Used Auto Parts vs. New Auto Parts, Part 1

by Joe Ferguson on August 27, 2013


If your car has pieces that need replacing, it can be tricky to decide where to find those parts. Should you buy used? Are new auto parts really all they’re cracked up to be? These are burning questions that can leave you feeling overwhelmed. This is part 1 in a series about navigating the wilderness of car-part buying. Today’s focus: when to buy your auto parts new.

As we all know, the best place to find auto parts is your local salvage yard. Salvage yards are a veritable cornucopia of used and new auto parts. For an automotive repair project, be sure to consult your local salvage yard before ordering expensive parts from the major suppliers.

There are some parts on your car that should never be replaced with used parts. Brake rotors, starters, and alternators are all meant to wear down over time, so replacing them with used parts will just have you back at the auto shop in a couple of weeks. Don’t waste time and money; replace these parts new.

Any rubber consumables on your car should be replaced with new auto parts as well. Even if the car you’re taking the parts from has low mileage and seems to be in perfect condition, the rubber around the brake lines, various hoses, and belts can dry rot and degrade over time. This isn’t just a waste of money; it could be very dangerous and potentially fatal.

Shocks and struts are more car parts that are meant to wear over time. Conventional wisdom says that you can’t trust these parts after 50,000 miles. Don’t waste your time and money by replacing your car’s shocks and struts with used parts, as you’ll be right back where you started in a few hundred miles. It’s always best to replace them new.

Hopefully this arms you with a little more knowledge about which parts should be replaced new. You may not realize this, but your local salvage yard is a great place to find new auto parts as well as used ones at cheaper prices than you’ll find at the manufacturer. Next time, we’ll discuss when buying used is the better option.

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