Buying used car parts for repairs can save more than money. It’s also better for the environment. The only caveat is to make sure the quality is high – and know what it’s safe to replace with used parts.
When repairing your own car you have several options for buying spares. You can go through the dealer and buy an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part, or look for a generic ‘aftermarket’ part. There are pros and cons to each of these in terms of cost, reliability and performance. However, you can also buy used car parts from a breaker. This can be a great way to find high-quality parts that are an exact match for your car, at a good price. Not only that, but buying used parts is better for the environment.
Although people tend to think of cars in terms of running costs – typically fuel efficiency – a far more important factor is their ‘embodied energy’, or the carbon footprint associated with their manufacture, before they are even driven a single mile. Exactly the same goes for maintenance. Vehicles are energy-intensive to make, since large amounts of metal and plastic (itself a petrochemical derivative) have to be heated and shaped. Buying used car parts instead of new ones means that there is less demand for brand-new parts, meaning you maintain a lower carbon footprint.
Keep your car off the scrap heap
Not only that, but the longer you can keep your car running the better. The problem is that there comes a point when it becomes uneconomical to maintain a car, at which point the whole thing tends to end up on the scrap heap and you buy a new one. The more cheaply you can keep a car on the road, the longer it will be before it reaches the scrap-heap stage. Used car parts are far cheaper than buying a new part from the original manufacturer, and the quality should be just as good. Although they are second-hand, in many cases they will be barely used. They could come from cars that have been written off or are faulty in some way, though the component itself is completely undamaged. And that enables you to keep the rest of your car in good running order – for the right price.
Naturally there are some parts you should always buy new and have fitted professionally, unless you know exactly what you are doing. Brakes, engine bearings and air-bags are three obvious examples. However, buying used car parts from a breaker or online remains a good option for a huge range of components, from bumpers and wing mirrors to turbochargers and gearboxes.
Where to source used car parts
Whereas you would once have had to trawl scrap yards one by one to find the used car parts you needed, the internet has made all that a thing of the past. There are sites that give you access to networks of breakers across the country. You order your part – making sure it’s the right one for your make and model of car – and have it sent to your door. Alternatively, you can try eBay for specialist parts – just check that the seller has a good reputation and a returns policy, in case it turns out the part isn’t right after all.
Article supplied by used Vauxhall parts location specialists, BreakerLink.