Wednesday, November 14Serving the aftermarket

Co-operation is key, first hand experience

Last week I ran into a problem. My car failed its MOT on a rather big issue – it didn’t have a catalytic converter fitted.

I know straight away what you’re thinking, and yes I did check – turns out what looked like the cat was just a fake box around a de-cat pipe, and the previous owner failed to mention this fact. Anyway, as we all know, that’s illegal and not the kind of thing I like, plus needing an MOT, I had to think money.

However, the garage I went to, which I’ve been to a lot since I moved to my area, only deals with OE exhaust parts, as they don’t have the equipment to customise. No worries, I worked with them, they suggested I see about buying a third-party cat and they would fit. They even found a part number for me. It turned up, I went down there, thinking ‘great, job done’.

No

As well as a de-cat, I also had a stainless manifold fitted, which meant the flex-pipe was further forward than it needed to be. Again, the issue was that the garages would need OE parts to return it to standard. Quote? £1,700…

But, the technician recommended a custom exhaust specialist he’d been to for his car, about nine-miles away. One call and I was booked in for a look, and two days later, with the cat, I headed to see them. A look turned into the job and an hour later, with a receipt for £85, I had a catalytic convertor on my car again. Then, I booked into the original garage for the driveshaft to be replaced and the re-MOT. That went without a hitch, and the car is back on the road.

I know there’s a debate about fitting customer supplied parts, but the garage worked with me on this, the story is one of cooperation. Working together we achieved the best result, a garage was recommended and I went back for the completion of the work. I know it’s teaching your grandmother to suck eggs when I say that garages should help each other with their specialist areas, but it doesn’t just save money for a customer, it fosters trust.

And next time I buy a car, I’ll be doing a more thorough check of the exhaust system!

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