Warranties Provide Peace Of Mind

The Locator

 Just like new OE parts, recycled auto parts come with a warranty. But that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when Bionic Auto Parts & Sales, Inc. in Chicago didn’t offer product warranties. But these days, warranties are an essential part of doing business for professional auto recyclers.

“We attended an industry seminar about warranties probably sometime in the early ‘90s,” remembered John Catalano Sr., co-owner of Bionic Auto Parts & Sales. “At the time, not many recyclers were offering warranties on used parts. We thought this could be a way to differentiate our business and increase sales. It sounded like something our customers might appreciate.”

The warranties did increase sales for the business. “It’s peace of mind for the customer that the part is going to be good. It definitely helps them make a decision to buy,” Catalano Sr. admitted.

Jim Hope agrees. As president and general manager of Stafford’s Auto Parts in Montgomery, Ill., Hope primarily sells to body shops. “The body shops know that they can count on our parts,” he said. “If the part fails after they install it, they’re covered with their customers because we’ll deliver another to them.”

Stafford’s offers a standard 120-day warranty on mechanical parts that automatically comes with the purchase. The business also offers a lifetime warranty against corrosion for its sheet metal. Customers also can purchase additional warranties. The most common is the one-year parts and labor also available for six months or three years.

“We give our guys a little flexibility,” Hope added. “If someone just wants a labor warranty, we can offer that, too.”

Bionic Auto Parts & Sales offers mechanical warranties on engines, transmissions, and all drive train parts, and a nocharge lifetime warranty against corrosion for body parts.

“We have two standard warranties for parts,” explained Catalano, “a 30-day parts warranty for retail customers and a 90-day parts warranty for shops. Customers also may purchase a six-month, 12-month or two-year warranty above and beyond the standard. We recommend the warranty at the time of sale; a lot of our customers don’t know about it.”

There’s been so much interest in warranties that Catalano is considering offering them at the self-service facility. “We’re finding people very interested in getting a warranty.” 

But warranties don’t cover everything. “We might warranty an engine, but if someone overheats it, the warranty won’t cover the replacement,” noted Catalano. “In other words, we don’t cover negligence.”

Bionic Auto Parts & Sales also doesn’t offer warranties for sheet metal. So if a door gets damaged in the accident, the company’s warranty will cover the inner mechanics, but not the outside metal. “We took that - and all body parts - off the list,” he said. “We found that if the car becomes involved in an accident and the sheet metal is damaged, we became involved in the insurance claim, which was very cumbersome.”

But Catalano rattled off the list of parts that are covered by warranty, everything from power steering pumps to radiators, electrical boxes, steering columns, heater controls, radios, and headlights.

Stafford’s Auto Parts & Recycling’s warranties a similar list, but doesn’t include headlights or taillights, which Hope said “are either good or not.” “The most common warranties we sell are on the bigger items, motors or transmissions,” he explained.

Customers either get a replacement part or a refund at Bionic Auto Parts & Sales, if they utilize their warranty. Catalano believes it helps ensure customer loyalty. “We’ve had issues where the mechanic screwed up the installation, but we paid the warranty anyway,” said Catalano. “That particular customer came back to us after that, and purchased another part and warranty.”

“It’s a win-win for recyclers and body shops,” he noted. “It keeps the customer coming back. The shops can even upsell the warranty if they want.”

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