In this day and age everyone is looking to save money where they can and buying the right used part can certainly help you save on the wallet – As they say ‘every little helps’.
Certain used parts are not safe or worth buying which we’ll be discussing later. These are parts like brake pads and clutches where it’s always best to go for new. However, there are many more parts on a vehicle where you can seriously save money, when you know what you’re looking for.
“The main benefit of buying used parts vs new parts is simply you can save you a lot of money”. Quote by Matt Bott Founder at Breakeryard.com
So, know we know it’s about more coppers in your pocket, let’s look at the top tips for buying used and recycled vehicle parts when you need to fix the car.
7 Top tips to buying a used part
- Know the exact part you require. This sounds pretty obvious, but you will be surprised at the so many variations of the same part that knowing it’s the right one is critical. The last thing you want to do is mail the part back if it’s wrong. You can confirm the right part by the part number and even send a picture of the part you want to the seller getting them to confirm in writing it is correct before they send it. Some sellers will require you to pay the return postage so it’s important to get it right before placing your order.
- Don’t worry about asking questions. Sellers of vehicle parts are the experts and they deal everyday with customers who aren’t sure what they’re asking for. So, don’t worry about asking questions to ensure you get the right part.
- Check the warranty of the used part. All parts should be sold with a warranty except some used electrical parts Make sure if you have any queries that you make them in writing before the warranty has ended.
- Ask for a photo. Don’t be afraid to ask for a picture of the part you want to buy before making the purchase. A used parts seller should be able to email you a picture once you have received your price quote for the item.
- You may want to collect the item. Certain parts like body parts and glass are sold on a collection only basis. This is because they could potentially get damaged in transit and the last thing you need is to bring the responsibility of the courier into the process. Body parts and glass are renowned for getting when shipping so if you do go for this option get detailed photos of the item first.
- Check the condition. If you want to buy an engine or gearbox, then find out the mileage and age of the vehicle it’s come out of. You also want to know and have in writing that the parts have been fully tested before being dispatched to avoid any comeback.
- Check the colour. You’ll be amazed at how colours can fade over time especially in the sun. Ideally, you defintely want a photo although these can be quite vague as well. Mention this to the parts seller and see what advice they give. Alternatively, you could get a primed part and take it with the vehicle into your local body shop where they will be able to paint the part and match it to the surround colour of the body work.
It’s also good to be aware that used parts sellers do specialise in certain makes of vehicle. For instance, when it comes to buying Ford parts then try and find a used Ford parts seller as their knowledge of the part maybe more vast than sellers who supply parts across all makes.
Below we’ve listed some parts that are sold when in good condition and re-conditioned, and then others that should not be sold second hand at all. We’re always interested in your comments below…
Parts that are fine to buy in good condition:
Engines, gearboxes, air boxes, body panels (ie. bumpers, wings etc.), carburetors (to rebuild), turbos, coolant reservoirs, cooling fans, window regulator motors, door lock actuators, sumps, exhaust manifolds, exhaust pipes, fuel tank gas cap, grill, hub caps, intake manifold, interior trim, jacks, pulleys, rear view mirrors, seats, steering wheels, stereo systems, sunroof motors, front and rear lights, throttle bodies, tie rods, turn signal lenses, vacuum lines, vacuum reservoir, valve covers, wheels, window glass, windows, windscreen washer pumps, wiper arms etc.
Parts that can be re-conditioned:
Sometimes rather than buying a different part altogether you could opt for getting your existing one re-conditioned. Here we have listed some items that you could ask the seller if they offer a re-conditioning service: engines, gearboxes, a/c compressors, a/c condensers, ABS CPU, ABS sensors, alternators, axle shafts, brake drums, camshafts, clutch master cylinders, coil packs, cooling fans, electrics, CPU, CV joints, cylinder heads, dashboard gauges, distributor, engine blocks, engine mounts, flywheels, fuel injection units, fuel injectors, fuel pumps, intercoolers, master cylinders, oil coolers, oil lines, oil pumps, pistons, power locks, power steering pumps, power window switches, pressure plates, radiators, spare tyre rims, steering racks and turbochargers.
Parts that should never be sold used:
The following is a list of car parts that should not be reused: air bags, air filters, airbag sensors, ball joints, batteries, bearings, brake discs/rotors, brake light switches, brake pads, brake shoes, clutch discs, cooling fan switches, cylinder sleeves, distributor caps, engine bearings, fuel lines, fuses, gaskets, head studs, ignition coils, ignition condenser, ignition points, oil filters, oil pressure switches, sensors, piston rings, radiator hoses, shifter bushings, shock absorbers, spark plugs, strut bearings, strut inserts, thermostats, timing belts, timing chains, tyres, valves, voltage regulator, water pumps, wheel bearings and wheel cylinders.
We would love to hear your comments below on any experiences you’ve had when buying used parts. Feel free to look for used parts here