Checklist for your van’s d-i-y spare part

Following WhatCar’s assessment of the EU legislation shift that now means you can lawfully purchase similar spare parts to the manufacturer’s exact component but remain within your warranty and van insurance policy, they followed up with a list of ten top tips you can take to the market.

If you are confident that you are mechanically savvy enough to self-source a similar approved part, here are a few helpful guidelines to ensure that you have a) a part that does the job it’s supposed to and b) should help you reduce your van insurance quotes, if you tell your broker that in the event of a claim, you won’t be waiting days for components as they do not have to source the exact manufacturer’s spare part for you:
1. Mechanics and garages spend a lot more time sourcing spare parts than you do; talk to them first to save time and possibly even more money, levering their extra discounts
2. The change in legislation does not mean you can fit any old nut, bolt or gasket from your DIY store – do purchase your part through a reputable outfit, if not entrusting your garage
3. Just because it’s not the exact component doesn’t mean you can forego warranties or returns policies for your similar part; proof of cover may enhance any later van insurance claim
4. In order for your chosen outlet to be sure they’re sourcing the right part for you, take in your registration or vehicle identification number; the spare part can then be confirmed on the van’s original specification if there are doubts
5. Reputable garages will only make replacements with ‘fit-for-purpose’ parts, to maintain their own reputation as well as your safety and to save any backlash if you find that an inferior component invalidates your van insurance; if you’ve purchased the part yourself, it is worth getting them to corroborate the part’s quality
6. The warranty may state that you can have your spare part fitted by non-authorised dealerships, but any old Joe may not cut the mustard; to keep your warranty valid, have a reputable mechanic fit your part so you can have a receipt for your van insurance broker
7. You may think you’ve got a bargain, but there’s cheap and there’s cheap; if you think the cost is suspiciously low, ask for a copy of its test certification
8. In order to keep your service history up-to-date, and to maintain your warranty, cover and MOT validity, keep your receipts attached to your van’s service record
9. Buying on the internet can be fraught and it is unlikely that the online retailer is local; do check for reviews of the supplier before committing to buying your spare part on the web.
10. It your online merchant looks respectable, do insist that the garage that eventually fits your spare part checks its validity and fitness for purpose before risking your van, cover and livelihood.

Given this plethora of information many commercial vehicle owners may think it safer to stick with authorised dealerships and that safety comes before cost. The last thing any business needs in these difficult times is to be proved liable due to inferior fitted replacements parts that render any van insurance policy invalid.

There are savings to be had, but make sure you’re covered before taking the repair on yourself.

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