Auto parts. Something we really don't think much about. We buy our nice shiny new Honda or Jeep or Lexus or whatever and pray that it runs forever with no problems. And then if there is a problem we hope that the repair isn't too expensive and that the parts can be found with relative ease.
Welcome to the REAL world.
Auto parts sales is one of the largest industries in the world. Makes sense since almost everyone in the world has an automobile except maybe in underdeveloped countries. Some auto parts wear out rather quickly such as oil filters. Some last a little longer like brake shoes and pads. And then you have parts that thank goodness don't wear out very often at all like transmissions or cars would be impossible to maintain cost wise.
But there is more to an auto part than just the part itself. The make and model and year of your car will have a great impact on how much the part will cost to replace and how easy the part is to get.
Let us start with ease of obtaining. Obviously newer car parts will be easier to get than older ones. A friend of mine still has a 1975 Pontiac Lemans. To obtain parts for this car he has to literally go to junk yards and even online. No new car dealers keep parts beyond 10 years or so and even auto parts stores limit their inventory to cars under 20 years. A 30 year old vehicle is almost impossible to find parts for. Plus, if you can find the part, depending on where you get it, the cost could be anywhere from 20 to 100% over the original part cost. To say that late model car owners are taken advantage of would be a gross understatement.
But ease of obtaining is not just limited to the age of the car. Vehicles with a limited production are also hard to get parts for, especially if the vehicle is not a big seller. The reason for this is again obvious. Keeping inventory that is not going to be sold is expensive. So auto parts dealers keep limited supplies for these vehicles.
As for the price of auto parts, aside from the age of the vehicle there is the make and model. In this case foreign car parts are much more expensive than domestically made cars. Most people who buy foreign cars don't realize this or even think about it until it comes time to get their vehicle repaired. Then they get hit with the bill and their eyes pop out of their head. For example, an oil filer for a 2005 Buick Century is about $2.98. The same oil filter for a Honda CRV is $3.98. It's basically the same filter for the Honda but it costs $1.00 more. That comes out to a 33% markup on a relatively cheap part. Imagine that same 33% markup on a part that costs $60 for the Buick. You'd be paying about $80 for the same part for the Honda.
The best way to get the best price for auto parts is to shop around. Look on the Internet. Go to auto parts auctions. Go to junk yards, though you don't want a used part for something critical like an engine. Some things like door handles and non functional items like those are fine. Most likely they won't go bad for a while. But for items that keep your car running, if you can afford it, it is best to get new.
Auto parts is big business. Just don't get caught up in the money pit it can land you in.