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Step 7: Don't Spend Stupid Money for Repairs – a.k.a. Make Your Supercar Ownership Affordable

You have already acquired a car that is fully (or almost fully) depreciated: now play it smart and learn how to make repairs affordable. If you do it right your exotic car ownership will end up costing as much as most other non-exotic cars on the road.

Sooner or later something unexpected with your supercar will need fixing. Heck, you already have a list of known items that need to be repaired! Don't panic thinking that any broken item is going to drain your wallet and saying to yourself that you should have never listen to anyone saying that you could afford that car, blah blah blah. Step back, recollect, assess what is or could be wrong and make plans on what may be needed to fix it.

The first thing one needs to realize is that most parts installed in any supercar weren't made specifically for that model and are instead re-branded parts made by other brands.

If you need the opinion of an expert mechanic bring your supercar to your trusted independent shop, but do so bringing along a pretty good explanation of what is happening and what you think could be wrong. Have a conversation with the service adviser, don't just drop the car off and walk away. If possible try to befriend your assigned mechanic (usually each shop has one or more technicians they devote to the high-end stuff) and chat about what could be wrong, describe in the detail what you have observed... in sum show that you care. A lot. If necessary leave the car in their care and ask them to call you once they have determined for sure what's wrong with it (obviously there will be a charge for this service). Once they have a solid list of parts that need replacing then you'll make your move and acquire them on your own and then either bring the replacement items to them for installation or do the work yourself.

Where does one acquire parts on my own that are cheaper than those an indy shop or dealer can obtain themselves? It isn't difficult at all – and will save you loads of money.

The first thing one needs to realize is that most parts installed in any supercar weren't made specifically for that model and are instead re-branded parts made by other brands. Thus, for instance, many items such as mechanical components, etc, that one finds in a Ferrari or Lamborghini were made by the likes of Bosch, Beru, and so on. Sure, parts will have, say, the “Ferrari” logo in it, but also a number that can usually be cross referenced using a simple internet search to find its equivalent non-premium item. Very few Bosch-made but Ferrari re-branded components also carry the Bosch logo on them, but in most cases the part number found on the item is enough. From fuel pumps to coolant temperature sensors and from throttle valve sensor to fuel filters, replacement components can be sourced often at a fraction of their stiff-upper-lip counterparts. That is if original supercar-branded components are still available – for in many cases their supply has dried up (the term is “No Longer Available” = NLA) and the remaining few items are priced astronomically. Indeed in some cases buying the generic item isn't just cheaper, but also the only way to go.

There are many ways to find the generic equivalent of a supercar component: doing an internet search by number – as described above – but also by frequenting some of the many internet boards dedicated to exotics such as FerrariChat (not only for Ferraris), 6speedonline are two that come to mind. Each board has sections dedicated to all the most notorious supercar makers, from Lamborghini to Aston Martin and all makers in between.

Another way to acquire original parts (not their generic counterparts) at a discount is by using independent resellers such as Ricambi America (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati) or Pelican Parts (Porsche) to name two of them. In most cases these resellers make available to users complete vehicle schematics and finding the part one is looking for is quite simple. As an added bonus their pricing is much, much lower than one finds at dealership Parts Departments.

Additionally keep in mind that in many cases whatever components break in your supercar, they can often be rebuilt as opposed to replaced. From A/C compressor to steering racks, and from alternators to fuel pumps, there is a whole cottage industry of shops who will fix, rebuild and deliver back a perfectly functioning item at a fraction of the price it would cost to replace it. So, for instance, a new Ferrari A/C compressor can easily cost $1200 (if still available for older models), while rebuilding to OEM specification the same unit that failed on your car will set you back less than $200 including shipping. Recommendations of the most reputable shops for the task are usually done by word of mouth, as most of them are too small to be able to afford any significant advertising. This forum can also be a very good source of recommendations for any such outfits. Remember: this is another essential piece of the affordable supercar puzzle: rebuild it, don't replace it.


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