts stores they would be losing money on everything.
An independent shop would be more likely to install a used part but you should be aware the reason behind any unwillingness to install a used part (or even a new one from the 'net) is because too many customers will nod in agreement up front that the shop cannot guarantee the part but when something is wrong with that part will turn around and blame the shop for it anyway.
I’m not saying that you would do this at all; only that the irritatingly large number of people who do reflects on the entire customer base.
You might check eBay for a wiper motor as you can probably get one there for 40 bucks or so.
If this turning on the wipers when iced over turns out to be a chronic problem you might consider lowering the amperage rating of the fuse in that circuit by 5 amps or so. This could allow the fuse to pop rather than take out the motor and whatnot.
If you are comfortable going to the dealer for repairs then do it and don’t feel bad about it. It is no sin and independents are no better or no worse than a dealer.
You can find used parts but there are also remans. A1 Cardone is a rebuilder that has a line of wiper motors. OK4450 speaks words of wisdom concerning this, I can back this up myself. Dealers can install reman, new aftermarket or used/lkq. But they won’t warranty it.
If you are comfortale going to the dealer for repairs then do it and don’t feel bad about it.
I agree. Many years ago in my first round of graduate school, I needed a new crossover pipe on the 1954 Buick that I owned. I took it to the Buick dealer. I thought that the labor charge was fair, but the cost of the crossover pipe seemed high. I called the NAPA store and the NAPA price quoted to me on the telephone was exactly what the Buick dealer charged on my bill. Now I think the dealer probably had the pipe delivered from NAPA, but I would have saved nothing getting the part myself.
Depending on the car and the part I may not care if the part is OEM, LKQ or reman as long as the price is appropriate.
While I have been to good independent shops it is also the independents that tried to ream me the most. I have had good visits to dealerships but I have learned that one must go in and give good info and also have a cordial friendly attitude but also have enough confidence in yourself that the writer can see you are no push over. I hope my words made sense.