If you own a foreign auto, you may have run into the difficulty many can have in finding the correct parts when repairs are needed. The degree of the auto parts dilemma is related to which type of car you own. Mercedes and BMW parts, for example, can take more of an effort to locate than VW, Kia or Hyundai parts.
Luxury foreign autos, according to recent studies, can be a great deal more expensive to own and operate than domestic or smaller foreign models because of the maintenance and repair costs. This has become more of an issue recently, because people are keeping their cars longer. Another research study reports that the average car now stays on the road for 10.6 years compared with 8.8 years reported just 10 years ago.
So, the annual cost of vehicle upkeep is a more important element than before when people shop for a new car. That doesn’t let out foreign makes. In fact, Car and Driver magazine recently released the results of its study of the least expensive cars to own and of the top 10, nine were imported. Admittedly, most were of the Kia and Hyundai variety.
But owners of BMW, Mercedes, and other premier autos are typically passionate about their chosen rides, and obtaining the right parts for repairs is considered part of the price of ownership. It can even be part of the allure of exclusivity.
So how do you find the right parts for your import? If you have a reliable, trained foreign auto repair mechanic who specializes, they likely will have sources to call upon if they don’t have their own inventory of parts. If not, then you have to become your own source.
First, write down the model and make numbers of the part in question and include any other identifiers or features that will help single it out. Then shop around online, taking care to compare price quotes for rebuilt, used, and remanufactured parts, as well as new ones. Ask for shipping quotes and a written guarantee on the condition of the part you decide to buy.
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to make arrangements with your foreign auto mechanic to expect delivery of the part and to perform the repair that’s needed. You may want to get a written guarantee on the repair job, but among foreign car specialists, a handshake generally will do. They tend to have a passion for their work that would rival your passion for your car.
When the part arrives, inspect it with the mechanic to be sure it is in the promised condition. If there is any deviation, pack up the part and send it back. Don’t try using it first, because that could eliminate any chance you have of qualifying for a refund from the seller.