While a franchised dealership may only supply original manufacturer parts and a garage may only have one parts supplier, customers are free to shop around to find the best deal and discounts.
It may even be possible to find surplus official factory parts for lower prices, although you’ll want to double-check the packaging and parts numbers to ensure they are the genuine article.
Third-party parts can offer significant discounts and it’s easy to find reputable manufacturers with many customer testimonials to back up the quality of their products.
Individual owners are also free to buy second-hand or reconditioned parts, although as with buying any third-party part of your car, you’ll need to exercise caution. While buying a used aerial, door mirror or piece of trim for your car is one thing, we’d never recommend buying an item of unknown quality for your braking system or safety devices and steer well clear of second-hand tyres.
You can save money and may even be able to get hold of the parts more quickly. By choosing aftermarket parts, you may be able to enhance your vehicle, but it’s important to note this could your car’s warranty (if it has one) and you’ll need to inform your insurance company of any changes to your car.
If you are a competent home mechanic, you can save even more money by fitting the parts yourself. There are lots of resources online to guide you through basic maintenance and fitting new parts to your car, just make sure to always take your vehicle to a trained professional for any work that could affect the safety of the car.
Garages have access to trade prices, so may be able to get some parts at a lower price than the public. It’s also worth bearing in mind that many garages will refuse to fit customer supplied parts, so it’s important to check with them before making a purchase, if you don’t plan on carrying out the work yourself.