For some, a car or truck is a static item that only receives updates when something breaks. For others though, the initial purchase is just a starting point. Over time you'll want to improve your axels, suspension, maybe add a turbo. Sometimes things unfortunately just stop working and it's time to replace a part or two. While there are some fantastic OEM part options on the market as well as custom aftermarket parts manufacturers, in some instances, buying used parts can be a great option too that will save money while delivering maximum value.
Scavenging through junk yards is one way to trim car-related repair costs, but luckily there are now ways to purchase used auto parts online. However, cost isn't the only consideration here.
Prolonging your car’s lifespan will inevitably involve routine oil changes and tire rotations, but you should also be prepared to replace crumbling car parts. Exterior lights such as turn signals and brake lights tend to malfunction more frequently than other vehicle components and can have expensive consequences if left unattended (Cue the police lights!). Other parts bound to breakdown include brake rotors, spark plugs, and door locks.
When the time comes to restore a broken or malfunctioning car part, you can choose to buy new or used. By committing these five factors to memory, you’ll determine which option is best for you in virtually no time at all.
What to Consider Before Buying Second Hand
You can often replace a damaged part with a used one for a fraction of the cost. However, there are a few finer details that you should be mindful of when making a purchase. Firstly, you should always know your vehicle’s VIN and ensure the part you’ve chosen is compatible with your car’s make and model. Take the age of the part into consideration as well. Remember, secondhand components can be decades old upon purchase, meaning you’ll need to replace them in the blink of an eye.
Some car parts are better purchased new, but many are perfectly exchangeable for secondhand pieces. Car parts such as head and tail lights, hubcaps, and exhaust pipes are budget-friendly when obtained in salvage yards or online marketplaces. You can also replace interior parts like stereos, steering wheels, and trim with secondhand versions without compromising quality or aesthetic value.
Car Parts You Should Buy New
Although you can swap out various new car parts with used or refurbished models, there are a few components you should only purchase fresh off the market. Air and oil filters require brand-new replacements capable of providing proper air supply to the engine. Similarly, you’ll need to swap out worn spark plugs and batteries with shiny new replacements.
Cons of Purchasing Used Car Parts
There can be cons of purchasing used car parts. Fortunately, putting these pitfalls on your radar will allow you to make an informed purchase. The most notable risk of buying used components is reliability. Without full knowledge of their history and age, these parts could malfunction.
Secondhand parts also lack a warranty, meaning you won’t be protected if they fail. Inconsistency is yet another con of used parts. Sadly, no car owner is safe from accidentally purchasing a replacement that isn’t compatible with your car’s make and model.
Pros of Purchasing Used Car Parts
Despite the cons, the benefits of used car parts may allow you to make a smarter purchase without breaking the bank. A widened range of selection means you’ll have a higher chance of finding a part that complements your vehicle.
If you have owned an older model, used parts may have a greater likelihood of maintaining their performance. Opting for used parts is also more convenient than waiting for a new part to arrive straight from a manufacturer. Unlike online shopping, heading over to your local salvage yard will allow you to walk out with the car part, free of shipping costs and inconveniencing delays.
Whether you decide to purchase a used part online or at a salvage yard, acquiring a proper understanding of salvage yard etiquette is essential. When visiting a junkyard, be sure to bring your own tools to pick apart auto parts but refrain from using a cutting torch. Salvage yards also operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, so don’t leave and expect to find the same part when you return.