Buying used auto parts for your vehicle is an excellent way to save money but you need to make sure you are getting the right part and that it is in good condition. There are some things you can do to help ensure the part you buy is going to work on your car and is in working condition.
1. Take Your Old Part With You
The number one rule of buying parts at a salvage yard is to take the old part from your car with you unless it is too large to transport easily. The reasons for this is so that you have a reference to compare the part you are buying against. You may take a part off a car that is the same year, make, and model as your car and find the part is different than yours. This happens when the manufacturer changes a design mid-production and the part may or may not work so watch for this.
Sometimes the part looks slightly different but all the mounts are correct and the dimensions are the same as your part. In this situation, you may be able to use the part but be careful because the part is yours once you leave the yard. Most yards do not take returns on used parts so if you get it home and it is wrong, you may be stuck with something that does not fit your needs.
2. Inspect the Part Carefully
Used parts are always a bit of a gamble so it is important to take a good look at the part before you purchase it. For parts with pulleys, check the pulley for damage, check the case for cracks, and check the vents in the case for signs of fire or arcing. Check all the connections on any part that has a plug or ring connection on it. The terminals should be tight and in good condition.
Starters and parts with gears should have all the teeth on the gears and not have chipping or cracks in them and parts that have mounting tabs cast onto them need to have all the tabs in place. If one is missing, do not use the part even if it looks like the others will hold the part in place.
3. Don’t Stop at One Part
While you may only need one part, don’t stop looking for the right part until you are sure the one you found is the correct one for your car. If you are looking at parts that are still on the car, you don’t want to disassemble multiple cars to compare parts but don’t hesitate to look at several cars before you remove a part.
You can check a lot of the items in your inspection checklist before you pull the part out of the donor car so take your time and check several cars that have the parts you need to be sure you get the best part for your money.
4. Take Everything Your Need
Some parts require brackets or bolts that you may not have from your old part. When you are pulling a part off a car, make sure you pull off brackets and save bolts that you may need for your car. The salvage yard operator may charge a couple of dollars more for the brackets or bolts, but it is better to have all the parts you need then to get home and realize the part you bought fits but the bracket on your car is wrong.
At City Auto Wreckers, we have thousands of parts on hand and many used vehicles that you can purchase. Give us a call to inquire about a part for your car or come see us so we can help you find a quality used part for your project. We look forward to working with you.