Save Hundreds Purchasing Used Car Parts

Updated August 29, 2012

Do you have an older car that you are pouring thousands of dollars into to maintain, because you just can't afford a new one.  Are you struggling to keep your hunk of junk on the road?  I've been there.  There are ways to ease the burden of the costs incurred when you are trying to maintain a used car and keep it on the road!  I will highlight some safe, cost-effective solutions to doing just that in this article!

Which parts do you save the most money buying at a junkyard or through another after market venue?

For instance, I will use my car as an example.  A 1996 Honda Accord 2.2 L Engine a used (after-market) alternator is $70.45 at  Once the part is replaced and you return the core, you will get a $35 refund.

A new alternator for a 1996 Honda Accord 2.2 L Engine costs $137.99 at Auto Zone.  You are also charged for the Alternator Core, which is $65.  Your cost ends up being $202.99.  You can, however, return the core and get credit for it, but your old core that is removed is only worth less than half of what you are charged for the new core.  You will get back about $30-$35 for your old core.  That still makes your Alternator cost at least $172.99.  You just saved over $100 if you replaced your alternator with an after-market place, which does not include the refund you will receive if you bring back your core.

In another instance, let's pretend my starter is not working anymore.  If I were to go have it put in at a shop, I would have to pay for a new part and labor.  I have no problem fetching the part from a junkyard and giving it to the shop to put in.  They won't either.  They need your business.

A starter for a 1996 Honda Accord 2.2 L Engine costs $79.99 plus a $42 core charge at Auto Zone.  That's a total of $121.99.  The average cost of a used starter at a junkyard or on Ebay is about $50.  You can return the core when the replacement part is installed, but again, you will receive less than half the value of the new core charge.  You may get $20 back.  You just saved over $70 if you replaced your starter with an after-market starter.  This doesn't include what you will get if you bring your core back.  That's almost a $100 savings if you do bring it back!

Often the largest cost accrued when you have a major car part replaced is the cost of a new part.  Usually the labor is more of a minor cost than purchasing the actual new part.  Buying an older part that is refurbished, or that has been pulled out of another car that is off the road is smart and saves you hundreds literally.  For instance,

The only thing you risk with buying after market parts is that the same problem might occur sooner, but you are going to have constant problems with an older used car anyhow.  I speak from personal experience.  Its just not worth putting money into a used car for new parts when all the other parts are worn and used and you probably won't keep the car for the length of the new product's lifespan, anyhow.  That's something to think about.

Here is a list of car part links that you can research and buy parts from if necessary.  Contrast and compare and see how much you really save buying after-market parts!