Some people are concerned about buying used auto parts because that are not sure about the quality of the part or where to find a good auto recycling business. "Where do I go to buy, how do I find the right part, what happens if the part isn't good, do I have to pull it myself, and is there any customer service?" There is some risk with buying used parts, but with a little effort you can save a lot of money by using recycled auto parts. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered here and I'll take a shot at resolving any concerns, because with a little research you can significantly lower your risk of buying used parts.
I think a good place to start when deciding on which place you want to buy parts from would be a referral. Either a friend or family member that has bought from an auto dismantler and had a good experience may have a recommendation. If you don’t know anyone that has bought parts for your type of car then look to the internet and search under terms like “used Audi parts” or “Audi auto recycler”. After you get some results then you can start doing some research on the businesses to see what kind of feedback they have received from their customers. Sites like Google places, Yelp, Facebook, and eBay can all provide you with information about the business along with reviews and ratings from customers.
Once you narrow down your choice of an auto dismantler then you can go to their websites and get information about their location, phone number and warranty. Regarding the warranty on used parts there are few things to consider as not all warranties that are the same length are the same. First off, most dismantling places don’t offer a labor warranty with their standard warranty that covers the installation of the part if it doesn’t work or goes bad during the time of the warranty. There are some places that offer this, but it is usually an additional cost. Next most warranties are a replacement warranty and therefore they don’t refund your credit card or give you cash in return if the part doesn’t work for some reason so it’s important to have it clear up front. Almost every dismantler that I know of will offer you a “yard credit” that allows you to return the part for a full credit to use on future purchases.
As you can see there is some risk to buying used parts, but I think it’s important to look at the reward that also available and make an informed choice on used parts in advance. Many times the decision will come down to the amount of potential savings vs. the potential risk of time and dollars. For example, if your car needs a part that you will pay a shop $700 to install and the part is $140- new and $60- used then I would say get the new one so you don’t risk the chance of it going bad and having to re-pay the shop another $700 to install it a second time. But many times you are either installing the part yourself or paying a shop and smaller cost to save a lot of money on the part. An example that comes to mind is an alternator. The alternator might be $350 new, but say you can get a used one that comes with a warranty for $75 and it only takes an hour or so to install then you get a huge savings that covers the small amount of risk.
Most of the time used parts will be good if the auto recycler takes the time to inspect and test the parts whenever possible, but occasionally the part is bad or goes bad during the warranty. Our warranty rate / returns is about 5% so given the amount of savings that are created with used parts is definitely a great way to save money. I heard one time that less than 10% of the population uses used parts to repair their car and it just blows my mind on the amount of savings and recycling that is not taking place because of this. Buying a used part will help save the environment as well since the part doesn’t have to use new materials to create it front scratch. Supporting auto dismantling businesses that recycle properly also helps keep the streets free of junk cars and makes sure that the hazardous materials and handled properly. What is your car but used parts anyway?
I'm Vince FaGalde and I've been in the auto dismantling businesses since I was 15 working for my father pulling parts on the weekends and after school. Since then I have worked in every position in the industry and have owned three different specialized recycling businesses.