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Buying Used Car Parts: Expectations Vs Reality

Educational  ·  February 19, 2021

Buying Used Car Parts: Expectations Vs Reality

Choosing between brand new car parts and cheaper used alternatives is often a hard decision for most people. If you find yourself constantly engaging in internal debates whenever it comes to replacing a part of your vehicle, then this article is calling out to you. 

The biggest challenge with used car parts is that there’s no guarantee you’ll get the quality you expect. Issues like wear, corrosion, malfunctions, and so on are often associated with buying used auto parts. If you're not careful, you could be buying a part that is completely spent. 

In this post, I discuss what you should know and do when buying a used car part so you can enjoy all the benefits that they have to offer.

Is Buying Used Car Parts A Good Idea?

I don't have a silver bullet response to this question. For one, buying used car parts is less costly. And that's a significant upside. However, there's also an inherent downside to buying used auto parts. 

Second-hand parts may not be as reliable as new replacements. Since they had already been used, they are prone to failure after a certain period. What’s worse, there’s no way to determine how long the ‘certain period’ is. So yeah, you're almost entirely in the dark. Here's some light now:

For auto parts like doors, steering columns, rims, or even windshield, it is generally okay to get used ones. However, when it comes to alternators, brakes, or plugs, as much as possible, avoid buying used components. This is why I recommend that you work with a trusted mechanic whenever you want to purchase used auto parts.

Keep These Things in Mind When Buying Used Car Parts

Here are some dos and don'ts you should know when buying used car parts. Knowing these ‘rules’ will help you get the highest quality second hand parts.

1. Correctly Identify the Part 

This is important for both new and used car part purchases. Car parts are identified via a specific model or part numbers. Make sure you have the number before you search for a replacement part to avoid any mismatch. You can check your vehicle owner’s manual to get this number. 

If you can't locate the necessary info, take the auto part with you to the local store or wreckers you want to purchase from. If you prefer to get the part online, you can also use the Vehicle Identification Number or chassis number of your car to streamline your web search.

2. Determine Where You Intend to Buy Your Parts

Vetting the store should be your SOP whenever buying online, be it for car parts or other items. You can check out reviews and ratings from people who have gotten items from these stores in the past. This will give you an idea of the platform’s reliability. 

Local auto parts stores and wrecking yards might be your best bet as you can always go to them physically if a problem arises and you can get parts from lower prices from these wreckers. 

When in doubt, a sure-fire way to connect to reliable sellers is via CarpartAU’s Marketplace. As of this writing, there are over 25,000 car parts listed on the site for sale. 

What if the marketplace doesn’t have the part you need? Well, we’ve got you covered there, too! You only need to fill out an online request form on the homepage, press ‘send’, and expect sellers to reach out to you. 

Yes, we’ve turned it all around for you! Instead of you dialing tens of phone numbers, we’ve got them calling to send you their most competitive quotes. 

3. Recognise that Parts from Big Franchises tend to be Pricier

In most cases, big-name stores are usually a good bet for quality parts. But. They tend to capitalise on their branding, convenience, and car owners' desperation, inflating the price in the process. 

You can’t blame them; business and charity aren't the same thing. That’s why you may want to consider smaller businesses too. With careful attention, you can get quality parts at great prices from up-and-coming retailers.

4. Demand to Know the History of the Auto Part You’re Buying

Don’t judge a part by its looks. Many of these parts and accessories undergo thorough cleaning processes to make them appear new and unused so they get off the shelves quickly. 

The shiny, good-looking part may just have cracks or defects that could cause it to break down sooner than later. Thankfully, some dealers offer warranties and refunds. But what do you do about the ones that don’t?

To avoid the early breakdown of the part being sold to you, you must inquire about a part’s history. What was the mileage of the car from which it came. Has the part been modified in any way? 

These questions will give you an insight as to how long the part can serve you and whether it’s worth buying in the first place. 

5. Go with a Trusted Auto Expert Friend or Mechanic When Buying Used Parts

If you aren’t familiar with car parts, have your trusty mechanic with you as you make decisions. This is especially true for major car parts, like a car engine or gearbox. There’s no doubt an expert’s advice will be crucial to help you avoid mistakes.

6. Research the Part You Want to Replace

If you don't have an expert to guide you, then you must double your efforts – painstakingly research the product to avoid getting counterfeit car parts. You can check out misprinted words on the accessory, misplaced critical components, and fake logos, among others. 

7. Pay Extra Attention to Detail When Purchasing Exterior Parts

Pay attention to detail – style and colour – to maintain your car's look. The colour should match, and the styling should blend with the existing design of your vehicle.

8. Some Parts Are Best Replaced with Brand New Ones

Auto parts that wear out fast should be replaced with new ones. For instance, I’ve mentioned plugs earlier in this post. Never compromise your car’s performance and your safety by buying used plugs. It would also defeat the whole purpose of replacing worn-out parts. Brake rotors, brake pads, alternator, transmission, and starters are other examples of such parts. 


If you want your expectation—long-lasting, quality parts—to match reality when buying used car parts, then take time and be meticulous about your purchasing process. Many Aussie Wreckers now have strong online presence, which makes accessing quality used parts even easier.

Enjoy the benefit of low-cost car parts, while still fitting your car with quality parts. For the best experience when shopping for new and used auto parts, choose CarpartAU’s Marketplace and Car Part Finder! These services are free to use, so waste no more time, try them now!

By Damilare Olasinde

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