When it comes to buying a car, there are really only two strategies to choose from. First, you can buy or lease a new car and then trade it in every two or three years for the latest year model. Alternatively, you can purchase a car and drive it for 7 to 10 years to "get your money's worth from it."
Obviously, the most economical of these choices for most people will be to keep your car for a number of years, instead of constantly trading in for the latest model – and losing money in the process. But keeping your car for an extended length of time means that you will have to be vigilant about its upkeep, and from time to time you will likely have to replace some parts and have other maintenance and repairs performed.
But when it comes to replacing auto-parts, anyone who has visited a mechanic lately can tell you that costs have skyrocketed. Auto parts, and especially original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, auto-parts can be prohibitively expensive for many makes and models. As a general rule, the more exotic or expensive your car is to begin with, the more expensive the replacement parts will be.
This is especially true if you purchase auto parts from the original manufacturer. But there are several solutions to the high cost of replacing auto-parts. For example, you can choose to purchase so-called third-party parts online. These are auto-parts made by other companies, not the automaker; and they are normally quite a bit less expensive than buying OEM parts.
Third party parts are readily available for nearly any model of car or truck, and often the price difference will be substantial. For example, replacing a radiator for a standard American-made sedan can cost as much as $ 800 if you purchase original equipment manufacturer parts. But when you buy a replacement radiator for the same car from a third-party manufacturer, it is possible to pay as little as $ 250. Obviously, that's a huge savings, and something you will definitely want to consider the next time you need to replace auto-parts for your vehicle.
But there is another option as well: used auto-parts are available to fit most American and foreign made cars. Used or "reconditioned" parts are often sold for a fraction of the price of new, and in most cases they are just as reliable to use.
Although you can find used auto-parts at specialty dealers, auto shops and parts stores, by far the best prices are to be found online. There are several big-name auto-parts stores online that specialize in used or reconditioned parts. Most of these sites have an easy to use search function that will allow you to see if they have the part you need in only a second.
This will save you an enormous amount of time over the "old way" of doing things: driving all over town and asking if the part is available at each different location you hit. For this reason, buying auto parts online is much more convenient and can also save you a great deal of money.