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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Buying Car Parts in Mexico.

As I previously mentioned, try to buy a North American car in Mexico (like Chevrolet/GM, Ford/Lincoln, Dodge/Chrysler, and specific to Mexico Volkswagen and Seat); and if you can find one in the 1990's to early 2000's, you will find relatively cheap parts for them almost anywhere.  Cuernavaca has a population in the city of almost 350,000, and it is loaded with car parts stores.

We have already found our favorite parts stores, and the prices are relatively similar from store to store.  What you need are the parts stores that sell GENUINE manufacturers parts.  You have to have a sharp eye to find these stores.  They usually have a tiny storefront, with a large storage area in back.  You can identify them by the signage located somewhere on the front of the store, and you will see words like Motorcraft for Ford, Mopar for Dodge, and OEM for GM/Chevrolet.  Also, of course, you can look for the symbols for the Manufactures name or symbol.

You would think that spotting these stores would be easy, but if you know Mexico at all, there are thousands of stores situated side by side on busy streets, and every business has about a hundred signs on their storefronts.  With crazy traffic thrown in, it's a little like finding a needle in a haystack.  That is why, when you find a good supplier for the make of your car, pray he stays in business at his current location for years to come.

Once you have your parts to repair your vehicle, hopefully you can drive it safely to the repair shop.  DO NOT take your vehicle to the dealership or you will have to mortgage your house back home to pay for the repairs.  For example, we have found a mechanic that does general car maintenance and repair.  I have left my car with him for some fairly major repairs, and the parts that I have not pre-purchased, he will order himself.  Many times my vehicle has been there all day, and my bill for labour was less than 500 pesos (about 40 Cdn).  He not only does excellent work, he is cheap and his work is guaranteed.

This is just the engine/automobile mechanic.  In Mexico you also need an Electrical Mechanic to do the repairs to your car's entire electrical system;  a Front-End Mechanic to do the repairs on your suspension (our's also does work on automatic transmissions);  a Radiator Mechanic for the obvious;  and an Electronics Mechanic for repairing your car's internal memory system.  Thank god my landlord in Mexico shares his mechanics with me.  Trying to find them myself would be next to impossible.  There are many of these mechanics out there, but many of them are as shady as the dealerships.

It is always best to contact your mechanic a few days ahead to organize an appointment, and on appointment day, arrive right at their opening time.  If you don't arrive first, even with an appointment, you may not get in before others.  Many times we have arrived early at the business, left the car and walked to breakfast (our favorite toquito restaurant is nearby) and then take the bus home.  Many of our mechanics are in the North part of the city, and we live in the South, but the bus only costs about 6 or 7 pesos each way.

Anyway if you move to Mexico and buy an old car (and get your Drivers Licence), I hope this helps.