Buying used auto parts will often save you 50 percent or more over buying new. When you buy used with an online retailer, you’ll have the benefit of selection and a possible warranty. Junkyards and scrap dealers may save you a bit more, but the best deals are often found in your local classifieds. But that extra savings means you’ll have to do your homework.
1. Know Your Part
Before buying from a private seller, be sure you know the part you need. Do a little online research and compare pricing. A quick search will give you a range of pricing and shipping options. Buying local will certainly save you the cost of shipping and you’ll have the advantage of seeing the item in person before you buy. Knowing the price range ahead of time will also increase your negotiating position.
2. Inspect Carefully
If at all possible, bring the old part with you to be sure you’re getting the right piece. Buying the wrong part will negate the savings of buying used auto parts. While some sellers may cut you a little slack, the general rule in classifieds is ‘buyer beware.’ Unless a seller makes an exception, you shouldn’t expect any kind of warranty.
3. Avoid These Used Car Parts
Your safety isn’t worth putting at risk to save a few bucks. So avoid buying used seat belts, air bags or braking systems. Generally speaking, wear-and-tear items may be better purchased new. This could include alternators, brakes and starters. And use special caution when buying used tires. Here’s a guide to inspecting tires.