A car parked in a field

Is It Safe to Buy Recycled Car Parts?

April 21, 2020

Featured Article

When something goes wrong with your car, you probably have no idea what the repair will cost. It’s safe to guess that it’ll probably be expensive, though — vehicle parts and labor costs are rarely cheap.

Whether you take your car to a garage or make the repair yourself, the cost for parts can add up fast – and you have a budget. Some stores sell aftermarket parts rather than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Aftermarket parts are less expensive than OEM parts, but they still have a new parts price tag.

So, is it really safe?

Fortunately, you don’t have to buy new parts to fix your car. You can save money by buying used parts for the repair. 

But is it safe to buy recycled car parts? Some parts show significant wear with age, but in most cases, used parts are safe to use as replacement parts.

Now, if some parts wear more than others, which ones are worth buying to save money? According to Wise Bread, here are your best bets:

  • Wheel rims
  • Spare tires
  • Side mirrors
  • Glass windows
  • Power locks
  • Transmissions
  • Alternators
  • Interior parts
A close up of a train car sitting on a bench

Where Can You Buy Recycled Car Parts?

There are many ways to find used car parts — from scavenging at junkyards to buying rebuilds online. Craigslist, eBay and social media markets are good places to look online.

If you go this route, pay attention to details so you order the right part for your vehicle. Take note of the seller’s return policy, too. Let common sense guide you, and you will save time, money and peace of mind.

Salvage and Junkyards

Salvage yards are the ideal solution when you must stick to a budget. As noted, used parts are less expensive than OEM and aftermarket parts. But here’s the thing: junkyard parts are usually OEM parts.

This means they will fit your car without voiding your existing warranties. OEM parts are often the safer choice as well, so you get quality and safety with affordability.

Junkyards are ideal for discontinued or hard-to-find parts. Used parts from a junkyard cost less than new parts that are still in stock at a store. Junkyard parts from newer, low-mileage cars are cheaper too.

Pick and Pull Junkyards

Pick and pull yards are self-operated junkyards with parts stores attached to them. They charge an entry fee – usually 10 dollars or less – as well as a price for each part taken from the vehicles on site.

Most pick and pull yards have crews that remove valuable parts from the vehicles. The parts are then entered into an inventory database and sold in person or through a storefront.

Some junkyards offer fixed pricing and a return policy. This allows you to buy OEM used parts without the stress and hassle of negotiating. Visit a reputable business like Tear-a-Part for the best possible experience.

A close up of a car

Classic Car Swap Meets

Is your car old enough to qualify as a classic? Swap meets are a unique way to buy used car parts. They are often hosted for classic cars, so the people you meet there know the ins-and-outs of your vehicle.

Swap meets are gatherings where car people bring parts they don’t need anymore to sell or trade for other parts. Like salvage yards, they can get you a good deal on used parts. But the same rule applies — no returns or exchanges.

Closing Thoughts

Buying recycled parts from a salvage yard – or even online – is a gamble. Do they have your vehicle make and model? Is the part you need available? Is it safe to use, and will it work after you install it?

The answers are not always clear. Recycled parts can be a lifesaver when you’re on a budget, but you must be careful when shopping. A used part that doesn’t fit, doesn’t work or isn’t safe – well, it does you no good. You want to fix your car and make it last longer.

To ensure quality, safety and affordability, know what you need and ask the right questions. Then decide if a recycled part is a good option. If everything works out, you could save a bundle on your car repair.

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