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Buying replacement car parts – everything you need to know

  Monday, 12 June 2017

Warehouse with organised racks of used car parts

So, your car has finally decided to kick up a fuss and the fault is a single part.  If this is the first time you’ve shopped for a new car part – whatever that part may be – there’s a fair chance you might feel a bit intimidated.  After all, this is your car: something you rely on every day.

To help, below is a guide on buying replacement car parts.

First things first, which parts can I buy?

The great thing about the after-market is that you can buy pretty much every car part second-hand.  At our online parts store we sell everything from gear sticks to whole engines.  If you’re at all unsure whether we’ve got the part you need, you can get in touch, but it’s fairly safe to assume you will be able to get a replacement.

Should I really go second-hand, or would new be better?

As with most things there are pluses and minuses to both.

Second-hand parts – as with second-hand vehicles – are usually cheaper.  What’s more, you can also usually track down the part specific to your car, even if it’s an older model.  (If you’ve got an older vehicle, it may be that your manufacturer won’t have new compatible parts in stock, but this will depend on how rare your car is).

With new parts, you’ll pay more, but you’re likely to get a bit of additional security.  For some drivers, that’s worth the extra cost.

Looking to buy car parts? Click here to take a look at our range

How do I obtain the correct car part?

There are a number of things you’ll need to look at when identifying the right part for your car:

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN) – this is a number that specifically relates to your car, and can be used to locate the right part.  (Manufacturer’s data tables will often store this information).
  • Part codes – on some occasions, the part itself will have a code, though you might need to dig through the dirt and grease to see it.  Again, this can be a sure-fire way of knowing you’ve got the right part.
  • Part comparison – it can be possible to take the part you’ll be replacing and to simply compare it to the parts available online or at your local parts store.  You’ll need to be detailed in checking, though: it can help to consult those who actually work at your local dealer, as they might be able to help.

Where can I find the right parts?

At our auto parts store, we stock a wide, ever-changing range of parts.  However, we know that we’re not going to have every single part our customers need, every single time.  So, here are a few other options to consider:

  • Your own local scrap yards.  If you’ve got a local scrap yard within easy reach, it may be worth checking out their stock.  Even if their catalogue isn’t as comprehensive as ours, you might get lucky.
  • Swap meets.  The used car enthusiast market is always popular and as a result you can actually attend meetings where fans will swap parts with each other.  Get online and see if you’ve got one that’s local.
  • Dealers.  Going down this route will often be more expensive, but they’ll nearly always be able to source a part if you’re happy to pay extra.
  • Forums.  Really stumped?  Head online and check out one or two of the car enthusiast forums.  Forums often have a ‘buy or sell’ section, and you might find what you’re looking for.
  • ebay.  Though it can be risky buying through eBay (unless you’re buying from our store, of course) you may just find what you’re looking for.  It’s obviously important to ensure you research the seller’s feedback and reputation.

Should you replace the car parts yourself?

Depending how DIY savvy you are, it is perfectly possible to replace car parts yourself.  However, it’s best to be cautious.  If you get something wrong, the consequences can be fatal.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you get something badly wrong – even if you never take the car on the road – you’ll definitely end up will much bigger bills than the replacement would have cost you had you paid a professional in the first place.

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