June 17, 2011

Car parts are ridiculously overpriced. If you’ve ever taken your car to the dealer for repair, or tried to buy a replacement part, then you know exactly what I mean. Something as simple as a stereo knob costs about ten times more than it should, and when it comes to metal parts, it gets even worse.

While aftermarket parts, such as those that you buy at local auto parts stores, can help mitigate those costs, the problem there is that they’re still expensive, and if you’re on a tight budget, then buying even aftermarket parts might put you in a bad spot financially.

It’s for reasons like this that I’m a big fan of trying to save money with used auto parts when I can find them. For parts that are unseen, such as underbody (exhaust, rotors, etc), or inside of the engine, I don’t mind buying used parts provided that they are in decent shape. You can often get these at local scrap yards, or even on classified ad sites, from people that have dismantled their cars for parts, or had an accident in which the insurance company wouldn’t fix the car, but left it with many good and usable parts.

Even on parts that will be seen, such as body and interior parts, you can often find them in good enough shape that they won’t look out of place, and when they do, a bit of repair work can be used to finish the job.

When you save money with used auto parts from a junkyard or online site, you can often save as much as 50% of retail cost.

The only downside to buying used auto parts is that usually they don’t come with a guarantee, so if you’re buying something mechanical, you’ll want to test it before installation. For example, a used muffler might sound like a great deal until you find out it won’t pass inspection, and is a waste of money. Engine parts in particular, are important to test as you don’t want to introduce anything under the hood that could cause more damage or make your vehicle unsafe.

Used auto parts are easy to find if you know where to look, and they are often available for other vehicles too, such as motorcycles, boats, and ATV’s. So next time you need to buy a new car part, check used first and see what’s out there. You might be surprised at the price difference.

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