First, let’s figure out how the used spare parts market works, and a little lower we will give practical advice: what you can take and what pitfalls to pay attention to.
The main source of used parts is Car Junkyards, where heavily damaged cars end up in an accident. Which are unprofitable to restore. Cars are rented by both individuals and insurance companies.
In addition to spare parts from cars broken to the state of “emergency”. There are many parts on the market written off during repairs by official dealers. For example, if the headlight has a broken mount, then it must be immediately replaced with a new one. The parts remaining after repair become the property of insurance companies. They buy the whole marriage for a penny, or even just take some company. Which sorts and determines the future fate of the goods: something is sold immediately, and something is restored.
What to look for when buying used parts
Body elements. Parts such as the hood and bumpers are very often damaged in accidents, so there are a lot of already restored elements in the disassembly. Body repairers claim that an original used part can be better than a non-original one.
The fact is that the latter may have inaccurate mounting holes and they have to be redone. Used body parts are 60-70% cheaper than new ones. But shipping can be expensive. So look for car junkyards near me. Then shipping will not increase the cost of the part.
Chassis. It is quite safe to take brackets and fasteners. But shock absorbers, silent blocks, CV joints should be chosen with a specialist. Used brake discs and pads sell for pennies, but they may need to be re-sharpened.
It is dangerous to take those elements that directly affect safety – hoses, calipers, vacuum and hydraulic brake boosters, ball joints, steering tips, airbag sensors and the airbags themselves. Is it worth the risk?
The interior of the car also falls into disrepair. They ask for cheap seats, and some buyers specifically take versions from more expensive models – more comfortable.
The ceiling is in demand: if yours is heavily rotten, then it is not always possible to remove dirt. On disassembly, you can look for locks, switches and various buttons.
Refrain from purchasing items that are subject to strong natural wear and tear: glove compartment, gear knob, steering column switches.
It is dangerous to buy a steering wheel with an integrated airbag – it may look good, but at the right time the airbag will not work.
Engine and electrical. Installing a used engine, gearbox, starter or alternator can be cheaper than a repair. If a malfunction is detected, the part will be replaced, but the removal / installation will not be compensated. Therefore, you should prefer a company that immediately offers both the unit and its installation.
It makes no sense to take a used battery and drive belts.
The cooling system usually requires new parts to be repaired. You should not save on the purchase of sensors, a radiator, pipes, a thermostat, a pump – with a high probability such used parts will fail.
As you can see, you can buy used parts, but you need to be extremely careful.