When many people think of car parts, they automatically think that they must be bought new or else there is little point. However, that isn’t always the case. There are many people who want to keep their wheels running well on the cheap or modify that project car on a low budget. Buying slightly used car parts may just be their ticket in.
There are certain parts that are very easy and stress-free to buy used. Mufflers, for instance, can easily be visually inspected for rust or holes. Body panels are as good as they look to the naked eye. Interior pieces likewise. Bigger ticket items are sometimes more complicated, however.
If you are looking to upgrade your car with a supercharger kit, for example, it may be very difficult to verify if the unit is in good working order without taking it apart or seeing it run on another car. There are enthusiasts who get tired of a modification and simply take it off and sell it as like new, but people with that much consideration are sometimes difficult to find. It’s important that you don’t take any complex parts for their face value. Get some verification of some sort.
Wheels and tires are big items that can be bought used. Certain makes of wheels can be very costly if bought new, thousands of dollars in some cases. Buying used wheels is a great way to get genuine wheels that you want that may just be a little dirty or perhaps scratched a tiny bit (often fixable). Tires are a little more difficult since it is difficult to judge the condition of a tire completely until it is on the car. The belts in the tire could be broken leading to a continuous noise and reduced grip, they could be poorly balanced leading to shaking in the steering wheel, or they could be unevenly worn by the previous car they were on. Taking used tires to a mechanic with tire mounting hardware is usually a good move, especially if you are going to be saving a lot of money.
Another thing to keep in mind is those that modify their cars likely are looking to get rid of the stock parts that came off the car. In many cases, these modifications are done early in the ownership of the seller’s car and the stock parts that come off are relatively new. You can save more than half the original part’s price by looking out for these deals. Similarly, people with beat-up cars may look to ‘part out’ their cars as opposed to selling the entire car as-is. This means that they sell the individual parts off the car that are still in decent condition. Look around for cars that are the same make and model as yours and bring a list of the parts that you will need. Good deals can be had with part outs.
Lastly, try not to buy consumable parts used. Tires can often be viewed as an exception, but things like serpentine belts and oil filters are a big no-no to buy used as the whole point of changing these parts out is so that they are new. Other consumables not to buy used include spark plugs, batteries, radiators, clutches, and any brake components.