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How to buy second-hand car parts

Posted on May 4, 2018 at 10:25 AM



No matter how well you look after your car, over time things are going to break or need replacing due to standard wear and tear. Another reason you may need to get something replaced is following a car park prang or accidental damage. If you have an older vehicle then it may not be easy or cost-effective to choose a new replacement part which is where you may want to start considering second-hand car parts.

Whether you are carrying out the repairs yourself or having these done by a mechanic the first step will be working out what parts need replacing. From superficial damage to panels and bodywork to engine parts, there are a wide range of used car parts available on the market.

How to find suitable parts

It’s not quite as simple as just saying you need a front wing for your Ford Fiesta as most car manufacturers have released several versions of the same vehicle all of which are slightly different. So in order to make sure the part you pick will fit your vehicle here are some checks you can carry out to identify the version.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – Your VIN should be your first port of call and the location of this will be in your car’s user manual. Once you have your VIN number you’ll be able to find matching parts for your car by looking at the manufacturer’s data tables.

Part Codes – The majority of engine parts will have a part code on them, but these could be difficult to find as they are likely to be covered in dirt and grease.

Visual inspection – For those who are used to working with car parts, a visual inspection is often enough to identify the right replacement part. Mechanics that are used to working with a particular manufacturer will normally be able to order parts following a visual inspection.

Where to buy used car parts

Once you have identified what parts you need the next step is to find somewhere to buy them. One of the best places to start is with your local car scrap yard and breakers yards. These are often a great option for those looking for parts for older vehicles as the parts can be difficult to find elsewhere.

As well as local scrap yards there are also a wide range of online stores where you can purchase second-hand car parts. Some of these offer product search facilities to help you quickly find the part you are looking for.

What parts should you avoid buying second-hand?

There are some car parts that you just shouldn’t buy used as they are likely to deteriorate quicker over time the older they are. With this in mind the following parts should only be purchased new:

Exhaust – from rust and holes to cracks and fissures, an old exhaust is likely to cause more problems and need replacing sooner than expected.

Wiper blades – it can be tempting to pick up a pair of cheap wiper blades second-hand but the reality is they will never work as good as a new set of blades.

Brake pads and discs – an essential part of your car’s brake system this is one area where you should always buy new. After all you’re reliant on your brakes to stop your vehicle quickly and keep you safe so this is not the place to be looking to save money. Used car parts can save you money and for older vehicles, these are often a great choice to help keep your vehicle roadworthy and in good condition.

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