Why Do Cheap Parts Sometimes Cost Big Bucks?


Most people who have owned a vehicle for a long time have probably experienced at least one shockingly high repair bill at the mechanic. While it's no secret that cars can be costly to maintain, it's sometimes surprising to find a four-figure repair bill for a part that may only cost a few hundred dollars or less. If you've found yourself in this situation, you might be wondering why this happens.

Unfortunately, these costs typically reflect the unique challenges that come with working on vehicles. Here are just three reasons why your cheap car part may leave you with a much larger repair bill.

1. Access

Engine bays aren't known for being roomy and comfortable places to spend time. If you look into your car's engine, you're likely to see a tangled mess of wires, hoses, and various components and accessories. As modern vehicles become more sophisticated and high-performance, manufacturers need to find creative ways to fit more parts into a limited space.

As a consumer, this means that you often end up paying higher prices for labor to replace relatively cheap or simple parts. Your mechanic may have to remove several other components just to access the failed part. This process can take hours, even if unbolting the failed part itself and bolting in the new one is a ten-minute job.

2. Seized Fasteners

Ask any backyard mechanic about the most frustrating part of car repair, and you'll likely get the same answer: stuck bolts. The fasteners used to keep your car together must withstand constant exposure to the elements. These bolts, screws, and nuts will face searing heat, freezing cold, rain, wind, snow, and road salt. This abuse inevitably takes its toll over time.

While a professional shop has more options than a typical DIY mechanic, stuck and seized fasteners can still bring a relatively easy repair job to a screeching halt. These seemingly minor inconveniences can add hours of labor to a job, skyrocketing the cost of an otherwise straightforward repair.

3. Complexity

Some repairs are a relatively simple matter of unbolting some parts and swapping in new ones. Other repairs, such as transmission rebuilds, can be wildly complex. These jobs might only involve replacing some relatively cheap gaskets and seals, but they require highly specialized knowledge and hours of work.

In these cases, the vast majority of the repair cost will come in the form of labor. Fortunately, highly labor-intensive jobs such as transmission and engine rebuilds are relatively uncommon, so you may be lucky enough to avoid them altogether. When they do strike, the high labor cost is necessary to ensure your rebuilt part can function like new and last for many years. Reach out to a car repair service to learn more. 


3 December 2021

Hubcaps to Timing Belts: An Auto Parts Guide

Gone are the days when auto care workers were the only ones who bought auto parts. If you like to DIY your auto repairs, you are probably shopping online or in local auto parts stores for the items you need. Some people even like to save money by buying their own auto parts and then having a mechanic install them. To buy your own auto parts, you need to know the difference between aftermarket and OEM parts, how to tell a fuse from a solenoid, and more. Explore our website, where we offer insight into all things auto-parts-related. After reading our articles, you'll be a better-informed shopper.