Cheap Replacement Parts – is this possible?
One of the most lucrative trades to be in nowadays is the knockshop or panelbeating industry. Its one thing to have insurance, totally another when insurance refuse to pay out and you end up with a ludicrous bill for windscreen replacement. Notice how the dealer replaces parts that aren’t required, you get billed by an unqualified person at qualified rates, how time and time again you feel ripped off but aren’t in a position to do anything about it. I classify myself as being technical but not street smart – meaning I can see something coming but get checked (as in check mate) time and time again. If you think you are different then think again – everyone these days is being screwed over. The only way to really deal with it is to know your rights (yeah, yeah – we all think we do) but better still know the company you are dealing with. The company is one thing, a dodgy employee totally another. So I am a stickler for punishment and I am tech savvy – I pity those that aren’t. So here we have parts-ring.com – your voice on things that matter. If you do feel that a certain company deserves credit then list them here. Reply to this post by registering and add their name to the registrations base. Tell us how good they are. As street unsavvy as I am I can tell you that in most cases an educated person would more than likely not try to rip you off. That’s my experience. This is not always the case, its my own experience. Talk nicely, build your own profile and make a decision.
Build your own conclusion here but I forewarn: There are two market sectors at play here – the high margin and the low margin. Both of them have their own select list of crooks but by and large the biggest selection are in the auto trade – this encompasses motorcycles and your 4 wheeled vehicle.
One of the biggest rip offs in the auto industry are replacement parts for the electronics, or motorcycle chains and sprockets. Often all that goes faulty in the electronic circuit is a protection diode – yes that is why it is there, brushes on alternators, brushes on starters and loose wiring. Alternator pricing these days is absolutely ludicrous and its certainly not the price of copper wire alone causing this. I don’t know the inflation figures for getting replacement parts but it is higher than 10%.
By shopping around the user (you and me) can sometimes score not just bargains but the goods at a realistic price. If not then opt for a Chinese knock-off.
The Computer Industry
Have you noticed how today you will purchase a laptop cheaper than five years ago but with a huge gain over performance. The auto industry sadly lacks in this respect – more robotics, more plastic, less overheads but the final product is more expensive. How many middlemen in this scenario? Professional audio equipment – look at our gripes as to why Behringer get a bad rap when compared to more expensive equipment with the same performance. The electronics industry has grown substantially in magnitude over the last ten years – the auto industry nearly folded in our last and sadly current recession.
Motorcycle Chains and Sprockets
So we don’t get lambasted by the proprietors of thousands of motorcycle dealers throughout the world I will refrain from mentioning company names. All motorcycles except the shaft drive units need to have a chain and a set of sprockets. These are not only form part of the drive chain and are directly related to your own safety and others on the road, a degenerated drive chain takes off wallops of power and if not tensioned correctly will wear quicker and cause even more power loss. Not looking after chains and sprockets is also a money spinner for biker dealerships. One thing is certain though – there will come a time when you need to replace and it is not cheap. No, you cannot just replace the chain and neither one socket. You replace the whole lot.
There is an old expression that goes something like this – ‘always make sure that you have stock because if you don’t the potential sale is going to go elsewhere and the client may just find out how much you have been ripping him or her off’. Never a truer word is spoken.
In comes Renold Crofts, a not so well known company in my native South Africa selling top quality chains and sprockets at a fraction of the price. I list there website here: www.renoldcrofts.co.za
I was told about this company in the 1980s by my old man and he had been purchasing their products prior to that so they have been around for some time.
Can one buy a cheap auto battery? The motto about getting what you pay for may be true here but do yourself an investigative favour and look around. What is truer, if you do not know batteries and do not know charging circuits then get someone whom is honest and is wanting to assist. Poor earthing (earth strap) from motor to chassis or alternator, faulty immobiliser and unknown battery drain through leakage are all tell tale signs of a dead battery – alas the shop taking your battery in is not going to check it and if they do they may be inclined to tell little white fibs so go back to plan A – have it checked properly. Cheap replacements? Yes. Make sure you get a deposit or refund on the old battery to cover the lead. Make sure you know the Amperage Hour Capacity of the battery you need and ensure that the replacement is the same. If you know the number Google search works wonders. Watch the warranty and know the pitfalls of buying refurbished batteries from unreputed dealers.
Never let your lead acid cell run down!
Lamps, bulbs, lights
There are many auto manufacturers out there but none make their own. So don’t buy from the local dealer. The same applies to most parts of the electronic and electrical circuits.
Ditto above. Think Bosch and Delco. Here’s a story: A skipper I used to do work for had his Mercedes heater fan motor fail. Price at the dealer (conversion at current rates as at 04-01-2014) = U$D 103.77. “Too expensive” he said. “Fix it”. We tried to undercut the commutator but it was so worn that it was impossible. “Buy it” he said. Miraculously the price went up to U$D 141.50 over a period of two weeks. On inspiration I phoned an old school chum, Leon whom owned an autoelectrical company out in Caledon. “The part number is the same as that used in most VW cars”, he said. “For you, 35.85 U$D”. Ummm, now that should get you thinking – expensive car, expensive parts. Mercedes do not make their own electrical parts, neither do a host of other manufacturers. That’s why they can all stay in business and remember, Bosch has done a couple of laps – very innovative company streets ahead of any engine or body manufacturer. Auto Sparkies will always be able to match a motor as a replacement for your faulty and it will be cheaper than the dealer. Always get as much information as possible and do the search. Google it!
My tried and trusted 750cc motorcycle had it’s 12V regulator fail. I made my own – it lasted about a year. I went to the local Toyota dealer and the guy said he had an old Volvo regulator which I could have for just over one buck. It worked 100%. The dealer price was nearly 36 U$D in 1980. What it costs now I dread to think.
As long as the regulator can handle the alternator field current it will be 100%. Otherwise make your own. I’ll dig up a schematic for you and post it within a week.