Used Auto Parts Buyer’s Guide

After more than 25 years in business, we’ve seen a lot of things and dealt with some pretty interesting situations. Most importantly, we’ve learned a lot about our customers and their wants and needs. That’s why we put together this guide. Hopefully, it will give you an idea of what to look for and what to expect when buying used parts.

To begin with, you have a few different options for parts when your car needs repair:

  • You can go to the local dealership for the parts you need. While pricey, you’ll be sure you get OEM parts with a warranty.
  • You can visit the local parts store/website and get a remanufactured or aftermarket part. While this could prove to be a good savings over dealer cost, the parts aren’t always the same quality as OEM.
  • Or you can look online or locally for a used OEM Part. Buying used gets you a quality OEM part at a huge savings over dealer price. Used parts can also carry better warranties vs the dealer and some parts stores.

That’s where we come in. But not every “junkyard” is created equal, which is why these handy tips can help.

How “Junk Yards” Have Evolved Into Auto Recyclers

Auto Recyclers are salvage yards that uphold higher standards for quality and service. These salvage yards belong to associations that ensure the yard is doing everything correctly, from proper methods of auto recycling, handling of waste fluids, and handling customer concerns. Using a salvage yard with this credibility will make all the difference in your buying experience. Look for the following seals, which show a salvage yard meets those standards:

Optimum Recycled PartsAutomotive Recyclers AssociationQuality Replacement PartsConnecticut Auto RecyclersARA Gold SealCertified Auto Recycler
These associations are not just for show. They have strict requirements that must be met yearly, including meeting EPA Standards, maintaining hazmat certifications, as well as customer service and quality standards.

Additionally, seals such as ORP and QRP show that the yard participates in its regional trading partner group. Trading partner groups are networks of salvage yards that work together to serve body shops and insurance companies with high-quality parts.

Tips On How To Search For Parts

If you’ve ever gone online to search for parts, you know how easy it is to get lost. But these tips will make it easier to find the part you need from a reputable source quickly:

  1. First and foremost, you need to know what parts you’re looking for. If a mechanic is doing the work, have him explain what the part is, the name of it, and any other nicknames for the part. Also, ask for the OEM part number.
  2. Know the year, make, and model of your vehicle. This sounds like an obvious tip, but it’s often overlooked. At a minimum, you need to know your car’s year, model, engine size (or at least the number of cylinders), and body style. The more information you have in front of you, the easier it’ll be to find parts.
  3. If at all possible, have the VIN # handy in case you need it. You can get this from the car itself, insurance paperwork, or the registration.
  4. Lastly, you’ll get much better results by being friendly and courteous. Many places you call are more than willing to answer questions and help you solve your problem if you’re polite.

Expectations For Used Auto Parts

When buying used auto parts, it’s important to confirm you’re getting a good working, clean, and tested used auto part from a reputable company. Look for credibility, whether it’s the logos above, eBay feedback, Google or other trusted reviews, or a friend’s referral.

But there is more to buying a used auto part than the reputation of the auto recycler or the part itself.

  1. First, inquire about what condition the item is, and for body parts, ask if they’ll need to be repainted.
  2. Before placing an order, be sure to review the company’s shipping policy and ask for an ETA or tracking number for your item.
  3. Just about all auto recyclers offer a guarantee or warranty. Inquire about the standard guarantee and ask if there’s an extended one available. There’s a good chance that a reputable salvage yard will give you a guarantee on parts that the dealership doesn’t even guarantee.

Don’t take anything for granted, and don’t be afraid to ask any questions. If it’s a place with good customer service, they should be more than willing to help you before you fork over your hard-earned money.

Tom’s Is Your Source For OEM Parts

Tom’s Foreign Auto Parts is a reputable source of high-quality OEM components at a fraction of the dealership’s cost. By choosing us, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re getting parts that meet the original manufacturer’s quality and safety standards, helping to maintain the integrity of your car’s performance.

At Tom’s, we recognize the value of genuine OEM parts. Since 1985, we’ve helped our customers save up to 75% with perfectly good used OEM parts and provide a six-month no-hassle money-back guarantee.