If you're handy enough to work on your own vehicle, buying used parts instead of new parts can translate into a significant amount of money saved over the course of your project. When shopping for used parts, you have the choice of a variety of retailers and private sellers, both online and in person. Although buying online can often be effective if you know exactly what you're looking for and you're dealing with a reputable seller, it also carries risks. If you're new to the process of buying used car parts, it's safer to do some in-person shopping to ensure you can see and handle each part before purchasing it. Here are three places to shop.
An auto salvage yard can be an effective place to find quality used auto parts at competitive prices. Some salvage yards provide retail space for selling an extensive selection of used parts, while others simply provide an inventory of the vehicles they have on their premises, which you can then consult to determine if there's a vehicle that will have the part you need. The benefit to shopping at a salvage yard is that you can often find parts is nearly-new condition; if a vehicle has been scrapped after being severely rear-ended, for example, there's a good chance that its engine components are perfectly sound.
Swap meets can go by different names depending on their geographical location, but the common bond is that you'll likely run into multiple sellers offering a supply of used car parts. While it might take visiting a few swap meets to find exactly what you need, the major benefit of this type of shopping experience is that you'll often find success in haggling to get the best price possible. A useful strategy is to try haggling toward the end of the event; the seller might be resistant to packing up the part and transporting it home, which could help you get it for lower price.
Although you won't find used car parts at every car show, many shows double as a marketplace for car enthusiasts. It's ideal to take your search to such an event because you'll be dealing with fellow automobile buffs who can share extensive knowledge about the parts you need. Additionally, the car community often tends to be tight; if one seller doesn't have the part you need, he or she might be able to connect you with someone who does.