The Do It Yourself (DIY) market is a growing market that is changing
the automotive parts industry and the way we do business. As consumers
continue to educate themselves about automotive repair, women particularly,
we will continue to work harder to facilitate the process of educating
these customers about the products they are buying .
DIY can achieve significant cost savings
through our retail program, especially if they take the time up front
to diagnose the problems they are experiencing and install quality replacement
parts from the beginning. There are always cheaper parts available in
the aftermarket through discount chains or through knock off brands (when
comparing prices, always compare brand to brand, not part type to part
type), but remember that you truly get what you pay for. One of the advantages
installers have in the marketplace is that they know which types of products
that you can get lower-priced parts on:
Brake pads / shoes—cheaper brake pads are generally louder and reduce braking power (increase
the distance to bring car to a stop)
Brake rotors / drums—economy (white box) brand is very effective,
although parts are manufactured in China versus the US or Canada, the
engineering specifications match the premium brands. The price of the
white box drums and rotors has gotten so low that we usually recommend
replacing worn drums and rotors versus having them turned.
Brake hoses—economy priced brands are acceptable as we have not found discernable differences in the composition of rubber material.
Brake wheel cylinders / master cylinders—new wheel cylinders and master cylinders are comparable in quality to the premium line. A great deal of manufacturers have already switched their manufacturing of their premium lines offshore to keep prices competitive. However, we do not recommend using rebuilt master cylinders unless a new one is not available. Although the cost differential is often significant, we have had a number of comebacks on factory rebuilt master cylinders as we have observed several issues where the units were rebuilt even though the cylinder walls were pitted, which will result in master cylinder failure every time.
Air and oil filters—we have several repair shops that swear
there is not a difference, especially for the price, but a majority of
our customers still prefer the Wix and Hastings filters. Filters, like
spark plugs, are something most people use their whole life.
Spark plugs—we recommend using the good stuff (Champion,
Autolite, AC Delco, Motorcraft or NGK). Spark plugs are crucial to engine
performance. You pay a little more upfront, but you get more engine performance
and efficiency in the end.
At Reman Brakes, we fashion ourselves to the Home Depots and Lowes of the world. Although a large volume of our business is driven by contractors (repair shops), we still believe the DIY market is crucial to our sustainability and a market that values our industry knowledge, ability to offer turn key solutions, great product selection, as well as low prices. We value the experience of being able to walk through diagnostics with DIY and explain industry secrets, information repair shops receive through our instruction seminars, and why it is cheaper to replace defective parts with quality parts the first time around.