Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Jed asks: I had a little accident and cracked up one of the outside mirrors on my 2015 Lexus RX350. The full Lexus price for the mirror is $825 (it has blind spot warning), but some online sellers offer it for about $580-600 for supposedly genuine Lexus parts which is a hefty discount. Have you had any experience buying genuine parts from other than a dealer? Two of the sites I found are AcuraPartsClub.com and LexusPartsNow.com.
Thanks in advice for any advice!
My reply: As is true of most things in life, due diligence is the thing. It is possible to find “genuine” Lexus parts online for less than a dealer might charge for them because a dealer might mark them up more. But be sure they are in fact “genuine” and not “equivalent replacement” parts – not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with those, either. One can find replacement parts with OEM levels of fit and finish, etc. online that are much less expensive than the factory parts but you are always taking a gamble they might not be exactly the same.
Whereas if you bought the factory replacement part over the counter you know you’ll have a factory-replacement part that will fit exactly and look exactly right.
So, check the reputation of the seller and establish whether he (or the company) offers a guaranteed return policy if the part you order turns out to be not-quite-right.
I’d also consider calling around to local wrecking yards. They have parts locators and my bet is you will be able to find a good-as-new factory mirror for your Lexus for much less than either over-the-counter or online.
Keep us posted!
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The junkyard is the winner,by far!! Few years back, babysitter leaked out coolant and burned up her motor in 2004 mercury sable. Shop said $1400 to start repairs and would be going up, depending on replacing heads and whatever else needed. Debated helping her buy another car, but expense for a reliable car would have been in a $3 or 4K, or much higher. Pretty high for limited income retiree. Quick phone/internet searches and i found a local junkyard had an entire replacement engine for $75!!!! Delivered to repair shop!!! Even the shop was shocked at how cheap it was. Wound up have $875 total to buy and remove/replace engine, including fluids etc. And it was done right with no further complications. God bless junkyards!!
Hi Saxon’s –
Yup. If you’re lucky and handy you can fix a car for a fraction of what it would cost to have a shop do it. I’m lucky because I live in the country and there are two large salvage yards within a short drive of my place. They have or can get practically anything and the cost is usually very happy. As an example, I got a replacement fender for my girlfriend’s car for $40; it was even the same color so not necessary to spray to match.
I used to love rooting around the pick-your-part places, but those are getting harder to find.
Here in Australia, I go to my local wrecker for GM parts, He also sells new parts for less than the new price at other parts dealers. He also knows where I can get parts he doesn’t have or other parts like seals that GM no longer stock.