How to Save Money on Auto Parts

Handling your own car repairs to save money? Here’s how to save on the parts you need to get the job done:

Buy Aftermarket Parts

Auto Parts. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

There are OEM parts (those made by the original manufacturer) and aftermarket parts (those made by anyone else). OEM parts cost more – often quite a bit more – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better. In fact, sometimes it’s the aftermarket parts that are better. If an original part has a known deficiency, the aftermarket manufacturer may offer a new version of the part that solves the problem (ex: making the part out of metal, instead of plastic). That’s just not something the original car manufacturer is set up to do.

To avoid overpaying for parts, stick to OEM parts for body repairs. Use aftermarket parts for most of your other repairs. If you’re not sure which way to go, look at auto repair forums for recommendations. You’ll get advice from people who have already tackled the same project.

Some aftermarket manufacturers are better than others. Buy from recognizable brands that back their products with warranties. It’s your best assurance of quality.

Buy Used

In some cases, the only difference between a new and a used part is the price. Hit junk yards to buy replacements for damaged body parts, interior trim pieces and mechanical parts that aren’t likely to wear out over time or pose a safety risk.

Look into buying refurbished or rebuilt parts when you want a like-new part at a used-part price. These should come backed by a warranty to assure you of their quality.

Order Online

Shop online for your auto parts – even if you plan to pick them up at your local parts store. This will give you a chance to compare prices and to use promo codes that aren’t available in store. Just do a quick web search for the store name and “promo code” before you check out.

Shopping through MyPoints, SwagBucks or a similar rewards site, may also allow you to earn cashback on your purchase.

Tip: See a better price online, but want to pick your parts up today? See if your local store will match the price.

Get a Loyalty Rewards Card

Many parts stores – and even some junk yards – have loyalty programs to reward frequent shoppers. Auto Zone, Advance Auto Parts, Pull-A-Part, PepBoys, O’Reilly and NAPA all have rewards programs in place. Sign up, to start taking advantage of special coupons and rewards.