Used Car Parts vs. Brand New Parts: Is it Safe to Buy Used?

 

  • There may be some instances where used parts make better economic sense at the time, but you have to weigh the pros and cons before buying. 
  • The biggest challenge in buying used parts is that you don’t know their history or what quality you are truly getting. 
  • The environmental benefits of used parts are notable, but still may not be enough to justify the purchase for some people. 

 

When you are in the market for auto parts, you might be tempted to buy used parts to save some money. After all, used parts are almost always less expensive than new parts, regardless of whether you are considering OEM or aftermarket options. There are some instances where used parts may be more expensive, so you need to do your homework and learn about all of your options before you buy replacement parts. 

If you are going to buy used vehicle parts, you have to be diligent in finding reputable parts from dealers or stores that you can trust. You should never buy parts from some guy that you met in an online forum, of course, because there is no guarantee of anything there. You could get ripped off entirely, or even get a bad fit and have no recourse for return or replacement. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of buying used parts, and whether it’s worth the potential risks. 

Used Parts: The Pros

Buying used parts can certainly be much cheaper than investing in genuine OEM replacement parts that are brand new. For people who are in a tight spot, it might just do in a pinch. As mentioned above, used may not always be cheaper, but these parts typically tend to have a cost of about half to two-thirds of OEM retail. 

Used auto parts are also better for the environment. Not only are you reducing the need for more production by purchasing used parts, but you are often salvaging items that cannot otherwise be disposed of, so reusing them may the best option for the environment. The environmental perk is one that draws a lot of vehicle owners to the used parts market, and especially in the current economy. However, this alone may not be enough of a benefit to make buying used the right choice. 

In some cases, you may be able to get better quality or higher-grade parts than you could afford when you buy used parts instead of new. For people on a limited budget or those looking to get more for their money, this is a huge advantage. Speaking of limited budgets, buying used may also be a great option if you’re trying to get by for a little while or if you want to get a quick fix that will hold you over until you can afford a genuine OEM replacement. 

The Cons of Buying Used Car Parts

The biggest drawback of choosing used parts is that you may not know their exact history. You cannot be certain of their condition, as briefly mentioned above, and are relying on someone to tell you precisely what you are getting. It is essentially a “buyer beware” situation, and that isn’t always ideal for every vehicle owner. 

When you buy used parts, even from a retail store, as opposed to from an individual that you find online, there is rarely a guarantee or warranty on the parts that you buy. If there is, it will be short or so limited that it’s probably not even worth having in the first place. New parts always come with a manufacturer’s warranty to ensure that you get the most out of your investment and get the peace of mind that the parts will last for many years to come. 

Buying used parts also takes a lot more time and effort on your part, typically, and will require more diligence in getting parts from a trusted source. Some places selling used parts are junkyards, and they may need you to come pull your parts or at least pick them up. Being able to order new parts online and have them shipped to your home is more convenient and takes up less of your time.

Rebuilt vs. Used Parts

Another consideration that you’ll come across when shopping for car parts is the option between new, used, or rebuilt (remanufactured) parts. These parts are slightly better than used because they have been professionally rebuilt and certified as genuine used parts. However, they are still used parts, so that will need to be at the front of your mind when researching your options. For items like a transmission or engine, having a rebuilt replacement might be the cheapest and most effective solution. For less expensive parts, new is still generally the better way to go. 

For older vehicles or those with hard-to-find parts, rebuilt and used may be your only two shopping options. In that situation, it is best to go with rebuilt or remanufactured parts, because those at least usually include a warranty. That way, you can still get quality and peace of mind even when you can’t buy brand new parts. 

It’s All About Safety

You do not want to buy used auto parts blindly. You should always ask a lot of questions to make sure that you get as much information about the parts as possible. Find out how long they were used, whether they’ve had any other work if they were OEM on the vehicle they are coming from or are second-generation used (not good), and so forth. If you can’t get the peace of mind that you need, it might be best to stick with new vehicle parts. 

You should also never buy regular wear parts as used parts. What are “regular wear” parts? These are things like your wiper blades, brake pads, air and oil filters, and related items. These parts aren’t expensive to buy new, and there is no sense in replacing your already-worn parts with another set of worn parts. Just buy new with routine maintenance and wear parts and accessories and save yourself the hassle. 

Check to see whether warranties are available on the parts that you are buying. In some cases, dealers or used parts stores might offer a limited warranty or some exchange or replacement guarantee. If, however, you are purchasing a used part from Joe off the street, you’ll never have any guarantee that it will be worth your money. If you insist on choosing used parts, at least buy them from a company rather than an individual. 

Another safety concern that comes up when buying used auto parts is the security and protection involved in the online transaction process. Used parts dealers may not have the best cart software or security features in place for online transactions. They may also have limited payment and shipping options, which is more of an inconvenience than a safety issue, but still worth mentioning. It’s about making sure that your buying experience is simple and secure, and that will almost always be more of a guarantee when you choose to buy from new auto parts dealers. 

The Bottom Line

As long as you are careful in shopping with reputable online dealers or parts stores, you should have no trouble getting the best parts for your needs, regardless of whether you choose to buy new or used. Just keep these tips in mind and make sure that you do your homework so that you know what you are getting for your money. In most cases, people will realize that the perks of buying new parts are worth the extra investment. If nothing else, the potential risks of used auto parts might be enough to change your mind and steer you towards genuine OEM replacement parts. Either way, you now have the information that you need to make that decision. 

At Autofixa, we’ve got all of the genuine OEM replacement parts that you need at prices that you can afford. Before you settle for a used replacement, ask us about the perks of choosing new car parts when you shop with us. Check out our website now or contact us to learn more. 

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