Cars are expensive. It's one of those inevitable things that is just true of life. The sun sets in the west, Cadbury chocolate is better than Hershey's and no matter how expensive your last car service was, there will always be something new to fix.
Even mechanics feel this way too. And, even though we might have the best deal when it comes to labour, you'd be hard-pressed to find a mechanic who wants to pay for parts to work on their own car outside of work hours.
With all that said, you'd think that all mechanics would be interested in finding a cheaper alternative for new parts. Say from a rather large online retailer that specialises in sending items all around the world to new owners. From somewhere like eBay.
So why is it that you almost never see a mechanic using eBay for spare parts?
It's really simple actually and, it's all got to do with low-quality (or fake) parts.
On the surface, eBay parts look like a really good deal. Brand new, genuine, in box, never opened and (most of all) cheap. However, like the old adage, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might be a hunter trying to convert innocent ducks into religious disciples (i.e. make them holey).
What's the problem with eBay parts?
For the most part, it's exactly what you would think it is. While there are some genuinely good resellers on there, there is also a significant number of people trying to sell second-rate or straight-up fake parts under the guise of genuine quality.
It's such a plight that many genuine manufacturers have posted notices about how to spot fakes in their dealership parts departments (trust us, it's nearly impossible).
How does this affect you?
It's twofold. First and foremost, these second-rate parts can (and very likely will) cause failures. Whether it's a suspension bush that lets go, a seal that leaks or a set of brake pads that delaminate and wear out incredibly quickly, parts that break mean that work needs to be done twice and secondary failures.
For example, if a fake oil filter is fitted to a car that restricts oil flow, it's not so much a question of if there's engine damage but how long until there is. On top of this, while most local resellers (i.e. Burson, Repco or AutoOne) have a robust warranty structure, eBay resellers basically owe you nothing.
Now, here is the part that most people don't think about (that's actually a lot more important), your health.
Though most people probably think that a brake pad is a brake pad (they're all basically the same as each other), you have to remember that it's not so long since brake pads were made using asbestos.
While Australian design and manufacturing laws have made this illegal now, it's still quite common in countries that don't have as high safety standards or that can bypass safety standards by paying for their local councilors' European holiday. Why do they still make these parts out of materials like asbestos? Because it's cheap to make.
So, when you look at it all. together, this whole eBay parts (or cheap parts) phenomenon just shows the basic truth in life, the poor man pays twice. Whether for vehicular failure or potential loss of health, if you're considering eBay for car parts, try not.
If you have any questions about this blog post, would like a second opinion from a mechanic or would like to find an honest mechanic in Brisbane, check out Kashy here.