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Special Projects 101: Sparing the Parts Part 1

Car Hub DIY Part Brake

(One of those parts that were considered as ‘brand new’ came in a box that had nothing much descriptions on the manufacturer and quality of the part. It was silver and shiny at first. The rust came very quickly later)

In view of my recent endeavour to restore my car to “showroom condition” and improve on the riding comfort and safety along the way, it might impact me in the near future.

This is what was reported recently:-

The recent revised National Automotive Policy (NAP) has outlined the gradual phase-out of imported used vehicle parts and components.

The government has raised concerns over safety and environmental issues from continuing with the practice of importing used parts and components without any restrictions or mandatory tests.

Thus this NAP review would be introducing a mechanism to prohibit imports of used parts and components effective June 2011.

And that leads to a reader, John C asking this in theSun:-

…if the new car spare parts locally available are reliable, durable and affordable, who would want to buy second-hand parts anyway? Isn’t it a little strange that imported second-hand car spare parts have an ample number of buyers?

Yesterday I finally got rid of the problem that has been nagging my car for the last 3 – 4 years and the part that was replaced is a second hand imported spare part.

Ya, the part was second hand but it was not cheap – it cost me more than a thousand ringgit (the whole package including labour and door to door delivery) but nonetheless, it was cheaper than the brand new ‘local made’ spare part that the other mechanic proposed to me. Perhaps it cost me more because it is brand new – could be.

Despite it is being ‘second hand’, I know for sure that the spare part came from a Japanese made car and thus is made in Japan. As compared to the locally made ones where it is only stated as “Japan Technology” or “German Quality” but fails after a couple of months in use.

I got conned once on the rear hub ball bearing – it was a local made one but other than the description of the part and bold “Japan Technology” words, there is nothing to indicate who manufactured the ball bearings. If one is lucky, we can see a small sticker of the distributor details on the box.

Sure enough, the local part did not last me 2 weeks before I headed back to another mechanic who told me that the part used was not original. To make things worse, the fake ball bearings damaged my rear hub which cost me another load of money for replacement (again local made parts).

Even the parts that were changed by a very well experienced mechanic did not last me that long. It is considered very good if it can last more than 4 months. Thankfully it has not led me to any serious incidents.

But then again, I need to take some of the fault as well – I did not go back to the authorised Proton Edar service centres (when genuine parts are used) but once your warranty expires, who still goes back to Proton? It is more effective to go to the nearest workshop where one does not need to make an appointment. Especially so if one is having a breakdown far away from the nearest authorised service centres.

Anyway back to the issue of imported second-hand spare parts – there is a valid reason why the Government is considering a ban on such second hand imported spare parts.

Safety and integrity of the parts are certainly in question but then again, so do some of the locally made, brand new spare parts. If the Government is serious about ensuring safety with tested reliable genuine spare parts, the enforcement should be on both prongs – the parts that come in from outside of Malaysia and those manufactured within Malaysia.

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Paul Tan’s take on this

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