Save Money On Car Repairs By Buying Your Own Used Car Parts

May 31st, 2018 by

used car parts

The average American spends $100 per month on car repairs. That’s over $1200 a year, assuming nothing major goes wrong with the car.

For reference, that’s around equal to what the average American spends on their electricity bill per month.

Put another way, that $100 dollars is one-fifth of the average American’s monthly car payment.

See the issue?

Imagine purchasing tires. In many parts of the country, snow tires are crucial to living through the winter.

But often they cost $1000s of dollars. That’s a sunk cost built into car ownership every few years.

It’s a significant expense for something that many Americans can’t live without. But car parts don’t have to cost so much.

Used car parts make car ownership more affordable. With the right eye for parts, auto costs become much more manageable.

Where to Look for Used Car Parts

The first step in buying used car parts is knowing where to look. The dealership isn’t cutting you any breaks, so knowing where to look makes all the difference.


Looking online is the obvious first answer. Many vendors, including bidding sits, have used car parts for sale. Everything is available, from mufflers to trim parts.

However, buying online comes with a few pitfalls.

First, you can’t inspect the part before you buy. Knockoff parts are common, especially for bodywork, and the seller can write anything in the product description.

Second, it’s impossible to know 100 percent that the part in question fits the vehicle. Many parts are interchangeable, but some are make and model specific.

Third-Party In-person

These are Craigslist ads, neighbors, or even local vendors running their own resale business.

In the world of buying used car parts, this option is the easiest and safest, though maybe not the cheapest.

Third-parties will know the condition of their parts, their serial numbers, etc. Buyers can know they’re buying what’s advertised and can see the part in-person before purchase.


For those with a keen eye, junkyards make an excellent source of used car parts. They’re cheap, in-person, and readily available.

Buying parts from the junkyard means checking them yourself for quality, compatibility, etc.

However, junkyard prices are hard to beat, and the purchasing process is in-person. They’re second in terms of safety.

Protecting from Fraud

Buying the wrong, or broken, parts is the major pitfall of used car part shopping. One slip means money wasted.

Protecting from fraud is easy enough, but takes some knowledge and patience by the buyer.

Always check the part serial number and compare it to the known part number of the genuine part.

Calling the dealership is the easiest way to know the part in question is correct. They’ll have the part numbers on file by year, make, and model.

Every part is different and it’s almost impossible to know which part numbers correspond to which vehicle.

Even slight differences in transmission between vehicle years can change the part number in question.

Next, always ensure the part is in working order. This can mean asking for a demonstration or test with things like electronic components.

However, purely mechanical components often just need to pass the eye test. For example, rotors are rotors, unless they’re rusted or scratched.


Saving money on used parts means negotiating the price to something around fair market value (or lower).

This means knowing what the parts cost new, before going to make the purchase. Always have an idea of what you’re willing to pay before making the deal.

Most third-party resellers are willing to negotiate on price, as they’re probably getting the parts for a wholesale discount.

The most important question to ask when determining price revolves around mileage. The more miles the part has seen, the less it’s worth.

Remember that all auto parts depreciate in value as soon as they’re used. This includes everything from trim to tires.

As a rule of thumb, the closer to 100,000 miles, the less the price. Parts also quickly lose value as the mileage climbs closer to 100,000 miles.

It’s probably not even worth purchasing a part that’s seen around 100,000 miles unless it’s rare enough that finding it elsewhere becomes a challenge.

Part Installation

Buying the used car parts is only part of the process. The rest revolves around getting them installed.

There are three avenues to explore here.

First, dealerships will install used parts. They’ll probably charge the same service fee but won’t add on costs associated with purchasing parts.

Off all the options this is the most expensive.

Second, local mechanics can install third-party parts without any issue. They’ll also still charge a service see, but it’s likely to be considerably cheaper than the dealership.

Call around to local mechanics when verifying part numbers. The ones happy to help are probably willing to cut a deal on installation costs.

Lastly, the way to save the most money with used car parts is self-installation. Those with car savvy can install their used parts for free.

It’ll take time, but lack service costs. For the true DIY person this is the ultimate in keeping car costs down.

Used Parts Make Sense

When the average monthly car repair costs are one-fifth of the average monthly car payment, there’s an obvious issue.

The vehicle is depreciating in value every day, while repair costs stay constant. The cost-benefit simply doesn’t add up.

However, cars are an enormously important part of society, and so repair costs are something that won’t go away.

Following these used car parts shopping tips will make car repair costs a thing of the past.

Knowing where to shop, what to look for, how to protect from fraud, how to haggle, and the installation options can save hundreds. (if not more) of dollars per year.

People buy used cars all the time, so why not used car parts?

If you’re looking for a deal or help financing a used car, get in touch with us. Our experts have worked with people from all walks of life to make car ownership a reality.

Whatever you need, we have you covered.

Posted in Parts, Tips