Zen And The Art Of Replacement Parts

latch.jpgOn the right there, you’re looking at the broken, 8-year-old latch that secures one of the 8-year-old pop-out side windows of my 8-year-old truck. In opening the window yesterday the part of the plastic latch that’s attached to a bolt through the glass snapped leaving the window flapping back and forth freely, like a loose shutter in a storm.

With the potential of rain in the forecast this evening and the fact that I hate a hatch left unbattened, I made a pre-work beeline from my polling place this morning over to the Nissan dealership in Glendale where I dismantled the latch and brought it inside to the parts department — but not before examining its sister latch on the other window only to find it too was cracked and no doubt waiting to fall apart the very next time I dared open it. Setting the latch on the counter I advised the attending clerk to “make mine a double” and after his eyes went wide, I attempted to mitigate the impending sticker shock with “I know… they’re probably $30 bucks a piece” while desperately hoping they wouldn’t be. After prolonging the agony with a slow search through the online parts catalog, he let me know with an entirely straight face that they would be $59.95.

“Oh, so I was right?” I asked. “No,” he replied, his face getting even straighter. “Each.”

Sometime after the paramedics arrived and plied me successfully with a defibrillator, I raised myself up from the floor on my elbows and told the parts guy that I just had the funniest dream that he told me it was going to cost me $120. “Not a dream,” he informed me. “$120, plus tax.”

Setting aside the prime opportunity for a tantrum, I instead fished out my checkcard and shrugged my shoulders resigned to paying so mercilessly much for so ridiculously little. And then the miracle happened: “That’s too much,” the clerk told me out of the blue, perhaps guilted by my defeated demeanor.” I will charge you only $25 each.”

Sometime after the paramedics arrived and plied me successfully with a defibrillator, I raised myself up from the floor on my elbows and told the parts guy that I just had the funniest dream that he told me it was going to cost me $50. “Not a dream,” he informed me. “$50, plus tax.”

“Sold!” I said. My heart couldn’t take any more suprises.

2 Replies to “Zen And The Art Of Replacement Parts”

  1. I had a similar experience last week. I wanted to find out how much it was going to cost to replace my headlight lenses while my car was already in the shop and discovered it was going to cost me SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS! Part of that was labor, of course, but a disturbingly huge amount of it was just for two plastic headlight lenses. Not the headlight assembly, not even the headlight itself. Just the plastic lenses. Craziness.

  2. Next time you need odd parts like this, do a search on Ebay motors. I bought a headlight there for a 1992 BMW for $25. Would have cost $120 at the dealer. Just verify that the part is for your year/make/model car before bidding.

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