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Car parts prices in SA: 'Do your homework'

2015-10-15 07:44

DO YOUR RESEARCH: From spark plugs to clutch plates... unless you're covered by a warranty and/or service plan, replacing car parts can be incredibly expensive. Image: iStock / Juanmonino

Cape Town - On Wednesday, Wheels24 reported on the 2015 Kinsey Report.

The report covers 74 vehicles within nine categories and shows a list of prices of 35 parts and the cost of each "parts basket" as a percentage of the vehicle's price.

Whether you own an entry-level hatch, workhorse bakkie or luxury sedan, being aware of replacement parts (and the cost thereof) is critical to avoid nasty surprises down the line.

Nasty surprise through the years

Click here for the full report

Les Mc Master, chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), responds:

Wheels24: What are your thoughts on the 2015 Kinsey report?
Mc Master: The Kinsey report highlights the huge disparity between the parts bought over the counter and those used in the build process, bearing in mind that each manufacturer also prices like-for-like parts at a huge premium under the guise of it being “genuine”.

The report allows the consumer more information which is an education process when procuring parts from the various sources.

W24: Given the weak Rand and its affect on imports, are South African car parts 'expensive'?
Mc Master: Car parts will always be a bone of contention in the eyes of the consumer. The volatility of the rand does not make it any better as the major part manufacturers are based abroad.

It does take a while to filter through. These parts are generally more expensive given the relatively small market and the distance from the source.

W24: What are some of the most expensive items to fix?
Mc Master: Certainly the major components, such as the engine and transmission. As vehicles are increasingly computerised, electronic control units have become enormously expensive relative to the age of the vehicle with some ten-year-old car-controllers costing a third to two thirds of the value of the car.

W24: Why do car parts prices differ depending on dealer/showroom?
Mc Master: This has always been an issue with the aftermarket workshop owner and probably will continue to be so.

Every OEM (original equipment manufacturer) has its own unique methodology of how the parts are distributed and the pricing structure is based on the model used, so a part in a rural area supplier will invariably be priced differently to a metropolitan area.

W24: What advice can you share for first time buyers?
Mc Master: Do your homework well, compare and compare again. What may sound like a bargain can bite you extremely hard down the line when parts are required and certainly reports. such as the Kinsey one, is not to be ignored.

W24: What advice can you share for owners of older vehicles out of warranty/service plans?
Mc Master: Use a reputable aftermarket workshop. The owners of these establishments have done the hard yards at a franchised dealer and they know the product.

Use a specialist workshop who knows your car brand and avoid the general come all shop. Make sure that the workshop uses the correct products and parts.

MIWA has a national footprint of 2400 workshops and are bound by a code of practice which gives the consumer peace of mind should the work not be done to their complete satisfaction.

Users respond:

Chad Young: So I own a 2007 Peugeot 207 GTI. It blew a head gasket and my current bill is close to R35000, yup that’s Rands not zim dollars, and can you believe it, the car is still not finished. If I had gone through an agent it would have been upward of 60 grand.

Daniel Amos: Replaced the whole front-end on a 2004 Toyota Hilux not so long ago; Fan, viscous, radiator, condensor, bumper and grilles, badges, bonnet, two fenders, both headlights, cradle, stiffener. Grand total for parts was about R7000.

Tang: Sigh, vehicle parts departments. The bottomless pit of frustration doesn't matter which make you are using.

Graham: People need to realise that dealers make very little off of the sale of cars. Most of their profit comes from servicing the vehicle. So when you see the big fancy showrooms you now know what is paying for that.

Another thing to consider is that a lot of these ridiculous prices are now built into the price of your new vehicle if it has a service plan. Service plans were a cleaver con to get us to pay exorbitant labour and parts prices for the life of the vehicle.

Reader, Rustenburg: A shocking amount I paid was around R15 000 in 2013 for breaking discs and pads, engine mounting and wheel bearing for a 2007 Citroen C2. I sold the car and swore not to go French again because I felt ripped off. 

Read more on:    south africa  |  auto industry

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