Should I Buy Second Hand Car Parts?
The normal wear and tear of cars or the occurrence of an accident may require repair or replacement of some parts. Moreover, with most brand new parts being a little too heavy on the wallet, you may have to turn to the second-hand market. Used auto parts offer a more economical option than their branded counterpart, not to mention that recycling them is beneficial to the environment. So if you are not quite sure about buying used car parts, here are some quick and dirty tips.
Quick and dirty tips to buying second-hand auto parts
Buying from used auto parts dealers can be tricky, especially if you’re new to it. Despite this stigma, it is not as bad as one would expect. As long as you know whom to trust and what to do, you’d be fine.
1. Locate your VIN
Your vehicle's identification number (VIN) is a unique number assigned to your car. Think of it as your vehicle's fingerprint. Locating your VIN is very important, seeing how various car parts are often designed to fit a specific kind of vehicle. So with the help of the VIN, you can locate auto parts more easily.
Other than the VIN, finding the part code can cut the hassle in half. You may then give the part code to a seller, who matches it with the specific component for your model.
2. Find a seller
Once you find the VIN or the part code, you will have to look for the right seller. Now finding the right seller can be a little difficult because anyone can set up an ad on eBay or craigslist, which is not to say that there are no trustworthy sellers in those sites. There are, but you'd need to exercise due diligence to find them. Then there are local automobile part sellers, who can be a little more trustworthy because you can see the part and look out for its problems.
But regardless of where you are buying your parts, you should always conduct thorough research. Be diligent when searching for the parts because you may end up buying the wrong one.
3. Get the correct part
You should always be more careful and attentive when buying pre-owned parts than if you were buying brand new. So if you go to a local seller, be sure that you've got the perfect match to the replacement that you need. Car components vary in size and specs depending on the vehicle. Matching product codes is the key. Better yet, bring your mechanic with you. That way, they can identify the parts firsthand and help you skip the tedious process of going through random parts.
4. Ask about warranty
Warranty is something that you will have to consider when purchasing non-new parts. Brand new parts always offer a warranty when you buy them, so if the part slips up, you can change it. On the other hand, the second-hand market often doesn't always offer warranties. You will have to go above and beyond your usual effort to find them. Even then, the warranties offered are short-term, such as a month or two, so make it a practice to check this aspect.
5. Ask about return policies
The first question that you should always ask a used car parts seller is whether or not they allow returns. Return policies can be a little foreign in the used parts market; nonetheless, it is something that you should ask. A return policy means that you could return the faulty part and get your money back. If you're lucky, you might find a vendor willing to offer a reasonable return policy.
6. Be patient to wait for rare parts
In some cases, there's a waiting period for a specific item to arrive from online sellers and even local shops. Some parts are scarce or just aren't made in bulk because they cover a particular niche. So most shops will have to send out an order, and that order can take up to three months in some instances.
Parts that you shouldn't buy used
You should always know when to get a second-hand part and when not to. Items that you should get brand new are things like spark plugs, brake pads, and brake rotors. These parts go through a lot of wear and tear, so getting them in the non-new condition is a waste of money.
For parts that are too expensive to buy brand new, like an alternator, radiator, and transmission, go through the quick and dirty tricks above and make a wise buy. Then there are things like used mirrors, rims, interiors, and power locks, which you can buy without worrying too much.
Should you buy used car parts?
Well, it depends on what part you need and how deep your pocket is. If you keep in mind what parts you can buy second hand and which ones you shouldn't, you can skip mistakes that 90% of new buyers make.
Summing up, we would say yes, there's wisdom in buying pre-owned car parts. Don't let the bad rap about the second-hand market discourage you from exploring it – it’s going to save you some good cash along the way.