Generally speaking, no one wants to spend more money on repairs than is absolutely necessary. Once your vehicle is past its warranty and getting on in years, repairs and part replacements are just about inevitable. Though there are many who remain loyal to their dealership or favorite neighborhood garage, others are willing to look at different options in order to save some money. As long as you have a qualified mechanic to work on your vehicle, it may be worth looking into buying used parts when you need a replacement. Here are three important things to consider:
1. Make Sure Used is OK
Most parts, such as the frame cross member, are fine to buy used, as long as there are no defects or rust present. However, there are some, like exhaust or ignition systems, that need to be bought new. Their used counterparts can deteriorate quickly without warning and without any warranty to protect your purchase. Likewise, brakes and rotors should never be bought used, for safety reasons.
2. Choose Your Source Carefully
Buying your part online can be a little tricky. On one hand, you need to be very careful about scams, dishonesty or a general lack of knowledge on the part of the seller—he or she may not know enough about the part to guarantee quality and safety. On the other hand, sites like eBay do have consumer-based ratings that can provide some level of assurance, provided you are confident you know what you’re ordering.
You could also try finding your part at an auto junkyard, where you are likely get the lowest price possible. However, of all your options, the safest bet is to go to a local auto parts store. There, you will get personalized service, knowledgeable help and a limited warranty on your second-hand part. No matter what option you choose, make sure your source is reputable.
3. Take an Expert With You
Unless you are extremely knowledgable about auto parts, take your mechanic, or someone else who’s an expert, along with you to the junkyard or auto parts store. If you’re buying your parts online, make sure they have all the information available, including photos, so they can advise you properly.
In most cases, buying used auto parts can be a great way to save money on repairs. They are also generally better quality than new parts, because they are made directly by the original manufacturer. So, when the time comes that your vehicle needs a replacement part due to age, malfunction or damage, buying used may be the way to go.