"There oughta be a law," goes the time-honored saying, while others might claim there's already a law for everything in New Jersey.

That includes what a car owner in the Garden State is entitled to once an auto body shop completes repairs on their vehicle.

Charles Bryant, executive director of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey, said a provision permitting customers to keep old car parts that get replaced has been on the books for "many, many years."

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He said his association asks all of its members to put such a notice on their paperwork.

"That's what it's all about, just letting people know you have the right to keep the old parts," Bryant said.

But no one can seem to pinpoint when exactly this became a law.

The only bill in the current legislative session that seems to be related to it is one introduced in March by state Senate Minority Leader Steven Oroho, R-Sussex, enabling customers to authorize repairs by means other than handwritten, such as email or text message.

However far back the stipulation goes, Bryant said it's seldom used — but still useful.

"Most people say no anyway, but the shop should have a notice on its estimate, or its authorization, that says you have the right to receive the old parts; you also have the right to waive them," he said.

Some might wonder why a vehicle owner would want to retain something they are getting replaced.

Bryant said sometimes, just for peace of mind.

"Say that you had an old wheel that was damaged, they're going to replace it, and you say, 'Well, I'll keep that one for a spare.' You have the right to do that," he said.

But he added that a customer should be prepared to pay a little extra if they know they can't haul away their discarded parts immediately.

"Some shops would say there can be a charge if you decide to save the old parts and you don't pick them up when you pick up the car, then there may be a storage charge on it and things like that," Bryant said.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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