The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 July 2007

The price is wrought

Or at least the person paying it will be put through the wringer.

After the World Tour, I noticed that the little red cap on top of the coolant reservoir (not the tank itself) had a crack in it. Oh, it screwed down tight enough, and I never lost any of the precious green fluid, but on the basis that "this can only get worse," I asked the parts guy if the cap could be ordered separately from the actual reservoir.

He looked, and discovered he had one in stock, and although it was yellow, it was still a perfect fit. (Apparently most Nissan-built vehicles use this same reservoir cap.) Having just had the oil changed, and noting that the oil filter cost somewhere in the single digits, I figured this little piece of threaded plastic couldn't be too awfully expensive.

In fact, it was $10.21. Plus tax.

Lesson learned: parts you never replace cost a heck of a lot more than parts you replace all the time. For comparison, I looked up the vacuum pump on the cruise control, something I've never heard of anyone having to replace, and it was upwards of four hundred bucks. After replacing the front catalytic converter on this wee beastie a mere 5000 miles after replacing the pre-cat, I looked rather forlorn, and asked if the rear cat was next. Said the service manager, he's never had to replace a rear cat. According to Alldata, the rear cat costs $684, a fair chunk more than its brother in front. What's more, aftermarket replacements — evidently someone has had to replace a rear cat — come in upwards of $500.

On the other hand, Mazda part prices, as I recall, were even stiffer than Nissan's, so maybe I shouldn't complain.

Posted at 9:27 AM to Driver's Seat

At this sort of juncture, I like to tell the story about how my Jeep lost the little plastic thingy that holds down the front seat mats. It's probably a 59-cent part that screws into the carpet and hooks an eyelet set into the aft part of the mat.

I took it back to the dealership. They ended up having to REPLACE THE ENTIRE CARPET IN THE PASSSENGER CABIN.

I leave the "why" as an exercise for the student.

As Jim Rohn says, "I'll ask you not to sign up for that class."


Posted by: Mark Alger at 11:40 AM on 27 July 2007

I'm a cheapskate.
I drive a 1992 Land-Rover discovery, and a 1962 Land-Rover Series II.
My first thought there would have been a breakers yard.... find a car which has been rear-ended and get the part for pennies.
I do buy parts from the main dealer sometimes, but over the years I've learned to cross reference. I acquired, by bribery, a Lucas catalogue (I'm in the U.K.) and yes, that lucas... Joseph Lucas, Prince of Darkness..
That book was worth its weight in gold. Say you want a screen-wiper motor for a classic Range Rover... The dealer part will be at Range Rover price, that is.... Very expensive. So lets look in mister lucas' book.... oh yes
Same motor is in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow... We won't even ask the price... Oh. And a Leyland Sherpa van... And yes. The Sherpa van part was less than half the price of the Range Rover one.
Despite it carrying the same Lucas part number.

Posted by: soubriquet at 3:26 PM on 27 July 2007

I shudder to think what you'd have to pay a Rolls-Royce dealer for this thing.

(A new wiper motor from Infiniti, says the manual, is $294; aftermarket rebuilt motors run $80ish, less a credit for your old one.)

Posted by: CGHill at 3:41 PM on 27 July 2007