Specialty Aftermarket Parts: DIY and You Might Pay A Surprisingly High Price

sunday mechanicSome people become specialists on their vehicles and they know every nut, bolt, and measurement on their entire precious car. However, many people buy specialty parts thinking the installation will be easy, even if they don't know much about their car, and then the trouble starts. You probably wouldn't tattoo yourself, even though the parts to do it are easily available for purchase online. The same goes for car parts, and the results if you try to install them as an inexperienced user can be just as expensive to repair as that homemade tattoo. More importantly, we’ve seen previously reliable Hondas and Acuras involved in accidents caused by shoddy DIY customization work. Here are a few important tips if you are considering buying specialty aftermarket car parts.

Research, research, and more research.
Half the fun of having a car can be making it your own, so perhaps it is time for you to have a car that you've always envisioned. This can include a variety of bodywork and aftermarket parts. Start researching costs and be realistic about what you can do yourself. If you've never tried many of the skills that you'll need, this might not be the ideal time to start, unless you can afford to make costly, and possibly ugly, mistakes. Talk about it with a trusted automotive professional before you start on your project. They can give you tips, estimates, and even recommend what you can learn yourself by practicing on an old clunker.

Be pushy about measurements.
We all know individuals who say they’re 6'2" when they can't be more than 5'10". You may run into this feeling several times if you trust third-party websites or suppliers to provide you with measurements for parts. When a repair professional orders parts for your car, they are dealing with a supplier that they have ordered from for years and that they know is trustworthy. Again, talk to your automotive professional. They can find decent suppliers and you may find that they get even better deals than you're capable of finding on the Internet, despite the "guaranteed cheapest" taglines on the websites you've run across.

Run your numbers by a professional.
You've done your research. You figured out the cost of parts that you could buy yourself. You've added in the amount that it will cost you in man hours, or how much you could make if you were working during those hours. Take it down to a shop that you trust. You might be surprised by what your numbers actually show. As I said earlier, despite promises on the Internet, you’d be surprised by the problems built into the online system. There are million of warnings from previous buyers. You also may underestimate the amount of hours the project may take you, whereas a professional can help you be more realistic about your time, so you can make the right decision about how to spend those weekends.

When you look at specialty parts through catalogs or on the Internet, it seems like with just the turn of a wrench, anyone can do anything. But when all the measurements were lies, and every light is now hanging out of your car, and that 20-minute job is rounding on two hours, it is time to call the professionals.