Used Auto Parts Can Save

Let me start by saying that I'm sure that there are lots of issues around used auto parts.  I don't claim to know much of anything about them.  However, the other day, the window in my car made a funny noise as it went down, and then it wouldn't go back up.  I took it to my favorite shop and unfortunately discovered that my favorite mechanic was GONE!  Ack.  However, I left the car there anyway and figured that I'd use this as an opportunity to discover if I liked these new people.

The verdict?  A blown motor, to the tune of like $450 with labor.  Given that I'm only nursing this car along until we PCS in June, that makes me very cranky.  On a whim, I called a (relatively) nearby auto part recycling/junkyard place to see how much that part would cost if I purchased it used.  $125.  And they could install it for $75.  Hmmm, a $250 savings.  It would take me an hour to get there, plus I'd have to sit and wait, plus an hour back, but I thought that was worth it.

I called the shop and told them that I was going to come pick up the car.  I said that I could get the part at Brandywine and then just get it installed there.  The shop staff countered that I could have the part mailed, then they would install it.  They even offered to discount my labor.  Sounded good to me.  I was ordering the part when the shop called back again, and said that they'd magically found a new part at about the same price as the used part I was ordering.  Outstanding!

Granted, their labor is a little more expensive than the junkyard's labor, but it is saving me at least three hours of driving (with the window stuck down) and sitting.  I will be saving at least $150 off the originally quoted price.

If you need a non-essential part on a car, it seems that used parts would be worth the look, especially if the car is older and you don't anticipate having it for a very long time.  Just looking for the used part could pay off by making your auto repair shop get creative.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.