Repairs

Where to source or buy auto parts from?

Ok now that you have identified that you need a new alternator or starter motor  or a steering rack , where do you source it from ?  Here are the sources listed in order of decreasing cost except the authorised dealers.

Avoid common auto repair shop scams

Before you read this topic make sure to read the introduction here. If you have lived in the US , I can guarantee that you would been an "upsell" victim. Basically you ended up purchasing a service or product you really really didn't need. The same strategy applies in repair shops too , in a "forced" manner.

Best Practices dealing with Repair Shops

Best Practices -

1.) Call multiple repair shops for quotes. (Atleast 2-3 shops)

2.) Call a dealer for Quotes

3.) Ask for the split bill - part and labor

Auto Repair Shops - Introduction

In the US , the word 'Repair' in Auto Repair shop is a big misnomer. They should be more correctly called 'Auto Part Replacement Shop'.  There is no repair involved in the shop what so ever. They are all in a frenzy to change out what ever part comes close to your issue at hand. This applies to both Dealers and the franchise repair stores. Some local, independent and specialized repair shops are an exception to this.

Changing Serpentine or Accesssory Belts

This belts drive connect the main engine rotor to other parts that need the rotational power - like the water pump,Alternator, Power Steering Pump, Air Condition Compressor and the FAN that cools the radiator. It varies from car to car and all cars will have some form of belt driving a bunch of  "accessories". Most of the serpentine-belt installations use a spring-loaded tensioning pulley that maintains a constant load(or tension) on the belt, eliminating the need to adjust the tension.

Coolant leaks - Replacing Radiator Hoses and Engine Thermostat

About the thermostat.

Alternator / Generator Symptoms and Replacement

An alternator is the device that spins and generates current that is used to charge your battery.  It also provides power to run your lights and other electric accessories on your car while it is running. There is electronics to monitor and control the charging process. The Red Battery light on your dash board comes from this circuit and tells if you there is a malfunction of the charging circuit. Sometimes the light will not show all malfunctions.

Starter Motor Symptoms and Replacement

 Diagnosis :- These are the symptoms to look for, for a problem with the Starter Motor On turning the key in the ignition :

     1.) there is a light click sound from the Relay.

     2.) there is a light click sound from the Starter Motor itself

Transmission Replacement Notes

The basic philosophy here is just like a the engine replace. Transmissions are assumed to be good for the 'life time' of the vehicle and are basically maintenance free for the most part if the transmission fluid flush is performed at suggested intervals.

Note - Transmission Fluid Flush also consists of replacing the Transmission Oil filter. Some times you may end up with bad transmission for several reasons :-

Engine Replacement

If you have a damaged engine , for most cases it makes cost sense to replace than do a rebuild. You can buy either buy used or rebuild engines. Going with used engines makes a lot of sense cost wise if you are able to find a used engine between  50 to 80K miles or lower. If you are doing the replacement yourself you might need to rent or buy an engine hoist. You might also consider more budget for the following additional needs :

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