Do you have an older car that’s running great but looks kind of dated? Give it an automotive do-over without dropping a lot of cash in the effort by shopping for gently used car parts, to make it even more comfortable and attractive as your neighbor’s new Hyundai.
You can shop online and hope for the best, but there’s nothing like browsing in an organized wrecking yard and seeing for yourself well-preserved inventory good enough to put in your classic (or not-so-classic) ride. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save when you bypass the dealership and go to a car parts yard.
Take Front Desk Service–or Do It Yourself at the Parts Yard
Customers can decide for themselves if they want to use a wrecking yard’s service to find a part or browse the inventory themselves. If you’re in a hurry or you’re new to this, go ahead and consult with onsite staff. Tell them what you’re looking for, and they will know the right questions to ask you for specifics you might not even know about. They will bring inventory that matches your request for you to inspect.
Or, you can just wave hello and go straight to the yard to search for new bucket seats for the front or a sleek bench style for the back. Other popular parts you can search for that can spruce up your ride include:
- Bumper guards
- Door handles
- Floor mats
- Gearshift handles
- Steering wheels
If you can see it, chances are very good that you can find it at a wrecking yard, in good shape and at a price that’s going to be considerably less expensive than a brand-new part.
How to Make Those Second Hand Parts Look New
Don’t be dismayed if the parts you find are a bit dirty. It’s not that difficult to clean up parts yourself-just be sure you use the right cleaning product.
For example, if you find leather seats that might be perfect in your car, imagine how they would look cleaned up. Leather can be cleaned with store-brought products or a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. When it dries, apply sunscreen to prevent discoloration (advises carsdirect.com).
Headlights can be cleaned with cheap white toothpaste applied with a rag and rinsed with water, says the Krazy Coupon Lady. Car.tips.net says to clean chrome with a less-abrasive scouring pad and a little cola; use steel wool or crumpled aluminum foil for larger areas.
Numerous auto parts shops and possibly even your salvage yard sell paint to match parts.
Dealers Don’t Always Stock Parts for Older Vehicles
Another reason to check out a salvage space is the fact that many car dealerships don’t stock parts for older cars, and some manufacturers stop making them after a few years.
This situation is not only short-sighted but a money loser. According to IHS, the combined age of all light vehicles on the road in January 2014 was about 11.5 years old and is expected to rise to nearly 12 years by 2019. You are hardly alone as a driver of an older vehicle. Chances are, you may even see some familiar faces picking around the headlights!