One of the biggest challenges in the auto repair business is getting our hands on good quality parts.
It’s getting more difficult these days and can even be downright dangerous.
Cheap car parts, often from China, have flooded the U.S. market in the past 15 years and the quality is hit-or-miss.
“Every time I work on a car, the easy to find part is a Chinese part” said Brayan Salazar – Owner of Bridgewater Motorworks in Bridgewater, NJ with over 20 year experience in the car repair field. “The quality part is more expensive and I usually have to wait longer to get it.”
The cheap parts in the auto repair industry are commonly called “white box” parts. They are usually made in China and are less expensive for a reason,
We have found the parts will not last as long causing early repair failure. Motorworks offers a 3 year /36,000 mile warranty. Brayan stated, “The only way I can give a good service, a great warranty and not have premature repair failure, is to use good quality parts.”
Good parts sometimes are hard to find. We recently have found quality brands of parts that have cheap parts inserted into the quality brand shipping boxes.
We often hear from customers. Quality parts are too expensive. I can go on the internet and get it cheaper. The customer is correct, but what we have found is wrong parts being sold, a wait time for shipping, computer says it’s an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer ) part and ends up not the case and when the part is wrong or goes bad it is almost impossible to return or warranty.
Due to the influx of cheap parts on the automotive market. Many repair shops including Motorworks will not install customer supplied parts. We often find the wrong parts ordered, extremely cheap parts and we can’t warranty the repair. It never fails that a customer supplied part fails and the shop that installed is blamed for the failure. Customer supplied parts make quality customer service impossible to achieve.
Look at online review sites such as Yelp and www.consumeraffairs.com and you’ll find dozens of customers citing faulty car parts manufactured by Chinese companies that stranded people on highways, led to accidents and near-accidents.
I recently spoke to a shop that he went through eight alternators for one particular car at a national car parts chain before finding one that worked.
As if it wasn’t difficult enough to tell the difference between good and poor quality car parts, there is a recent rise in counterfeit car parts. Many of these parts are available on sites like eBay is further complicating things.
Counterfeit parts often look like one that bears the trademark of a legitimate and trusted brand, but was produced by another party and is usually not made to the specifications of the original equipment manufacturer.
These parts “represent a grave threat to public safety,” according to the Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission places the value of the counterfeit car-parts sector at $12 billion a year.
A seemingly endless string of prosecutions on counterfeit parts includes two Washington state cases from 2013, involving the online sale of counterfeit airbags from sources in China. It’s a product the center considers potentially extremely harmful.
“Some of the most dangerous counterfeit products involve the explosive elements of air bags that can literally explode in the victim’s face during an accident,” the center states on its website.
Tires, brake hoses and brake fluid are among 13 items of motor-vehicle equipment for which the federal government enforces minimum safety performance requirements. Certification of compliance is shown by the symbol DOT, for Department of Transportation, on the outside of the part’s box or container.
Brake pads are not on the list. The only requirement the government has on brake pads is the amount of metal in them, because the government has determined that the dusting from brake pads that contain a non-ferrous metal, such as brass or bronze, gets into storm water runoff and negatively affects fish.
So now they’ve got certifications for the brake pads being eco-friendly but not for being DOT approved. So that’s more important now, is the eco thing, than actually being government approved to stop your vehicle.
Customers want cheaper parts because they don’t want to spend money on car repairs, Brakes are the most important item on a car and everybody handles them like such a trivial thing — oh, it’s just brake pads, right? No big deal.
“Well, there’s a huge difference between a $20 brake pad and a $60 brake pad.” Says Brayan Salazar
He advises customers to go with original equipment manufacturer brake pads — usually made by the original supplier though often also in China — rather than the cheaper aftermarket, or generic, brake pads.
That’s where you should not compromise, is on tires and brakes
Have any questions, please feel free to call or contact Bridgewater Motorworks at 908.218.9100 or bwmotorworks.com
driving along and it happens, your check engine light goes on. But
nothing seems to have changed with the way your car is running. It’s OK
to let it go for a bit, right? Bad idea. The light is an indicator that
there’s something wrong with your vehicle. It could mean anything from
a loose gas cap to major engine problems.
“A check engine light cannot be ignored,” says Brayan Salazar, an auto repair expert with Bridgewater Motroworks. “The system is telling you that something has failed and will cause damage to your vehicle that will be costly to repair if ignored. ”
Ignoring your check engine light could result in immediate car problems or deterioration over time. These codes are annoying, but they can be serious enough to leave you on the side of the road.
You may not be seeing any immediate issues with your car, because your car’s computer systems may have the ability to override the cause, Salazar says. “ But it’s not running as well as it should be. Over time and distance, this problem can become a much bigger problem and affect other sensors and systems,”
Continuing to ignore an activated check engine light can also hide other issues, he notes. Because one light indicates so many different possible failures, other items can fail and be hidden behind the first failure. That can become an issue when the vehicle is looked at to fix the problem.The mechanic may get a list of codes telling them what systems or sensors have an issue, Salazar says. There’s a specific order of diagnosis, because one sensor or system failure can cause another to system to fail. “The tech needs to fix one item first, then diagnose the vehicle to see if the other issues were fixed,” he says. To avoid that and keep your vehicle in the best shape possible.
So why did your check engine light go on in the first place? Here are some common reasons::
best thing to do is to get your car looked at by a reputable mechanic.
We do do not recommend stopping by your parts store and getting a free
code scan. They commonly use a very cheap and simple scan tool that can
only scan for simple codes and will give you a false sense of
satisfaction. What ever you do ! Do not clear the codes. This can make
it more expensive to get the car repaired properly. This in the long run
can cost you much, much more to get the problem fixed correctly. We see
this all the time. There is a reason that professional code scanners
are very expensive and hand scanners are so cheap. I hope this
gives you and idea about check engine lights. If you have any questions,
please do not hesitate to call us at Bridgewater Motorworks at
908.218.9100 or bwmotorworks.com
Remember to remove all ice and snow from your vehicle before driving, especially from the hood, windows and roof. It’s the law in New Jersey! Motorists who fail to do so face fines of $25 to $75 for each offense, regardless of whether the ice and snow is dislodged from the vehicle. If flying ice or snow causes property damage or injury to others, motorists face fines of $200 to $1,000 for each offense. There are approximately 500 fatalities in the United States per year due to icy road conditions.
Have You Ever Found Water On The Floor Of Your Car After A Rain ? Your Car May Need It’s Gutters Cleaned
Last week, I discovered a large amount of water was lying in the foot wells of my car. What a mess ! There were no obvious problems like a leaking radiator. I discovered it was a blocked scuttle, or windscreen, drain. Scuttles on a car act the same way as gutters on a house. If the scuttle drains block the water can backup and enter the cars interior through the air intakes. It took a along time to get the car dry again as the sound proofing material used under the carpet can absorb a lot of water and is hard to dry. Therefore it is essential to keep these drains running freely because they are rarely checked or cleaned as part of regular car service.
What is a scuttle drain? A scuttle drain is used to divert any water which falls on your car windscreen to the ground, without coming into contact with your engine or exposed metal. When water falls onto a car windscreen it runs down the face of the glass and is diverted though drainage holes onto a covered collector gutter below. The water drains through holes on either side of this gutter and is then diverted through rubber scuttle drainage pipes which direct the water onto the ground below the car without any splashing onto engine parts, metal or wires. There are usually two, on either side of the car’s windshield.
How do they get blocked? The dirt and leaves that fall onto the windshield can block the drains. Like most people I had never had mine cleaned and it took a few years for them to become blocked. If the car is parked under trees. There is a higher chance that these drains would clog.
How can they be cleaned? The drains are located in a difficult to access area at the back of the engine compartment. The plastic panel at the base of the windscreen usually has to be removed to access the top of the drains. The drains can then be cleaned out using a flexible wire, high pressure air and flushed with water. I would ask your mechanic to do it during the next service. As a precaution the car owner should remove any visible leaves and dirt on a daily basis from the base of the windscreen before it is washed into the gutter below.
Bridgewater Motorworks can help with this just ask our service professional to check the water drains for the windshield, sunroof and doors. Any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (908) 218-9100