When I got my first car twenty years ago, I was clueless when it came to maintaining it and keeping it in a roadworthy condition. As a result, I had to pay for costly repairs that could have been avoided if the car had been looked after better. I learned my lesson and started reading everything I could about basic car maintenance. I started this blog to share what I've learned in the hopes it will save other new drivers making costly mistakes. I blog about a variety of topics, such as troubleshooting uneven tyre wear, the benefits of regular servicing and maintaining your car during the winter months. I hope you find my blog useful.
Wherever you live there will be a second hand car parts supplier nearby. In all probability it will be a breakers yard, such as Carbusters Auto Wreckers. There is a booming market in second hand car parts for two very good reasons:
Second hand car parts are not the same as reconditioned parts although they have both been used previously. A reconditioned part has been removed from a vehicle, stripped and rebuilt so that it is like new. It should come with a year's warranty. A second hand car part is just taken from a donor vehicle and sold as it is. It may come with a one month warranty.
Sources of second hand car parts
The main place to purchase these parts is the local breakers yard. Here professionals will have assessed the vehicle, its age and mileage and then removed the parts they believe can be reused. It used to be possible to remove the parts yourself but health and safety regulations have made this impossible in many places. It is also possible to order parts via either the phone or internet. There are several well established businesses which will find the part you need.
The second place you will find parts available is in private classifieds. Many people remove a good standard part to upgrade it or split a car themselves. These parts come with no warranty and are taken at face value. Sometimes it is even possible to find an entire donor car via these classifieds.
Second hand parts are generally as safe as new parts. If they are from the same make and model of vehicle then they will simply bolt on and off. They will work as effectively and safely as the originals.
There are several cases where this is not true. You should never replace brake parts second hand. All brakes wear at different rates and putting second hand parts on your vehicle will affect the responsiveness of your brake system. Exhausts are usually not sourced from the second hand parts market as they corrode making it very difficult to remove and refit successfully.
Used engine oil or transmission fluids should never be reused. There will be many contaminants in this which could damage your engine.
It is also advisable to be cautious if you are purchasing a replacement head. If you do not know the history it is possible it is either cracked or warped and will be no good to you.
The majority of second hand car parts will be safe to reuse and a physical inspection is all that is required. For the more delicate parts the best advice is to purchase from a breaker with a warranty to provide peace of mind.