Auto parts are typically dirty, complex and expensive. That makes shopping for them no fun whatsoever. Worse yet, a lack of technical knowledge can make you feel unknowledgeable and vulnerable as a consumer. As a result, you may find yourself at the mercy of your dealer’s parts department. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’ve diagnosed the problem and know what parts you need, one great way to pick up parts on the cheap that’s often overlooked by consumers is through refurbished parts
dealers. They offer nearly new parts for a fraction of the cost of a shiny, new equivalent.
Auto dismantlers and recyclers like Bavarian Auto Recycling
sell refurbished and durability tested parts at a massive discount over new parts. For example, a new driveshaft for a late-80s BMW 3-Series
runs nearly $400 new, but refurbished they’re available for just around $200. There are parts recyclers out there for most manufacturers, and a quick Internet search should reveal several sources for less expensive refurbished parts.
are also great places to look for auto parts. People gut cars and sell everything from seats and shift knobs to transmissions and engines at a discount online. Use caution with sites like Craigslist though. While eBay will help you get your money back if a part doesn’t work as promised, Craigslist may leave you out on your own, so it’s best to buy smaller items there and leave the big ticket parts for auction sites.
If you’ve got a real beater car that seems to be constantly going through parts, think about purchasing another damaged car and using it as a parts donor. There is a very small market for dying parts cars, so it could easily pay for itself even if you only need a few pieces from it. Plus, it’s always nice to have backup parts just in case.