Last week in New Car or Used Car – Which is the Better Deal? we talked about the many virtues and monetary advantages of buying a used car. One of the common objections to buying a used car is the higher cost of repairs and maintenance. Well, we may have at least a partial solution to that problem. Car-Part.com – “Used Auto Parts Market” – provides access to salvage dealers across the United States and Canada.
Car-Part.com isn’t a salvage dealer itself, but a database of hundreds of dealers in nearly every state and province across North America. Per the site “about us” description, they’ve been operating since 1998, so they’ve had time to work out any system bugs.
Car-part.com is Quick, simple and very user friendly
All you need to do is enter relevant information in the main page search box—year, make/model, the part needed, your state or province and zip code—and you’ll have access to salvage yards all over the area. You can choose the closest yard or the least expensive, but you’ll have that choice. If none of the providers are close by, you can have the parts shipped to you. I didn’t venture this far, but you could also buy a part from an out of state dealer if the price is right and you have time to wait for delivery.
Many prices are listed, so you know what you’re paying before you place an order, but some do require that you call for a price. Each provider lists its name, address and phone number with the part so you know who you’re dealing with at all times.
One of the real advantages to the system is that there are multiple dealers listed. They’re independent businesses, providing the advantage of competition. If you don’t like the location or price of one dealer, you can shop for another.
I didn’t try it, but they also have a “Live Chat button” where you can “instantly connect to the recycler and ask any more questions or arrange a purchase”; that’s a feature that could come in handy in a pinch.
My experience with Car Part.com
I learned about this site completely by accident. Just last week, I broke the tail light on our 1998 van. It’s an embarrassing story, but yes, I broke it with a run in with…our garbage can.
Our garbage pick up occurs every Wednesday morning. We put the dumpster out on Tuesday nights, and when we do, we put it on the lawn to the right of our driveway, just behind our car so we can see where the garbage men leave it after they’ve emptied it.
Well, on this day, they put it behind the van, and a van isn’t as easy to see around as a car. When I backed out I heard a thud, stopped the van, and saw that I had pushed the empty dumpster about 10 feet. Now curiously, even though I had moved it, the dumpster was still on the driveway, which would indicate that the garbage men most likely put it just a few feet behind the van as opposed to on the street or at the edge of the driveway where they usually leave it. Maybe it was a trainee, but I’m speculating. Anyway, as bad luck would have it, the handle of the dumpster—the one part of it that could actually do any real damage—hit square on the tail light and snapped it open.
Now in a previous life, I would have grumbled, hollered at my kids and my dog, but ultimately I’d have paid the going rate to get it fixed, what ever it was. But that’s not my life now. Experience has taught me, what ever the expense, to stop, take a deep breath and spend some time seeing if there’s a less expensive way to handle it.
I don’t know much about a lot of things, and cars are one of them, so I’ve come to rely on the opinions of people I trust to provide direction. Fortunately, I have a couple of friends who do know a good deal about cars, and they both heard from me that day. In fact they hear from me anytime I have a car problem. Both recommended looking into a salvage yard; one recommended Car-part.com.
Everyone should have a panel of experts.
Saving a small fortune
I don’t know how other people handle it, but when ever anything goes wrong with one of our cars, I get a sharp shooting pain deep in my gut, knowing that it will cost, and probably cost big. The car world just seems wired that way.
But not this time.
The last time I had to replace a tail light, the cost to replace it was close to $200—and that was over 15 years ago. Surely it must have doubled since then, maybe tripled. Thankfully, I never had to find out.
$25 through a dealer on Car-part.com. That was what it cost. Two screws and a sticky socket were all it took. I probably saved several hundred dollars just for asking a question!
Car repairs can bleed you dry, especially if your car is more than five years old. But Car-part.com offers a way to trim those repair bills. If you know someone who is skilled in car repair, and you can get parts cheap, you won’t need to go to the mechanic and pay the $500-$1000 charges that seem typical every time you bring your car to the shop.
How do you handle car repairs? Have you ever done anything like this? Car repairs are one of the biggest variable expenses we deal with and they seem to hit us at the worth possible times. Can you offer other ways to save money on car repairs?