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How Can Used Parts Be So Inexpensive

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

How Can Used Parts Be So Inexpensive

Ronnie Tanner
May 27, 2009

When it comes to repairing an automobile, nothing can make a person feel quite as queasy as when the mechanic tells you he has good news and bad news. The good news he has to deliver is usually that the problem is simple to fix, the bad news is usually that it will cost a small fortune. Why are auto repairs so expensive? While some of the cost involved in these repairs involves labor charges, a good bit of the cost is tied to the actual expense of purchasing a new part from the dealership. It has been estimated that if a car was built with parts purchased individually from a dealer that the same car that cost between $25,000 and $30,000 brand new, would cost close to $100,000 if bought ala carte so to speak!

With new parts exorbitantly expensive and repairs unavoidable, what can the average person do to save money when facing this crisis? The answer may surprise some. Quality used parts can be obtained from auto recyclers for just a fraction of the cost of buying the same part new from a dealership. One may wonder why the auto recyclers can sell parts so inexpensively. Probably the simplest way to answer this is to explain the process. The way the auto recycler, or salvage yard as they are sometimes called, obtain their parts is probably the main reason they can sell the same parts so cheaply and it is actually almost the same process that the dealership uses except in reverse. When a car is no longer operable for whatever reason, many times this car is sold to a salvage yard for a very low price. This can range from $25 to up to a couple of thousand depending on the year, make and model of the vehicle as well as the extent of any damage it has received. The individual parts of the car are then accessed for damage and wear by the auto recycler and removed from the car for sale as used parts. You can imagine that if you pay $100 for a car and can sell just eight parts for $25 apiece, then you just made a gross profit of $100. Generally, there are a lot more than eight usable parts left on a salvage vehicle.

Once a vehicle leaves a dealership, it is no longer considered new. In fact, all of the parts on the car are now used parts. Just imagine if that same vehicle now has 8,000 miles on it and it is involved in an accident that the insurance company decides is too costly to warrant repairs, the car is then “totaled”, the insured person is paid for their loss and the insurance company takes possession of the wrecked vehicle. In order to reclaim some of their money the insurance company sells the wrecked vehicle to a salvage yard, the salvage yard removes all the still working parts(for instance the car was wrecked in the back but the engine, interior and front body parts are perfectly fine) and inventories them in a direct access computer system. Now your own car (same or similar make and model) needs a flywheel, you or your mechanic see that the dealership has one for $300 but you also find one at the salvage yard for $85. The used flywheel only has 8,000 miles on it, so why not save the $215, buy a perfectly good used part, and use your hard-earned cash on something else.

Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at Quality Auto Parts. He writes about used Acura parts and other industry specific topics.

Source: Amazines.com

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