When it comes to automotive parts, Japanese manufacturers have a huge advantage over their domestic counterparts. These manufacturers, however, have poor relations with their suppliers, and have inferior cars compared to their Japanese competitors. Approximately two-thirds to three-fourths of all auto parts production is purchased by vehicle manufacturers. The remainder of production ends up in the service/replacement parts distribution system. Only 30% of production goes to retail stores. Ultimately, these suppliers are responsible for the majority of the global automobile industry.
In 2006, the U.S. imports totaled $95.2 billion in auto parts, nearly double the amount imported five years prior. Exports rose 18 percent during the same period, to a total of $220.7 billion. Moreover, emerging economies such as Mexico and Canada accounted for 76 percent of the total U.S. auto parts exports in 2006.
The distribution network of auto parts is surprisingly diverse. The original equipment, or OE, is designed for use on vehicles that are already in production. In contrast, aftermarket parts are designed to replace a vehicle’s damaged or worn out OE parts. Besides, accessories are sold after the vehicle has been sold. If you’re looking for a specific auto part, consider checking out online sources as well. Some websites even offer free shipping!
Besides the increased cost of auto parts, some shops also charge their customers more for labor. Some shops offer a higher labor rate for jobs involving customer-supplied parts, but this still has its downsides. In addition to being less likely to guarantee the quality of a replacement part, the repair facility has to deal with the cost of replacing the part. In addition, the repair facility must also be able to provide warranty coverage. The latter option may not be feasible for some repair shops.
Purchasing aftermarket auto parts may also void your car’s warranty. As an added precaution, check your warranty policy to ensure that the parts you buy are compatible with your vehicle’s model. In addition, some aftermarket auto parts may not fit your vehicle’s body panels. Purchasing aftermarket parts for your vehicle can void the warranty, so it’s important to use original auto parts whenever possible. The same goes for purchasing auto parts from a dealership.
Changing the fluid in your car’s engine is another important maintenance task. You should change it every 15,000 to 18,000 miles to protect the transmission/transaxle. Also, check the suspension system on a regular basis to make sure that it’s in good condition. Keeping your car’s suspension system in good condition will help your car last longer. This is especially important if you drive on slippery surfaces, and it can result in a dangerous situation if your suspension system is damaged.
Aftermarket auto parts are often the only option if your vehicle is too old to find an OEM part. While some parts are of questionable quality, most aftermarket ones are equivalent to OEM parts and much more affordable. Your insurer’s replacement schedule will dictate the amount of money you’ll pay for aftermarket auto parts, so check your policy to be sure it covers them. Otherwise, you could be stuck paying the price for auto parts that you don’t need.