How do you choose what part to go with

I am going to get my other lower control arm replaced and my local guy who has done other work on my car is willing to do this for $120 for labor and I can just bring him the part. Looking over the big three auto parts places in my area they all carry the same type and just about same prices. My question is how do you tell which is the best part, there are two about $20 in price difference. One part is called “Master Pro” the other is called Precission. Both running between $69-90 dollars.

I’d prefer a ‘name brand’ like Moog or TRW, but if they’re too $$$ I’d look at the warranty that’s offered. What parts brand does your local guy like to use?

The Moog is almost $200, which I just don’t have, have to keep total replace/repair to around $200 total. My local guy really doesn’t order parts, he just does the labor and he said from the part’s name there isn’t much of a difference so go with the $69 one.

Have you looked on for the part?

Not a fan of ordering parts on line, if problems you have to reship back and such so while it might be a bit cheaper, for me it’s just not something I prefer to use.

I understand, but it’ll give you some additional information on parts prices, and maybe one of your local shops will try to match them.

Hmm never thought about seeing if they would price match like Wal mart does.

Sometimes the parts store will know (or claim to know) which part is OEM or OEM-equivalent, even while they have in stock other parts that should fit and work.

I bought the cheapest water pump at my nearby O’Reilly a few years ago. It was hard to fit into place and its o-ring would not stay tucked into the casting. I could not see or feel this, but the leakage after refilling the cooling system and running the engine made it plain. I took it back to the store. They showed me a couple other water pumps that were designated a fit. One, they said, was made by the OEM. It was obviously a better quality piece of cast metal and its o-ring sat securely in its place. With no hesitation they gave me full credit for the cheap one, I paid the extra $10-20 and easily got the better part installed.

Lesson: if there’s more than one alternative, you can ask to see them. Listen to what the parts person has to say. Choose one. If its the cheapest, the salesperson should understand that not everyone always has extra money to spend. Thank them for their help. Keep your receipt and the original packaging in good shape, clean up any part you return, be honest about why you’re asking them to take it back, and give them a chance to help you with a different part.

Electrical parts may be subject to more stringent return policies.

Good point. There’s usually a range of parts, stay away from the cheapest (sometimes call ‘white box’) parts. Are these the cheapest control arms?

All places seem to have those two brands and the MOOG and the MOOG is always at least double the price. Would love to go with that, but just don’t have it in the budget.

I’ve used a lot of Master Pro and Precision brand parts. There’s never been any issues with them.

While I have no idea in regards to this particular part, it’s also possible that the MP and Prec. parts could be made by the same company that produces MOOG.

An example could be Dura Last gasket sets at AutoZone. Fel-Pro is normally considered the top of the line in gaskets but Fel-Pro actually manufactures the Dura Last gasket sets for AutoZone.
Same part; different branding is all.

For what it’s worth, I have had some issues at times with MOOG parts. It should not be assumed that because of the name they’re infallible.

When it comes to lower control arms, if I check out both options, what should I be looking for in the parts to know which to go for? Any thing to specifically look for in that type of part?

I’d go with @ok4450 's recommendations. Sounds like you’re good to go with either.

The warranty on the part isn’t going to matter much since the labor is ~2x the part cost. If it’s junk, it’ll cost you a lot more than the part price to R&R it again.

If they have both parts in stock, have them side by side and look them over. Poor quality looks the same no matter what the part is. If they have welds, look for quality of weld, splatter etc. Check out material thickness. How about finishing? Any bare or thin spots that will rust quickly. And so on…

Given that the parts are all essentially the same…
It becomes a people thing next.

given a choice ;
Do business with people who do business with you.
For the sake of your local economy…
For the sake of your needing a future relationship for parts…
pick a place…any one will do…where you may know people there ( or they may know you or someone you know. )
A place where your mechanic or people you know have had good dealings. ( like warranty, parts return and swapping till it’s right, and workers who are glad to see you and seem to know their stuff )
A place you would WANT to go to next time.

I do exacly that right here in my Ford dealership garage.when ordering outside parts.
it’s the people.

I know it was a little high but I paid $600 to have both of mine replaced but would agree with OK. I had a Moog tie rod end snap on me though that was only a year old. The casting snapped right where the ball is mounted so no guarantee.

Cheap parts often work fine.

I paid $237 for the passanger side control arm to be replaced by a local shop because my regular guy who just charges me labor was on vacation, and it was only about $40, but if I can I like the local guy cause he is an independent who does good work.

I second the rockauto recommendation. For some parts it would have different classes of parts from economy to daily driver to performance. The economy ones are the ones you use if you were going to sell the car tomorrow.

When buying parts, other than the price, you also have to consider the labor (which seems you are factoring in) and also the life expectancy of the car. On a newer car it might be worth it to spend the extra $$ and have peace of mind. On an old beater, anything new is probably fine.

I would also look on amazon, sometimes they have reviews on stuff, not very many smart reviews for car parts, but then again any information is better than none.

I always avoid the cheapest option. One thing that is important to me is costumer service. There are a few shops I go to for parts and the counter people know me. I always try to go back and keep my face seen. When I was returning a radiator because it was leaking, the guy didn’t ask any questions, apologized and wanted to give free coolant to me too.

Napa will not play the I match internet prices game, but will offer recommendations,