Do I need a name brand rebuilt carburetor or can I install generic?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

My pampered 1987 BMW 528e has 72,000 miles on it. It has been lovingly cared for and purrs like a kitten. But recently it started sounding like a B-52 bomber. The
BMW mechanic showed me the catalytic converter, and I saw where the pipe that connects to it has rusted through. He said he could replace the converter with a
"rebuilt" BMW converter for $1,300. He says it has to be a rebuilt, because BMW doesn't make new converters for my car anymore. I spoke with a non-BMW
mechanic, and he said that he could put in a new, non-BMW converter for about $700. Which way should I go? -- Carolyn

RAY: I'd go for the after-market converter in this case, Carolyn. Since the car is 13 years old, and the BMW converter costs twice as much, I'd take my chances on the
new, after-market converter for $700.

TOM: Right. After all, you can buy two of them for the price of the BMW converter. So even if they last only half as long, you'll still break even.

RAY: There are some instances when we do recommend new, factory converters to people even when they cost twice as much as after-market parts -- if the car is
relatively new and the person plans on keeping it for many years. But you're not even being offered a new part. And chances are, even the after-market converter will
last eight or 10 years. And by then, your "beloved" 528e might be your "dearly departed" 528e. Good luck, Carolyn.

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