Prepurchasing parts

Can one save money by prepurchasing parts? I am planning on having my timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump and timing belt tensioner replaced. If I purchase Gates parts and take to Dodge dealer will they say I should use their parts? Will they just increase their other charges too make up for the lost margin on their parts?

The LAST THING ANY mechanic wants to see is you walking in with a box-full of parts. No Thank You…The Dealer won’t even talk to you…Good-by…

Most shops increase their hourly rate for provided parts if they allow it all. The motive is not “pure profit” on their part but hassles that arise from subpar or incorrect parts provided by customer. Also if part fails is the mechanic liable for correcting? No but customer will feel wronged and leave shop. Just not worth it for a shop.

Gee, so I shouldn’t take my own eggs and bacon with me to Denny’s and ask them to cook them?

Some gas stations even had signs that showed people trying that at a restaurant. “You wouldn’t do this; why try it at a service station?” Everything in the fifties was in the comics.

“THE PARTS MAY BE SUBSTANDARD, OR DEFECTIVE!” It’s the MECHANIC’S job to ensure that HE doesn’t install substandard or defective parts on ANYBODY’S car — whatever the SOURCE of those parts. Not using quality parts, from whatever source, smells of desire for profit-margin, to me. If mechanics can’t be truthful about this, what can they be truthful about?

Timing belts are expensive to replace.

Are you willing to pay double for the timing belt job if the mechanic has to reopen everything to investigate a suspected failed part?

It Depends On Where You Live. Some Things Are Less Convenient Living Where I Live. However The Laid Back Life Style Makes It All Worthwhile.

I have mentioned before that we have dealers representing GM, Ford / Jeep, and Chrysler, but no foreign car makes. Many big retail chains and restaurant chains aren’t here, either.

Dealers and independents here don’t care if you buy their parts or bring your own. They don’t adjust labor prices accordingly, either. I have used dealers and independents and usually try to give them the parts sale, but they often prefer it if I round up the parts.

Nobody loses their cool over such things, here. Most people are just happy to see you. My son is in a fifth year at college, finishing his masters, and lives in what most peolple would describe as a rural area about 3 hours from here. To him it is the big city. He says he has no desire to live in such an environment when he graduates.

I say it depends on where you live and the nature of your local way of life.


I know a couple of INDEPENDENT garages here in NH who will do it. MOST won’t…And NEVER heard of a dealer ANYWHERE that would even consider it. You live in a special place if even the dealers will accommodate this request. Dealers want to only use OEM parts at OEM prices.

You can save money by bringing your own food to a restaurant too, but good luck getting them to cook it.

Who knows? You might be doing business with someone who doesn’t mind. You should be asking your mechanic, not us.

The best way to save money is NOT to go to the Dodge dealer. An independent mechanic will charge a great deal less for the labor, which is the largest part of the timing belt job.

You may or may not save any money on the materials by buying your own parts. The mechanic buys the same part you buy, but gets a 30% “dealer discount”, or trade discount. That’s the main reason he likes to get the part himself. The other reason is that your part may be defective or of inferior quality.

What you are proposing is the worst possible (most expensive) way to go about a timing belt change.

Just today in our shop.
customer furnished own battery…bzzzt ! wrong battery !
Now what ? Put their mal-functioning car back together for them to drive accross town to exchange it ? Leave the dead car tying up a bay till tomorrow ? Sell them one of ours after all and leave it to them to hope they get a refund ? Give them a ‘free’ shuttle ride to the other parts place ?

Lots of little issues arise with customer pre-furnished parts.

Who diagnosed the repair ? What do WE do if YOU guessed wrong ?
What if those parts are wrong ?
What if more parts are needed ?
Even though we explain that WE don’t cover warranty labor if YOUR parts fail, will you understand that and remember it seven months from now ?
What if you instruct us to blindly install those parts, then return with “my car’s not fixed” ?

There are ways we handle this ( and we do install customer furnished parts on occasion ) but you must cover these bases going in. And not all shops are willing to, as clearly stated by others.

I like Ken’s reasoning the best. It’s just wrong to say an informed customer cannot purchase quality parts.

The “bring your own parts” senario can be rejected on much better grounds than “the customer brought me poor quality parts”.

My mechanic is cool with me bringing my own parts for him to install. I have no problems with him not warranting the parts, just the labor. I bring him parts of higher quality than he typically uses. When it was time for new brakes, I brought him a Brembo big brake kit to install. When I had the suspension done, I brought him Eibach springs and Koni struts/shocks. He had no qualms about installing them.

Or worse, the belt slips/breaks and ruins the engine

It is not something I would recommend, but its happened.

I bought a Delco water pump from Rockauto for my Olds Aroura. Bought the special tool etc. but after hours of trying everything could not get it out. So I took it to the GM dealer. They put my pump in no problem, but when it leaked, they had to take it out, and put another Delco pump in. Of course I had to pay for the 2nd pump, but they never charged to put the second one in. Same price. I wasn’t being a jerk or penney pincher, and they weren’t trying to take advantage of me which they could have. But as a rule, I would usually never try to supply my own parts.

Another time though, son’s starter went out late Saturday night. He got it to a place that was open Sunday. We looked at it and figured it was the starter so went and got one for them and just had them install it. They wanted to do a $100 diagnosis first but I said just put it in and if that’s not it, its my problem. I felt I needed to get the part on Sunday to expedite the whole repair and cut through the usual BS of this particular shop open on Sunday.

So guess it just depends but wouldn’t do it as a general rule.

On an older vehicle I have found purchasing an expensive part from the junk yard that a mechanic even dealer will give you leeway.

A good Honda dealer locally even installed a used rack and pinion on a friends 10 year old Civic. The same dealer put an aftermarket radiator in my wife’s 140k Civic in for warranty work. They said OEM was hardly worth it especially given mileage of car.

I believe it is all case specific but showing up with parts is not a good start.