Tips for Buying Good Used Car Parts for DIY Repairs
In this post we consider 4 simple rules that would increase the chances of getting good used car parts for that your planned DIY repair. Even if you do not plan on carrying out the repair DIY style, you may need to be the one to buy the part(s) for your mechanic. Just a word of advice, If you leave your mechanic to shop for all your replacement parts, he MAY be ripping you off! Mine did this for years before I became a DIY freak and I caught him with a 214% inflated cost for new rotors asides labour fees! I consider this piece critical, especially for readers from Nigeria where you may be constrained to getting used OEM parts because available new ones are just cheap Chinese knock-offs.
Another reason why you may need to use used OEM car parts in Nigeria is because new OEM parts may sometimes only be found abroad. Add up shipping costs, time to delivery, and the fact that you may just need your car back on the road like yesterday, and good used OEM parts becomes quite attractive. Of course, the strong US dollar makes it even more expensive to import parts now! For all these, I was in the market quite recently for a used VTEC oil pressure switch (Part was used for this post: Replacement of Leaking VTEC Oil Pressure Switch). Here are the tips I used to get a really good part that works!
1. Don’t get loose parts: As much as possible, do not buy loose parts. Get the ones still bolted to an engine or part of an engine assembly. I learnt this tip from a user Gazzuzz of nairaland.com. Many used car parts dealers will rework loosened parts and sell them as genuine ones. In fact, while I was at Mgbuka Obosi (largest used car parts market in the south-east of Nigeria) to buy a replacement VTEC oil pressure switch, I learned that some parts dealers would use super-glue (adhesive) on leaky pressure switches and sell them to unsuspecting clients. I was told I won’t be able to tell the difference! After sampling a whole bunch of loose parts I finally got one still bolted to its VTEC spool valve assembly. The dealer charged slightly higher for this.
2. Inspect for dents and blemishes: Even when the part meets the 1st criteria above, ensure that it’s free from dents. If it’s a part that’s threaded, ensure the threads aren’t crossed etc. While on this trip I was served a VTEC oil pressure switch with a dent on the 22mm part and another with crossed threads. The dealer made frantic efforts to convince me that it still worked, but for me, rule number 2 had failed so no deal!
3. Test the Part: If possible, ask the dealer to test the part. I once bought a relay for my cooling system and the vendor confirmed it to be in working order using a small light bulb. If you have a multimeter and you’re savvy, you could do this for a range of parts. NB: Not all parts can be tested at point of purchase.
4. Get a guarantee: Always insist on getting this from the dealer especially if it’s one of those parts that can’t be tested at point of purchase. At least, a fair guarantee is that the part would be returned if it’s broken when fitted. Genuine parts dealers would almost always offer this.
Hope this post helps and if it did, do like and share. Or do you have more tips, lets get them via comments. Many thanks!