Whether it’s for your 4-year-old Chevy minivan, or the vintage Dodge Charger you have underneath the canvas in your shop, finding auto parts that don’t cost you a fortune might be a tough task. Auto wreckers, E-bay, parts locators – these are all valid ways to try to find the auto part you need, at the price you want to pay.
This article was posted on Aug 19, 2005
For newer vehicles, you might be inclined to pay full retail price at your local auto parts store, just to get the exact part you need for your vehicle. What you should realize is there are dozens of cars with parts just like yours, or reasonably close, that are sitting in impound lots, auto wreckers, and on the Internet, just waiting to find a new home. What makes them more attractive is that these auto parts can be found for a fraction of what you would pay for a new part. Chances are, they will last just as long – unless they have been damaged.
With any vehicle newer than 10 to 12 years, you will be able to find anything from windshields and side mirrors to carburetors and radiators at the local auto wreckers. Most auto wreckers can save you piles of cash when you are shopping for low cost auto parts. Many of them have their cars catalogued on computer, along with the parts that have been stripped from them. It makes shopping for low cost auto parts a breeze – and very economical.
With many older vehicles, you may face a tougher task of finding the auto part you need – at a reasonable price. The parts are out there – you just need to spend the time finding them. One of the best places to find auto parts for everything from collector cars and vintage autos, to the Ford Tempo that needs a headlight, is on the Internet. Whether you search for the part on an auction site like E-bay, or if you use a national parts site like JC Whitney, chances are that someone, somewhere is going to have the parts you need for your vehicle. There is a good chance that those parts are going to cost you much less than finding someone to custom make a part, or purchasing the part from a retailer.
Vintage cars, especially ones that are older than a half century may pose a problem for someone shopping for low cost auto parts. The problem is, many of the parts that are out there are really hard to find, and when you do find them, they may cost you a great deal of money to purchase. The first thing you should do is exhaust all of the auto wreckers in your area. You never know who has that ’57 Chevy rusting away in the back corner of the lot since their grandfather owned the yard. Next thing to do would be to track down all of the used car parts locators on the Internet. You might find dozens of them, and if you want the final piece to your collector car puzzle, it is worth the work.
If you are still having no luck shopping for low cost auto parts to go with your vintage beauty, there are two other avenues you might follow to track down the part you need. First, search the Internet and the Yellow Pages for any car collectors groups that match your car. If you need a headlight for your Model T, try finding a group that collects those cars, and inquire where they found their parts. You may even get lucky and find someone who has that part in one of the salvaged cars they have used. Collector clubs can not only be a great lifeline for parts, they may be able to offer you advice on fixing up your car on a budget.
This next option might be a reach for some, especially if you live in the city, but rural landowners have a knack for collecting and storing all sorts of machinery on their properties – cars, trucks, tractors, etc. This might be your ace in the hole on a part you are having no luck finding anywhere else. They may also be the cheapest when you are shopping for low cost auto parts.
Talk to the local tow truck driver in a small town, or rural area. They often have the scoop on who has what, and if you’d be able to find a certain part in the area. It certainly is worth the effort if you are able to find that final remaining piece to finish your car. Don’t be afraid to scour the countryside looking for the part you need – sometimes they are found in the most unsuspecting places.
Your last resort (and most expensive) is to have a part custom made. If you are shopping for low cost auto parts, this might not be the road to travel. But, it is a final option.
With all of these avenues to follow, in all likelihood you will find the auto part you need, and you should be able to find it at a price that doesn’t put a huge dent in the pocketbook. Happy hunting!