Finding Car & Auto Parts in Andalusia
By Dee McMath
In Andalusia, as with anywhere in the world, the search for the right auto part for your vehicle, boat or machinery is a potentially time-consuming exercise. For those living in Andalusia the task can be made more difficult if you speak little or no Spanish. Even for fluent Spanish speakers, discussing engine parts can present an extra challenge.
When the component in question is for a car manufactured or commonly sold in Spain, the best solution is often to go straight to the local car dealer, who will normally have a 'taller' (workshop) for servicing and selling parts. Andalusia has no shortage of dealers of most car makes. In the Marbella area, for example, there are plenty of dealers of new and second hand cars at the top of the range, including Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, BMW, Rolls Royce, Lotus, Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini, etc. Makes with more accessible models such as Ford, Seat, Fiat, Opel, VW, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Renault, etc. are all well represented in Andalusia.
While some of the more prestigious and well known car dealers have their showrooms in and around the main towns, as is the case in Marbella, Malaga and Seville, many garages and car brokers are likely to run their business from a 'poligono industrial' (industrial estate). These estates are usually well sign posted from the main road or motorway and often have names, such as (in Fuengirola) Polígono La Vega and (in Malaga) Poligono Santa Barbara and Polígono Guadalhorce. Finding the specific Polígono that you are looking for is sometimes less of a challenge than actually locating the 'Nave' (lot) occupied by the garage or dealer in question. Once you know your way around, it is fine. But the larger of these estates can be a little overwhelming and often have an almost labyrinth-like quality. Driving round a hot dusty industrial estate can be disorientating and disheartening sometimes, but it is often worth it when you find what you need at a good price.
The 'desguace' (car scrap yard) is another source for finding parts from cars which may have been written off in an accident, but still have useful working parts. This is also somewhere to take an accident-damaged car and sell it, if it has been written off. Around the area of Malaga airport, in the Polígono Industrial Guadalorce, there are a couple of deguaces, one of which is called 'Scrap Yard - Auto Desguace El Inglés' (Ctra Azucarera-Intelhorce, Nave 7 : Tel 952 241551). The major towns in each province of Andalusia inevitably have a few 'desguaces' within the municipality. These are very usually clearly visible from the main road by an often brightly painted car hoisted high up on a pole, which can be seen for all directions at a good distance. Another name sometimes given to the desguaces is cementerio de coches (car graveyard).
'Piezas de recambio' (spare parts) often gives rise to the name of a spare parts or auto accessories business including the word 'recambios' in its company name. For example if you live in the Estepona area, Recambios Simon is in the Polígono Industrial, Calle Franklin, 9, Tel: 952 749 840. Many companies produce unbranded parts at lower prices, so it is best to ask your dealer what's available, checking the quality and guarantees before you buy.
Most of the main garages and auto parts suppliers will be able to check on sophisticated computer systems to see if they have the part you require, but there are still some smaller, family run garages that use the old microfiche system. Although the latter is less efficient, sometimes the more personal attention given can prove just as successful. This will depend on the individual business as well as your command of the Spanish language. When dealing with a small Spanish run garage or auto accessories shop, you can hardly expect every mechanic and shop worker to speak fluent English. The larger businesses, especially along the Costa del Sol, are accustomed to dealing with clients of many different nationalities, most of which are English-speaking and you will normally be understood.
With the vast numbers of foreigners now living in Andalusia and particularly in the coastal areas, there are companies which specifically cater for this market. Some have compiled an impressive data base of information for buying parts and accessories. One such company is The Parts Finders. Whether you need parts for classic or modern cars, motorcycles, marine craft, caravans, motor homes, commercial vehicles or even plant and garden machinery - you are likely to locate it through The Parts Finders. You can contact them by fax, e-mail or phone and will always be able to communicate in English. Contacting a company such as this, with many years of experience and dedication to collecting a massive bank of information, can save you hours of frustrating searching. The quick delivery and easy payment systems is also set up to reduce time and worry to a minimum.