Whether it’s for an antique vehicle or just something simple like a hose clamp, you’ll often find yourself scouring the internet trying to piece together the best deal on your next car repair purchase. If you’re not careful, though, you can end up paying more than twice as much for an item than if you buy it online from someone who has it in stock.
Here are six tips for finding rare auto parts that won’t leave your bank account on empty or your vehicle on stilts.
Visit your local auto salvage yard
While dealerships have a variety of brand-new parts in stock, drivers can purchase many of those same auto parts at a much lower price by visiting an auto salvage yard. However, you’ll want to avoid junk yards that buy and sell entire vehicles and only have one or two parts out on display.
Some places usually don’t deal in hard-to-find parts because they focus on building full cars rather than selling single pieces, so they won’t have what you’re looking for. By contrast, providers like All Truck and Car, a local salvage yard in Utah County, sell all sorts of used car parts, giving its customers a plethora of options. Some of these services are white-glove, meaning that employees find the parts for you, and others are DIY. In either case, you should bring a toolkit and gloves just in case you need to dig under a hood or two.
Keep an eye out for online auctions
Rather than driving all over town trying to track down the right part, you can sit at home and make quick use of auction websites. Many people don’t realize that they can find their hard-to-find parts on these sites. Search for both completed listings and new ones that appear every day to find the best deal possible.
Don’t forget about Craigslist
Craigslist is usually best known as a place where you go to buy used furniture, clothing, and other goods. However, the site is also a great place to find rare car parts in your area at very affordable prices, especially if you can find scrap cars.
Not only that, but Craigslist lets you search specifically for what you’re looking for within your city or town, which can help you find exactly what you need without having to drive all over town looking for it.
Try local auto shows
Don’t give up if none of these tips have given you any luck. Instead, go ahead and attend an auto show in your area. These gatherings are designed with car enthusiasts in mind and will be full of vendors selling everything from wheels to exhaust systems. While they may not have what you need on hand, these vendors will more than likely be able to point you in the direction of someone who does.
Car clubs and swap meets
If you don’t have any luck at an auto show, there’s still a good chance you’ll meet people involved in car clubs who host occasional swap meets. These people are sure to be enthusiasts who can provide you with the parts you need and information on how to install them.
Go on the internet first
Most of the time, it’s easier and faster to go onto the internet and do a search rather than making a phone call or asking about stock at some brick-and-mortar shop. Not only that, but doing an online search is sure to give you a better selection and lower prices for your rare car parts, especially if they come from car wrecking services.
Remember that not all of these tips will work for every situation, but if you’re still having trouble finding the part you need, try out a few and see what happens. You might be surprised at how much money and time it can save you by following a few simple guidelines.