The next time you are in a supermarket, count the number of different toothpastes on sale.
My dear wife usually looks after this side of things, and I was left a bit astonished at it all. There must be dozens of varieties, though I stopped counting when the lady down the aisle starting giving me funny looks.
There are just as many brands of car parts, with a massive difference in quality. Even if you struggle to lift the bonnet, it is worth asking what sort of parts your mechanic uses at service or MOT time.
And if you work in the trade, or are a DIY enthusiast, the right parts should be a top priority. Despite the recession, we continue to stock quality brands of car parts. Here’s why:
Quality saves money
Let’s say you need a set of brake pads. Tests show a substantial difference in the wear length of different brands – up to three times longer for a quality brand. The price difference, however, is not huge. For example, we sell APEC brakes which come with a two-year guarantee. The same company produces a cheaper range which only has a one-year guarantee. On average the price difference is only about £5.
Quality performs better
The humble oil filter is one of the most important items on your car. Mann filters recently dismantled the insides of some budget oil filters and compared them to their own. In some cases, the quality brand had a greater filter surface by a stunning 217 per cent. In practical terms, a better filter will mean longer engine wear. The difference in price might only be 50 pence or a pound.
Quality is dependable
Quality parts have a dramatically lower failure rate. This also means such companies offer long warranties and quibble-free returns.
This is important for the service a mechanic offers. Say you are fitting a clutch, and the choice is between an OE brand like LUK and a budget variety. You want to save the customer money, and the budget one is £25 cheaper. Then six months later the part fails. You have an angry customer, all the work to do again, and the hassle of trying to get money back on the faulty part. If it happens too often, your reputation begins to suffer.
We recently gained a new trade customer. In response to the recession, they began fitting budget brake pads. At first all was well, but then the number of customer complaints over squeals, warped discs, and faulty parts rocketed. They realised that more customers were being lost than profits made!
At the very least it is worth giving the customer a choice between the two options. That way you don’t get blamed if it all goes wrong!
Andrew works in Clarke’s Tyres, 71 Pound Street, Larne. Tel. 02828260056. Clarke’s have been serving Larne since 1929, and offer a wide range of car parts, garage services and accessories to trade and public.