When Should You Purchase New Parts for Your Car vs Used

When your car breaks down, the expense of fixing it often throws a wrench into your available funds. In some cases, the funds just aren’t available period. This is when you have to decide between purchasing new or used parts. In some scenarios, when it is just a general component, used parts are okay and are more cost effective. This is not always going to be the situation though.

Electrical Pieces

Any items that are electrical and include wiring should be purchased new. When these parts sit in junkyards and self-serve locations, they can corrode and deteriorate internally making them malfunction. Consider this as money wasted if there are no refunds given at the location you visited.

Malfunctioning electrical systems in a vehicle can lead to a vehicle fire or causing the vehicle to be unresponsive, leading to an accident. Sometimes there are no warning signs that an electrical issue is taking place in a vehicle, which is dangerous and can leave you broken down in the middle of a busy highway or in the middle of an intersection.


Vehicles have several sensors. These sensors often malfunction over time, especially oxygen sensors and thermostats. Sensors vary by vehicle manufacturer as some engine types are made for hybrid vehicles and others are designed to send reports to the vehicle owner each month for performance reasons.

Sensors should never be purchased used. A used sensor will be confused in a new system and is likely to malfunction or not work at all. A new sensor has had no information running through it and it has a fresh “brain” so-to-speak. This is important as sensor issues can cause a car to not start or completely stop running while you’re driving.

Computer Programmed Pieces

Computerized auto parts should not be purchased in used condition. The reason for this is that the information from the vehicle it was used in will still be there. The readings that these parts produce are likely to be inaccurate for your vehicle.

Good Used Parts Options

There are plenty of viable parts on salvaged vehicles that can be a cheaper option for repairing your vehicle. These are common parts, not specialized parts.
Some of the ideal options for used parts include:

• Radiators
• Alternators
• Cooling fans
• Doors
• Body parts
• Transmissions
• Carburetors
• Distributors

The list continues; however, check radiators for leaks before leaving the used parts location. Also test parts such as alternators and cooling fans for positive charges to indicate that they are likely in good working condition.

In an effort to save money on car repairs, used parts seem like a good idea. Keep in mind that not all used parts are actually going to work. It is ideal to use a facility that has several parts of the same kind available so that you can exchange those that are not functioning properly. New parts have warranties with them, which is very beneficial so take this into consideration as well when your vehicle has left you stranded.