Used van parts for DIY repairs

Used Van Parts

Most businesses in the UK are not multi-nationals or big names – the most numerous are the small businesses employing under 10 people. Allied with this is the army of single, self employed tradesmen. A common denominator for this multitude of artisans is their vehicle of choice: The works van. It is the means of transport, the tools and materials vault, mobile office, and canteen! If the van is off the road then so too is the business, and down time is lost money. It is not always practical or economic to get the works van booked in for a repair. How long do you wait? Can you afford to hire a replacement? Can the business stand the cost of a visit to a main dealer for van parts? Getting the van back on the road as quickly and cost effiiciently is, perhaps, a given: but, is it? Peoples’ actions can be a little economically irrational.
Here is a case in point. A self emplyed tradesman gets his van back home. The engine bay is smoking, and the chap has identified that the alternator has failed. A bearing is most likely at fault. He has a friend who is a mechanic. The friend can have a look at the situation after work. The friend agrees with the diagnosis and will get a repalcement alternator. The thing is as it is after 5 o’clock the parts shop will not be open when he gets there. So he gets the replacement part after finishing work the next day. The alternator is not easy to get at in a Citroen Relay van. After a skinned knuckle and a few choice words the new part can be offered up. It is not the correct alternator for this model and year. Another trip to the parts dealer is required. The new replacement part is fitted the following day [once the friend has got to the parts dealer after work again]. Job done and the van is back on the road. The thing is the job could have been done more quickly, more cheaply, and with less travel.

Cheap Van Spares

The new alternator cost over £250, there were two trips to the parts dealer [over 40 miles in total], and two days lost work. I asked the mechanic why he hadn’t gone online and sought a replacement alternator from a breaker? He said that he couldn’t trust the quality. Fair enough in some respects but I don’t think that the comment was based on experience. The parts come with guarantees these days and breakers tend to be rated by users. I think that it was just habit that gave a fairly reliable, if slightly slow and costly, repair.
Consider some of the advantages of ordering a used part online:

  • No need to travel to and from a dealer. The part will be delivered to you.
  • When you type in your registration into the find a part service the system will identify the make, model, trim, engine type, and year of manufacture of the van.
  • You can upload an image of the replacement part so the supplier can double check the part’s suitability.
  • The used van part will be cheaper, much cheaper in most cases.
  • The part will most likely be with you the next day.

The job should be cheaper, quicker, and with no travelling costs. If you have a smart phone you can do the ordering online whilst examing the van [and take an image and upload that with the request too]. Is it really economical paying top dollar for a new part for a 6 year old van. Probably not.
Searching up to 270 breakers yards from your home computer or smart phone could have saved time and money in getting the the van back on the road. What was ironic was that the tradesman had used an online service to get repalcement wheels and tyres for his previous van. He had been astonished at the quality and speed of delivery for the price he had paid. Go figure!