Are These Quality Parts?

Our philosophy is summed up by our slogan, “Better Parts, Better Prices.” As VW enthusiasts ourselves, we know that a cheap price on a junky part is no bargain. We search worldwide for the best quality available on the parts that we carry, often comparing several versions to decide which one we will represent. Our bottom line is, if we wouldn’t put it on our own VW’s, we won’t sell it to you. Our defect rate has been less than 1/20th of 1%, so overall we think we’re doing pretty well. So don’t be fooled by our low prices. We keep them low by importing directly from Europe, scrupulously keeping our overhead low, and taking advantage of quantity or closeout buys on quality parts whenever possible so we can pass the savings to you. We encourage you to shop around. In most cases we think you’ll find that “apples to apples” on average our prices are the lowest around. Most of the time if they’re not, there’s a reason, such as a difference in brand or quality. If you have any questions about what we are offering, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Does this mean that every part is identical in quality to the original German part? In many cases yes, because through diligent research we’ve located the company that made the part originally and can still offer that quality. But there are some cases where original quality simply isn’t available anymore. In those cases we test the best of the currently available alternatives and decide whether it meets our standards for sale or not. In some cases there are varying qualities available of the same part, and even though the cheaper of them meets our minimum standards there are also better ones available if your budget permits. So we may list both. In some cases we specify in the listing whether we feel there is a significant difference. Other times you can go by the “Best Seller” icon, which typically denotes the better price/quality value of the options. Again, if you need some guidance on which version to buy, feel free to email us. We’re happy to share what we know.

How about the German brands – are they still high quality? Generally, yes, but they may not be German. In this era of globalization, companies like Bosch now produce in Mexico, Brazil, India, and many other countries as well as Germany, and in fact country of origin can vary from one shipment to the next (or even within the same shipment). So while we can specify if the company is German or not, we cannot a guarantee that the part in the box will be German made. If you have a particular question on the origin of a particular part, feel free to email us and we’ll go look at a box. (Even then this doesn’t guarantee that the next box might be different, but it will give you a good idea.) That said, as a general rule, it is still safer to buy a quality name brand name than an off brand, regardless of country of origin. Yes, that major-label branded wheel bearing may be Chinese made, and so is Brand X for less money. But that doesn’t mean the two are identical. The name brands have spent decades and millions of dollars building their reputation in the marketplace. They’re not going to throw that all away just to save a few cents on a part. So they tend to be rather picky about what parts they put their name on, regardless of where they’re made. By comparison, Brand X has no reputation to protect, and little or no commitment to their U.S. customers. If they don’t make enough money selling wheel bearings for VW’s in America this year, they’ll just pull up stakes and sell wheel bearings for tractors to the Phillipines next year. They are much more likely to build to a price. Of course there are always exceptions – name brand products that are junk, or aftermarket products that are built to a higher standard than current production name brands. That’s why we evaluate what we sell on a case-by-case basis.

Be suspicious of companies that list lots of parts as “German” and/or offer them at suspiciously low prices. There is no magical fountain of cheap German parts. Some of our competitors list products as ” German made” merely because they bought the part from a German distributor. That’s like assuming that everything you buy at WalMart is made in America because that’s where the store was. Take such claims with a grain of salt. Other retailers go a step further and blatantly try to mislead you. One in particular regularly puts a “German Quality” or “OE Quality” icon next to listings for Chinese made parts made by off-brand Chinese companies. Sometimes they even give the part a German sounding brand name. Funny, when you Google that brand name there is no such manufacturer. Technically they have not actually said the part was German made, but they certainly have tried very hard to trick you. In our opinion this shows a blatant distain for you as their customer. This practice has become very common on Ebay as well. Pay careful attention to what’s actually being said compared to what’s being implied. Buyer beware.

A final note regarding warranties. Manufacturers’ warranties may range from 90 days to lifetime, depending on the product. It is the manufacturer’s their warranty, not ours, but we’ll be happy to assist you in handling the details, to get your VW back on the road as quickly as possible. Usually you’ll have a warranty replacement pronto, for just the cost of shipping. Feel free to e-mail for warranty into on specific items. Also, our lawyers have asked us to mention that the warranties do not cover labor, towing, lodging, shipping, consequential damages, etc. On a related note, don’t be fooled by so-called “lifetime warranties” from some of the big-box retailers (and others). This is a marketing ploy, not an indicator of quality. In essence you’re buying an “extended warranty” whether you want it or not; they’re simply building it into the price of the part. For what this extended warranty cost them, they could have sold you a better quality part to begin with and maybe you wouldn’t have needed the warranty! What’s more, the “lifetime warranty” doesn’t cover normal wear-and-tear (just factory defects), so if the cheapo part simply wears out sooner than the quality brand would have, this is not covered. More importantly, it doesn’t cover your time, cost, and hassle of having to replace the part – nor will it save you if the part leaves you stranded in the middle of the night on a dark highway miles from home. Better than a part with a “lifetime” warranty is a part that doesn’t fail. There is no substitute for quality.

So the bottom line is, be an educated consumer, stick with retailers whom you trust, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if in doubt. We’re always happy to answer your questions and let you know whatever we know.