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Parts cost

I am curious…if I purchase, let’s say a pair of xyz sensors at a dealer parts department to take home and install myself, do I pay the same price I would if I had the dealer install them?

With all due respect . . .

What is the purpose of this question?

I may be way off base . . . but I don’t think so . . . but lately it appears you’ve had a lot of negative things to say about mechanics, shops and dealerships, claiming they charge too much

So I’m wondering if you’re looking for a certain answer, so you can prove some kind of a point . . . ?

Yes, dealer list price should be the same for carry-out parts or parts sold through the repair department.

no offense intended whatsoever. It was a simple question I was curious about. As far as charging too much…people have an option and go somewhere else to buy a part or get something fixed. Personally, I don’t care.

Compare it to a restaurant, you buy a steak, potato and salad, you will pay more than if you got them @ your local food mart.

That’s NOT the impression I got, based on some of your comments :laughing:

if you are referring to a $1500 job to replace a compressor, you are absolutely correct. It’s outrageous. Like in most service oriented businesses, there are “good” guys and there are “bad” guys.

If you feel that $1500 for a compressor replacement is OK, please educate me. Where do those charges come from? My trusted mechanic wanted ~$450 to replace a compressor on a Dodge Durango. I found that very affordable, but elected to do it myself because my wife’s car also needed one and I found it more satisfying doing it myself.

The guy in the other discussion hasn’t even been entirely clear, as to exactly what’s wrong with his car, and what parts the shop intended to replace. All he’s done is really some information, and it’s possible/probable he’s not even using the correct terminology. And part of the reason is apparently because he’s not a gearhead himself.

In other words, we’re not even in agreement, if we have the correct information, all the information, etc.

Yet YOU are so sure he’s being ripped off . . .

re-read my response in the thread again. I said ASSUMING that the compressor needs to be replaced…" and I also indicated that the OP may have misunderstood the mechanic and that there is more to the problem.

kurtwm2010, let me ask you this. You’re comparing a 1500 dollar compressor job to a 450 dollar compressor job.

Other than factors such as locale which can affect labor rates greatly let me ask this.

Have you considered that the 1500 dollar job may include a system flush along with removal and cleaning or replacement of the condenser, replacement of the accumulator, and so on?
Do you think that a 450 dollar job is going to include the above? Not likely.

Same with a “front brake job”. Cheaper pad slap or new pads along with rotor surfacing or replacement, servicing of the caliper slides, etc. Think those are the same price? Would the higher priced job be a rip-off? Not in my opinion.

At this point we know almost nothing of the complaint so I think it’s a bit premature to pile on with the old cliche’ about higher price means theft.


When an automotive compressor fails, finding and correcting the cause is imperative. Replacing a compressor without correcting the cause of failure will result in repeat failure and a much higher level of contamination in the system. When a compressor dies, a large amount of metal and debris are released. Failure to remove this hazard completely, will result in a repeat failure


Actually, I stated the amount incorrectly when I said $450 because it did not include the price (~$200 or thereabouts) for the new compressor which I purchased myself from RockAuto.

No, for me that would not include the condenser, but all other parts, Including the accumulator, flushing fluid, refrigerants and the usual stuff.

I do agree with your last statement, we know almost nothing about the complaint. Lets wait until we know more and start all over :smiley:

I have a local Chevy dealer that gives some discounts on factory parts over the counter that are not available if you have the parts installed there. The discounts are 10% if you are a senior citizen, work for GM or a Gm supplier, and you have to ask for the discount. There are car dealers that offer substantial discounts online and there are dealers that offer no discounts at all. It is an individual business decision for each dealer and it is not illegal or unethical for them to decide unless they are involved in a conspiracy between businesses to fix prices.

Also keep in mind that an identical part sold at, say, Advance Auto, likely costs less than the part at the dealer.

Say XZY company makes a “wibble” for GM and sells replacement wibbles at the dealer and at Advance Auto. You will pay more at the dealer because more GM departments “touched” the part and marked it up each time plus they don’t buy very many at a time. Advance may do volume buys and warehouse it themselves until needed so they lower the pass-through costs to the customer.

Advance may also sell a cheap Chinese copy that fits pretty much the same but may not last nearly as long. But it’s half the cost.


them dang wibbles are always going out on my GM Whositcar 300 with a 5.75L V7. I need a warehouse full of them just for myself…


I recently faced this scenario. I was having a part installed at a Suburu dealership where I bought the used car, which is a Lexus. I asked them if they were going to charge me the same price for the Lexus part that I would pay to the Lexus Parts Department at the Lexus dealership. Their answer was “Yes, we need to make money on it, too.” So whether I purchased it from Lexus Parts or from the dealership that was doing the work, I was paying the same price for the part. I have found out since then that many independent Mechanics Shops will not do that. Some will pass the discount over to you and only charge you what they pay for the part plus their labor cost - which, in my experience, has always been cheaper than the dealership price for labor. (The dealership has so much more overhead to cover).

Yes car repair places do not give you the discount price and add markup. SOP. Loved your analogy@SteveCBT Like I go to a restaurant, Hey you charge a buck for a baked potato, and I got this raw one for a dime, would you cook it and put it on the plate for me and guarantee I will be happy with it?

It should be kept in mind that a part going through a dealer parts department is also touched by more people than the same part sold at a local parts house.

AutoZone may buy a part directly from the manufacturer. A dealer will have to buy the part from their corporate overlord so another layer of markup is added even before the dealer adds theirs. From my experience the corporate markup to the dealers is substantial.

I’ve related this before but for those who haven’t heard it. A certain Subaru part cost the dealer 65 bucks and retailed to the customer for 98 dollars; roughly a 50% markup.
At one point this part became the subject of a campaign which is a voluntary Recall.

During warranty the dealer is reimbursed @ the dealer cost (65) plus a 25% markup.
This campaign became a bit lengthy so Subaru dropped the dealer cost of that part to exactly what it cost Subaru corporate to purchase from the manufacturer; a measly 6 dollars.
This meant the dealer is only reimbursed 6 dollars plus a 1.50 for the part. When the campaign ran its course the part went back up the normal price. The 1.50 wouldn’t even pay for the paper and ink to run a copy off. Bad for the dealer; great for corporate Subaru as their dealer expenditures just took a huge drop.

That kind of illustrates where the bulk of a parts markup occurs and once the campaign ran its course the part went back up to a dealer cost of 65 dollars. This particular part is not the only one either.

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I have been in this business all my life and have spent 20 years as either manager or owner of an independent shop. There has never been a time we have sold parts at our cost. Whoever told you that is misinformed.


Well, maybe I’m the first to experience it. I actually had confirmation from the Lexus parts department that indeed the discount was passed on to me by the shop I use (not by the dealership that originally said they would charge full price for the part plus an arm and a leg for the work). I will consider myself lucky to have found a wonderful shop…and not count on many others to be like them, as you have pointed out. Appreciate hearing from you so I can thank my mechanic even more.