Understanding Automotive Parts

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Three Used Car Parts That Will Save You Money

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Junk yards are full of totaled cars that nonetheless have many fully functional parts. Following are seven used replacement car parts you may be able to find that will save you significant sums on repair costs. Some mechanics have access to used parts that they glean through area junk yards, so don't hesitate to ask them for help if you aren't mechanically inclined. After all, mechanics make their wages on providing labor rather than on the prices of the parts and may be glad to cultivate loyal customers by assisting them in saving money on car parts. Following are three major car parts that can save you money if purchased used.


If your radiator has developed water or coolant leaks or shows signs of corrosion, it's time to have it replaced, particularly if the engine has already overheated. Continuing with an old, worn-out radiator has the potential to completely destroy your engine. Unfortunately, new radiator prices can be prohibitive, but the good news is that used radiators can frequently be found that will do the job just fine. When buying a used radiator, be sure to inspect it thoroughly for signs of leaks or rust and make sure it is the type designed to fit into your particular vehicle. Check the hose fittings to ensure that they're intact and look for areas of exposed bare metal that should be covered with paint, because this is a sign that the unit has developed a coolant leak. Pass it up if you see evidence of cement or epoxy patching—this means that the radiator has been previously repaired and probably isn't in the greatest condition. 

Fuel Tanks

Leaky fuel tanks or those that have started to develop rust should be replaced as soon as possible. Not only will you lose money by driving with a leaky fuel tank due to gas prices, you'll put yourself and passengers in possible danger because of the highly flammable nature of vehicle gas. Rust in the tank creates oxides that can corrupt the gas as well as form chunks that clog the fuel filter. A fuel tank is one type used auto part that is always OK to use, provided the one you select is free from holes and rust. 


Transmissions are major car parts that can also be purchased used in order to save money. When buying a used transmission, it's very important to ascertain it's mileage—the lower, the better. Salvage yards maintain CarFax or Auto Check reports that provide this information. It is imperative to avoid purchasing a used transmission that has experienced water damage because the chances are very good that the electronic sensors in the transmission have malfunctioned beyond repair. Naturally, you should reject any used transmissions that show obvious signs of damage, such as signs of fluid leaks or cracks in the case. You can also manipulate the gears manually on a stick shift transmission to check to see whether it shifts gears smoothly. Because a transmission is a integral part of a vehicle's operating system, it's wise to have the used transmission thoroughly checked out by an experienced mechanic before making a purchasing commitment. 

Never forget that any used part that you buy should be compatible with the make and model of your vehicle—otherwise, you'll simply be wasting money. Also, it's often possible to obtain the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the wrecked vehicle, usually from the lower left-hand corner of the dashboard. You can run this information through the Department of Motor Vehicles to find out the true history of the car before you choose to buy any of its parts. Look for an auto junk yard like U Pull & Pay to get started on your search for used vehicle parts.