As a general rule, you always want to buy car parts from people or retailers you know (such as Four-Twenty-Two Auto Wrecking). Sometimes you can find a really good deal from a private seller, but that is a "buyer beware" market. If you still want to take the risk and buy your used car parts from a private seller, here are some tips on how to avoid buying damaged or stolen car parts.
Avoiding Purchasing Stolen Parts
There are some signs and red flags to tip you off that the used car parts you are looking to buy are actually stolen. If you spot any of the following, be sure to look interested but politely refuse to buy so that you can walk safely away.
- The "used" parts look very new to almost mint condition.
- The seller asks you to meet him or her somewhere rural or out of the way.
- The seller has taken great pains to hide the parts in the trunk of his or her vehicle.
- The asking price is almost too good to be true or the asking price is so astronomical it makes you cough and sputter.
- The seller's demeanor is extremely calm, almost too calm, or he/she is nervously looking around while you examine the parts that are for sale.
- The seller demands cash only, no checks or cards.
If you find yourself in this position, try to remain calm until you can extricate yourself and get away calmly and quickly. Then report to the local police what you saw. While not every private seller is trying to sell you stolen parts, the ones that are almost always act in one or more of these manners and have things for sale that are just too nice. Be careful and protect yourself by knowing these warning signs.
Avoiding Damaged Parts
Certain car parts, specifically those that are not responsible for engine functions, fuel systems and tires, should not have any damage to them when you buy them secondhand. Because of the movement and pressure involved with these parts, the smallest crack can turn into a big hazard quickly. It is okay if they have surface scratches, but there should be no nicks, chips or splits in any of these parts. As for other car parts, such as hub caps, body frames, doors and dashboard components, slight damages are okay because they are just cosmetic and will not affect the car's ability to run properly.