Car Part Buying Tips


Looking for that specialty part? Looking for common but necessary part?

You have many alternatives for buying either type of part.

Most people probably think first of their local auto parts store when in need of a part or component. And that's a good thing. Local parts stores stock everything from wash mitts to complete crate engines. (Keep in mind that they also often provide services like turning brake drums and rotors, testing batteries, and tool loan services.)

But there are alternatives to buying new. Consider your local salvage yard. It used to be that when you wanted a part from a salvage yard you had to be prepared to get it yourself. That's right. If you wanted a headlight, for example, the proprietor would point you in the right direction in his salvage yard where you could find vehicles like yours. But then you were on your own. You had to find and dismantle the headlight from a vehicle using your own tools. It's not that way today. Most salvage dealers today have their parts organized on shelves so that they can quickly locate your part. Popular on-shelf parts include headlights, taillights, alternators, a/c compressors, power steering pumps, and starters.

Another alternative is online shopping. You just need to enter the make, model and year of your car, then the part description (or better yet a part number). Powerful search engines then go to work looking in many places for the part you need. These include parts stores, warehouses, new car dealerships, salvage yards and private sellers. When they find your part, they notify you by email or phone. You can then pick and choose from whom you want to purchase your part, based on who offers the best price, best warranty, availability, and best delivery time.

You can online shop for new parts, used, refurbished, rebuilt performance, and classic auto parts.

What better way to find classic auto parts than through an online, worldwide part search? Because these parts are rare, you could spends days at classic car shows or looking through heaps of old parts in the hopes you would find yours. Compare finding a new, commonly used part like an alternator for a recent model year car to, for example, trying to find a window wash reservoir for a 1941 Cadillac. Finding a needle in a haystack would probably be easier. Unless, of course, you use the internet. Search engines do the work for you, literally while you sleep, so that all of the time and effort you would normally spend looking for parts and components for your classic car, you can spend actually working on it and making it the car of your dreams.

So use all of these alternatives when buying parts. Your local parts store may have what you need, but so may the salvage dealer up the road - at a fraction of the cost. Check out internet part searches, if you haven't already. And be on the lookout for parts from used car dealers, new car dealers, at car shows, and from private sellers. Chances are that somewhere, maybe in an old junkyard or in someone's garage, your part is there waiting for you to find it.