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5 parts you should never ‘go cheap’ on

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Updated 12 Mar 2021

Jason Unrau

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No one likes to pay for car repairs. Whether for maintenance or to correct a symptom, it doesn’t have the same glamour as buying a new car.

However, while car repairs and services are necessary when you’re a car owner, you can try to get a grip on the costs.

For most services and repairs, there are different grades of parts available from OEM replacement to premium aftermarket to economy or ‘white box’ components.

For some things, the lower priced parts will do just fine. But for other repairs, there are parts you simply don’t want to go cheap on.

Brake Pads

Want to know that your car is going to stop when you hit the pedal?

When you’ve just had the brake pads replaced, you shouldn’t need to question it at all.

But if you cheap out on brake pads, you might not have as much confidence as you should.

Cheap brake pads often squeal more and produce more brake dust.

While that’s unpleasant, the white box brake pads aren’t manufactured to the highest standard.

They can wear out prematurely or delaminate – that’s where the friction material separates from the backing plate and falls away.

Surprise, no brakes!

Power steering hoses

Power steering uses hydraulic pressure to make cornering and steering easy at all speeds.

Power steering hoses are the most common parts in that system that need replacement.

High-grade hoses are reinforced and can last for years upon years.

Low-quality hoses could bulge and burst, leaving you with no power steering while you’re driving, and that’s just dangerous!

Tie Rod Ends

Connecting your steering system to your wheels are tie rod ends.

These small ball joint-style links can last 100,000 km in some circumstances before needing to be changed.

If you use top-quality or OEM replacement components for your new tie rods, you can get another 100,000 km out of them.

If you use cheap economy parts, it could be under a year before you need new ones.

Serpentine Belts

It’s amazing how long a serpentine belt lasts considering how many revolutions it does every hour, week, or month it’s in use!

After a few years, it’s going to weather, crack, or degrade in some way and need to be changed.

Don’t skimp on new belts – they stretch or might not be cut completely straight.

They’re also susceptible to breaking prematurely, leaving you without power steering, air conditioning, and other belt-related functions.

Powertrain Parts

When it comes to engine, transmission or axle-related repairs, you should never go cheap.

When you’re replacing important parts, whether pistons, seals, valves, gaskets, bearings, or anything else, you’re counting on it to be dependable for the foreseeable future.

Cheap parts can’t be relied on. Even if the economy part that fails is inexpensive, it can take out other more costly parts in the process.

As well, it’s going to rack up the labour costs quickly, and that’s often more than the parts themselves.

You will need a technician to fit your quality parts, at AutoGuru you can book a quality mechanic to complete the job.

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Written By

Jason Unrau

Jason is a Canadian automotive content writer with a background in the auto service industry, but he’s been hooked on cars and mechanics since childhood.

One of his first cars was an ’80 Mazda RX-7 that’s sorely missed to this day. A ’68 Ford Torino GT, a ’66 Ford Country Squire Woodie station wagon, and a ’96 Suzuki GSX-R 750 have spent time in his fleet of cars, bikes, and trucks over the past two decades.

Jason’s pride and joy is under construction – a turbocharged ’88 Mazda RX-7 convertible. Also on his resume is CASCAR official certification.