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The Times
  • Talking Cars: Where to buy car parts

  • My friends and I do a lot of our own work on weekends and always argue on where to buy the parts. I always recommend buying the parts at the dealer, and he always wants to go to the big box auto stores. I have heard that the parts at the big auto stores are not as good as the dealer parts and they are a lot less money. What are your thoughts?

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  • QUESTION: My friends and I do a lot of our own work on weekends and always argue on where to buy the parts. I always recommend buying the parts at the dealer, and he always wants to go to the big-box auto stores. I have heard that the parts at the big auto stores are not as good as the dealer parts and they are a lot less money. What are your thoughts?
    ANSWER: Great question, and the answer is twofold. If you are buying name-brand parts such as A/C, Fram, Delco, Autolite, Dayco or any other popular brand, you’re OK. I would not suggest buying cheap parts such as brakes and exhaust. The cleaning products are name brand good. The lifetime warranty is another plus for the store name brands. If you do buy the store brand make sure it is the top-quality product.
     
    QUESTION: I own a 2001 Mercedes S430 and the front air suspension has failed. I went to the dealer and they said that the front air struts cost $1,400 each. They also said the rear air struts are not far behind. With labor the cost of the front air strut replacement is $3,200. They said there are no other choices. I drove the car back home because I do not have the $3,200. Do you have any ideas on how I can get the front suspension repaired for any less?
    ANSWER: You are not alone when it comes to expensive air suspension repairs. We use a company called Strutmasters for all our air suspension repairs and conversions from air to conventional strut/coil spring replacement. I can tell you this is what I would do on your car: the total cost of all four conversion struts installed would average $2,200 total price and you would never have to worry about the suspension again. I have also converted many Range Rovers, Lincolns and Navigators.
     
    QUESTION: I am interested in the 2012 Dodge Journey with all wheel drive and would like your comments on the vehicle.
    ANSWER: I spent a week in 3.6 liter V-6 all wheel drive and I was surprised on the entire package. Our test car had a few options including heated leather front seats ($500), navigation and sound upgrade 8.4-inch touch screen ($700), EPA 16 city, 24 highway, and that’s the numbers I got MSRP as tested. It was $32,520, which is not bad for a loaded SUV. The ride was smooth, and there was no over bump suspension and plenty of power from the V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission.
     
    Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.

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