If you own a car, it is a matter of time when it will break down and you will have to repair or replace the damaged part. If your vehicle is still under factory warranty, the auto repair shop will take care of it and the cost will be covered, but if it has already expired, you should consider your best options for getting value-for-money when trying to fix the problem. There is nothing wrong with buying second-hand parts, as long as they are in good shape and the right fit. Never compromise on safety.
You can buy them from junkyards, dealers, services, or even online, at websites like UsedPart.us. Just make sure that you are buying them from reputable stores and trustworthy suppliers. It is important not to end up with a counterfeit product. Also, it would be even better if you arrange a return policy, so that you would be able to return the part if it is not compatible with the model of the car that you drive. That way, you won’t end up spending money on something you can’t actually put in your vehicle.
Mechanical components are susceptible to wear and tear, while the electronics can sometimes short-circuit.
The question you should be asking yourself is: is there a value in buying this second-hand? You should have in mind how much will you actually be saving if you turn to buy used parts. However, it is important to stress out that not all parts should be bought second-hand. The parts that are fast to wear out or are affordable in the first place, you should only buy them as new. That way, you will get the maximum from their lifespan without endangering your driving safety. Stuff like batteries, brake pads, airbags, starters, any types of sensors, air and oil filters, as well as a few others – the list is not complete, the recommendation is to be bought only new.
A lot of them: filters, belts, and wiring already have a reasonable price when new, so you won’t be saving much if you buy them used. Also, as they deteriorate rather fast, if they aren’t brand-new when you get them, you won’t be getting much usage out of them – it is very likely that you will have to replace them soon since they won’t last very long. On the other hand, there are certain parts that are quite costly and are not quick to dilapidate such as body panels, bumpers, exhaust pipes, various interior components, or windows, so it’s perfectly fine to get them second-hand.
If you are on the skeptical side, you can always turn to refurbished or reconditioned parts. They are a separate category. Namely, refurbished parts have been used before, but have since been tested and restored to a working condition by their original manufacturer, while the reconditioned ones have been repaired and restored by some other party, and not the original car manufacturer. An engine control unit (ECU), an alternator, or transmission are good examples in this category.
We advise you to do some research or at least consult your auto mechanic before making a decision to buy any kind of car component. If you can bring along someone you trust and who understands cars, we recommend you do that as well. Below, we will mention a few reasons why getting used parts beats getting new ones:
They are cheaper
Auto repairs can be expensive, so trying to cut down the costs is a very logical step. Therefore, this is the most obvious reason. As mentioned previously, you should consider buying a part that has been used only if it makes sense in terms of performance (and safety) and the economy. Sometimes, you will be able to save 50 – 75% on parts and still achieve a great driving performance. If a part will quickly wear out or is at an already reasonable price, there is really no point in buying it second-hand.
However, there is one thing you shouldn’t compromise on the warranty. Every part should come with a limited warranty, just to ensure that it will work when properly installed. It won’t be perfect, but it must be in working condition.
They no longer make new ones
If you have an older model and/or it has been discontinued by the manufacturer, so they no longer make the spare parts, the only way that you can keep it in shape and running is by buying used parts. Many people drive vintage cars for which the manufacturers simply don’t produce replacement components, and they don’t have a choice when it comes to obtaining what they need so that their vehicle will be in a driving condition.
There is great availability when it comes to picking used auto parts. You will have more choice since the prices will vary and there will be a whole range to choose from because they will be of different quality, depending on how much they have been used and how well they have been preserved. It will also depend on the location where you will get them from, and if the dealer is willing to make you a deal.
Showing support for the small businesses
With shopping for used parts, you will be supporting small businesses and stimulating the local economy, usually local stores instead of huge car producing companies. That keeps the money within the community, or at least in the same country. No matter how small you think that impact is – it still counts and it is a step in the right direction.
Better for the environment
You will be once again putting these components to use, reducing the need for their production which is environmentally friendly (as long as your car is following the vehicle emission standards and regulations and is not adding to pollution). Producing them uses up valuable resources and some of it ends up like trash, so when you get a used part, you eliminate the need for its manufacturing and you are practically recycling it.