Every home mechanic knows that you can save a heap of money sourcing your own spare parts. Whether these parts come from a wrecker, a reconditioned parts dealer or an online source like eBay, there are big savings on offer. However, for inexperienced shoppers, it’s easy to end up with poor quality or incorrect parts. If you’re looking for some replacement parts, we have a few tips to help ensure you get the best parts for the best price.
Do your Research
Before you start shopping around, you need to do your research. Working out what part you need is just the start. Check with your owner’s manual to make sure you have the exact specifications for the part you need. Specs can vary between vehicle years and models, so you want to ensure you know exactly what you need.
You should also make sure you have all the pertinent information applicable to your vehicle. Get the vehicle year and model and the vehicle identification number (VIN). This information can help the seller ensure that the part is correct for your vehicle.
However, rather than trusting the seller, you’re always better off knowing the exact specifications for the part you need. So, make sure you know exactly what part you need before getting started.
Next you’ll want to do a little online research to compare prices. You’d be surprised how widely spare part prices can vary. A little online research will help you to determine the average price and avoid paying too much.
Find a Reliable Seller
The next step in your research should be finding a reliable seller. Like used car salespeople, parts resellers can be an unscrupulous bunch. So finding a seller you can trust is vital. Firstly, you want to be sure that you’re getting genuine parts in top condition. You also want to make sure you get what you’ve paid for. For instance, the last thing you want to do is pay for Mazda 3 spare parts and find you’ve instead been sold parts for a Ford Falcon.
At this point, it’s best to have a list of sellers you would be happy using. Speak with each seller about what parts they have available and the cost. You can then shop around for the best deal.
Once you’ve shortlisted a few good sellers, get online and check out their reviews. Ignore the testimonials on their website and instead have a look at their Google reviews or the feedback on their Facebook page. Look for bad reviews and see how the seller has responded to these reviews to get a sense of their customer service and dedication to customer satisfaction.
If you’re buying from an online marketplace, like eBay, it’s even more important to check the reviews and buyer feedback. When buying from sources like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, look for local sellers that will let you inspect the parts before buying.
Verify the Parts
Once you have found the parts, you need to verify they are of good quality and what you’re looking for. The seller should be able to provide all the specifications, which you can compare to the research you did earlier. Don’t be afraid to ask for photos of the part to confirm condition or any other details you’re unsure about. If you’re buying from a local seller, you may want to take the time to go inspect the parts in person before buying.
Find out about Warranties
Spare parts, especially used parts, can come with their defects and problems. To buy with confidence, you should find out what kind of warranty the parts come with. If the seller isn’t willing to offer any warranty, then you should be suspicious and consider taking your business elsewhere.
Make sure you understand the terms of this warranty. There may be a time limit, exemptions or actions that can void the warranty. It’s best to get a printed copy of the warranty and keep this safe so you can refer to it if needed.
Find out about Return Policies
Along with checking if there is a warranty on any parts you purchase, it’s also a good idea to find out the seller’s return policy. You may find that the part does not fit, despite your best research, or that you no longer wish to replace the part.
There are many reasons why you may want to return the part, but not all of them may be covered by a seller’s return policy. Make sure you are aware of the policy in full before purchasing anything. Otherwise, you may find yourself out of pocket and with a car part you do not want.
Before purchasing spare car parts, make sure you do your research on the parts required and sellers in your area. Be informed before making any purchases to minimise complications later on if something goes wrong.