Internet parts -- local labor

What is the perspective on mechanics who refuse to install parts I provide, say from the internet or used? Not an issue of a guarantee, which would be unfair. But an issue of them wanting to make profits beyond labor on repairs. Is this the norm?

Providing your own parts is not “the norm” unless you’re doing your own repairs.

Keep searching, perhaps you’ll find a mechanic who doesn’t object, but I think you’re going to have a hard time.

Good luck.

I don’t do it. It just opens the door for problems.

You bring me a part and I install it, the labor was $400. The part is defective, are you going to pay me another $400 to install another one. I am not going to do it for free because it was your part and it was your part that was defective not my labor.

Now if it’s a defective part from my supplier I have some recourse to recoup the labor time because they warranty their part.

The reason is several fold…First they will not guarantee their work based on the “unknown origin” of your part. Second they hide lots of money in the parts column… Its basically more risk and less money, which doesnt calculate for many if not most mechanics.

Yes, this is the norm, although there are some shops that will install your parts. They want to be certain they have the correct part, have all the parts they need, and won’t get into a dispute should something fail. If they buy the parts and they install them, there’s no “gray area” should you come back the next day unsatisfied. If he orders and installs everything, he’s responsible whether it’s the parts or the work that’s defective.

They may be willing to do this if you are willing to pay double labor rates and accept no guarantee on the parts or labor. The truth is, mechanics have to make a living just like everyone else. Some of that living is made by a parts markup, and for that extra money you also get a warranty on the parts and labor. Your mechanic also has a lot more experience with the parts jobbers, and has figured out where to get what parts for good longevity. This is the equivalent of telling your plumber or electrician to make a list of needed parts so you can go to Menard’s and get the stuff he needs, and to only charge you for the labor. Or telling your computer repairman to do likewise. Or expecting a seamless gutter company to knock off the $2.00 a foot material charge because you bought a coil of gutter material and want him to run it through his $15,000 machine and not charge you for it. Let’s not even get into taking your own food into a restaurant and expecting them to cook it for you…

Not a good way to make friends. If you buy the parts, you do the work. I had bought a Delco water pump from Rockauto for my Aurora to put in myself. Its a job and requires a special tool. After spending umpteen hours on it, I gave up and took it to the dealer. The dealer put the pump in but it leaked like a sieve. So they had to do all the work over again and put one of their pumps in. It was a GM pump but because I bought it, I was on the hook for it not working. Actually they were nice enough to just charge for the one R&R and not two, but I could and should have been on the hook for both. Only in extreme situations like this would I attempt to provide the part. Such as you break down and need a belt on Sunday night and you have one in the trunk.

Yes, it’s the norm, and it’s fair, they normally make money on both labor and parts. You call it ‘profits’, they call it ‘dinner/rent/house payment’.

Without profit on parts many of them would cease to be in business because all of the labor that you refer to as profit does not fall into the “Net” column.

Many internet parts with vaguely known brand names, especially electrical, are of dubious quality. Many customers will state up front they understand the part about no guarantee but when that new internet purchased fuel pump drops dead 2 weeks later they are plenty willing to blame it on mechanic error, etc. and forget the disclaimers they were told about at the start.

Take your own steak into a restaurant, ask for it to be cooked medium rare, and see what they say about that.

Here’s another reason the industry does not lean this way.

Customer provided parts usually mean customer diagnosed problems, or diagnosis by someone OTHER than the installing tech.

Which often initiates a huge argument of “you didn’t fix my car” against the installing tech. Even though the installing tech had no hand in the diagnosis, it’s suddenly all their fault the car is not fixed correctly.

and ONLY if…
the diagnosing tech and you have the conversation of you buying and bringing the parts required ( the RAREST of instances ) then NO, you don’t just show up and announce that you want X parts installed.

It’s the norm. Would you take your own ground beef into McDonald’s? I don’t think so. Same difference.

It is not the norm, but I bought a used car and was going to change the plugs. I could not see the plugs, and they were coil over. My mechanic did it for the normal labor cost, and used the plugs I had bought because they were the oem spec. If I had not been dealing with him for a while I would not have asked, and probably they would not do it. But 6 plugs at $8.50 or so each was enough incentive for me to ask. If there is a problem with the part they supply, they can fix it and probably will fix it for free. If there is a problem with a part you supply that is a whole nother can of worms if I were in the business I would not want to get into.

Because of people holding our feet to the fire for so long, usually the first thing we think about is liability. So yeah it’s the norm that we prefer to install parts we can stand behind. It always amuses me how people think we take our paycheck home in a wheelbarrow.

Many don’t because they can’t guarantee/warranty the part. My mechanic will install parts you bring him, with the understanding that there’s only a warranty on labor. After I bought my Mustang, upon the state inspection he mentioned that the current brakes will pass now, but the pads were about at 35% and the rotors might not be able to be turned. So I bought some four pot Brembos for the front and 2 pot’s for the back, with some upsized rotors, and he happy installed them. I suspect some mechanics are wary of people going down to Autozone and purchasing the absolute cheapest parts the can find, and then coming back and blaming the mechanic for a shoddy repair.

bring your own parts to us. i use a disclaimer. NO WARRANTY at all. and i bump the labor rate 25% to make up for lost parts sale

Yes- they make a profit on the parts they sell- and how happy would you really be if the diagnosis was wrong and the part was installed and you couldn’t return it. If the shop I go to did that he would return the part, find out what was really wrong and not charge me for the first labor and appologize for the time and trouble it took.

Like this person?

I understand the No warranty deal. But jacking up the labor rate? Tacky, IMHO.

When I worked for VW a guy bought a brand new VW from us and 2 weeks later wanted us to change out all of the factory struts to Bilsteins all the way around.
The service manager, against advice to not do this, agreed to this job with the customer providing the parts and with the clear understanding we do NOT guarantee those parts. No problem says the customer.

Within 3 weeks 2 of the 4 Bilsteins (one front and one back, go figure) went completely bad and the understanding at the beginning? What understanding? The guy remembered none of that including the notation on his copy of the repair order.
He not only wanted us to warranty the labor but also the parts which we had nothing to do with. He left cursing, threatened to call VWOA, file a complaint with the BBB, etc.

Yeah, it’s generally frowned upon for shops to install customer-supplied parts, for the reasons stated.

Now, there are some shops that’ll play ball, but the smart move here is to check this out BEFORE buying the part. Also, if you’ve just started a repair that’s way beyond your abilities, you probably can find a shop that’ll have mercy (particularly if you have the right attitude).

FoDaddy, you find upping the labor “tacky?” What about “corkage fees” at restaurants when you bring your own wine–also tacky?

My personal experience was, after failing to find a local junkyard with a MT for my '98 Ford Contour, I was able to find a transmission shop to install an internet part, with the annotation “NO WARRANTY” on the repair order I signed, which I thought fair enough. I also thought the labor rate to be fair, although I can’t say whether it exceeded their nominal rate or not.