Is your savings account running on empty? Have you found yourself on the expressway to 84-month car loans and an economic collision fueled by thousands of dollars in auto debt? If so, it’s time to get behind the steering wheel of your financial picture by opting for used car parts.

Car parts are expensive, which is why so many people turn to used car parts to repair their vehicles. Unfortunately, buyers risk ending up with poor-quality parts or sellers who don’t deliver on their promises when purchasing used. While adopting a one-driver’s-trash-is-another driver’s-treasure mentality may save you in the long haul, used car parts usually do not have warranties and return programs. Without the protection of a warranty, the additional expenses may outweigh the initial savings.

If you are considering repairing your car with used parts, you can learn from the mistakes other drivers have made when buying used car parts.

Not screening sellers thoroughly

All Truck and Car, a pick and pull in Utah, emphasizes the importance of adhering to the highest quality standards in the automotive parts. When choosing a seller offering used car parts, look closely at their policies regarding towing, warranties, and online inventory.

The best sellers offer free towing and guarantees against faulty parts. The warranties can be as simple as $1 per day per part. Reputable used car parts stores also keep robust online inventories to help shoppers save time looking for the items they need.

Not researching sellers

Rather than buying the first part you see at a local junkyard, you should take some time to do research. A cheat part might work for a few days or weeks, but to keep your car on the road, you’ll need the correct item.

Buying and installing defective parts only increases the time spent bus-bound. That said, ward off roadside disasters by taking an extra day or two to find the correct used part. One or two days without your vehicle is better than weeks after the defective part causes more damage. Take your time, research the parts you need, and only install pieces that fix your car, not harm it more.

Wasting your time with the wrong part

Even though many model years look the same, they often have subtle changes. For example, a 2011 Jeep Wrangler has a different engine than the 2012 model, despite the vehicles looking the same. If you buy an engine part for a 2011 Wrangler, it might not fit your 2012 model.

When repairing a car, you can waste significant time attempting to put the wrong part into the car. A reckless purchaser will have to take apart the vehicle and put it back together twice. To save your money and time, research the item in-depth and only buy the part you need. As an extra safety precaution, you’ll want to check the manual and talk to a trustworthy mechanic before you buy the wrong piece.

Failing to shop locally

If you only shop online, you could be missing out on a great deal at a local used car parts store. When you shop locally, you can build relationships with retailers. Local shops often charge affordable prices because they want repeat customers. They also have knowledgeable employees who can help you better understand how to fix your car.

When you only shop online, you never get to know the people behind the parts. They usually have chatbots to help customers rather than real people with experience fixing cars. Local retailers can deliver parts, tow your vehicle, and provide customized service because they know the people and the area.

Not learning the history of the car part

When you shop for a used car part, don’t forget to account for its past life. Some car parts lose effectiveness after a certain number of miles, and unfortunately, select used car parts sellers don’t disclose information related to an auto part’s history. You should not trust these sellers, as you need to know the history of the car part you need.

A reliable seller will share the history of the part so that you know if it was removed for upgrades or taken out of a totaled vehicle. 

Not learning the return policy

Before buying anything used, ask the seller about the return policy. If you accidentally buy the wrong part, you should be able to return it – at least for store credit. You should avoid sellers who refuse to take returns, even for a limited time.

Before you go

Taking time to find the right part from a reliable seller helps you affordably maintain your car. Choosing the quick and cheap route usually ends with your vehicle needing more expensive repairs that can leave a noticeable ding in your bank account balance. With this road hazard in mind, shop for used car parts thoughtfully.

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