Buyer beware

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What Car? Staff
18 November 2011

Buyer beware

Always source parts from reputable sources, such as your local car parts retailer. Chains such as Halfords and A1 Motor Stores are good bets.

Speak to your garage before you check out other sources; theyll be able to find you a good price and confirm which parts will fit without invalidating your warranty.

Have your registration number or, even better, the Vehicle Identification Number to hand. You can usually find this on the dashboard below the windscreen or on the drivers side door pillar.

Ask your dealer or garage to check the parts quality and authenticity for you before its fitted. Good gar/ages wont install substandard parts to your car.

Get a trusted dealer or garage to fit the parts. Doing it yourself for anything but wipers or bulbs isnt recommended, and could invalidate your warranty.

Be wary about very cheap parts. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is. Do your research carefully and ask to see the parts original-equipment quality certification.

Keep all receipts and, to keep your warranty protected, ask your garage to itemise on the service record any parts fitted to your car.

Check that the company youre buying from gives you a warranty on the parts, and always read the terms and conditions, particularly of the returns policy.

When buying online, be cautious about who youre dealing with. Sites such as Ebay can be great for deals, but theyre also good hunting grounds for more unscrupulous sellers.

If you do buy online, check the box for signs of tampering and look for clues to the parts authenticity, such as spelling mistakes on the packaging.