Second-hand car parts: very few repairers play the game

Few repairers spontaneously offer a reused or second-hand part – Philippe Huguen/AFP

Car repairers wouldn’t really play the second-hand spare part game, according to a survey published by the magazine 60 Million Consumers.

A measure that is both economical and ecological

This measure was put in place in 2017 to stimulate the use of certified or reconditioned used parts (a refurbished used part) but it actually came into effect this year.Objective? To promote the circular economy by fighting waste, reducing the cost of these parts to consumers in the process.

However, last October, an association working on behalf of insurers (who of course also stand to gain from a drop in the price of repairs) reported a 6.3% increase in the average price of spare parts over the last twelve months.

60 million consumers had already taken an interest in this subject in 2017 and notes that there has been no real progress since then.

Very significant differences in rates

For this 2019 version, and by contacting more than 300 professionals (dealers, brand agents, garages and body shops, independent or not) for “basic” repairs to be carried out on popular models, the proposal of a re-use part is obviously still not a reflex.

70% of garages spontaneously proposed this solution for a Renault Clio III alternator, but 68% directed the customer towards a “standard exchange”, i.e. a reconditioned part and therefore more expensive than a purely second-hand part (whose reliability is nevertheless checked before being reused), proposed by only 2% of repairers.

The used alternator for the Clio saves an average of $161 compared with a reconditioned part, compared with a saving of only $50 without a new part ($532 on average for a new alternator, compared with $485 for a “standard exchange”).

On the other mystery shopper tests, the rate of refusal by garages to offer a second-hand part is much higher. For a Peugeot 207 right headlamp and a VW Golf V left rear-view mirror, almost two-thirds of repairers only offer new parts. The difference in price is not negligible, however, from simple to double for the 207 headlamp (372 euros for new, 155 euros for second-hand).

If you take the total bill from the garage, including parts, labour and paint, the difference in the price of a golf mirror is obvious: 406 euros for a new one compared to 182 euros for a used one.

Progress to be made

With such a saving, one may therefore wonder why the rate of proposals for these much cheaper parts is so low.

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