The concept of used auto parts as a way to save money is not new. In fact, people have been doing it for years. While not every part on your car can be replaced with a used part, there are some major components that would be so expensive to replace new that buying them used could make the difference between fixing the car or not.  

Replacing Engine Accessories

There are a lot of parts in the engine compartment that falls under the category of engine accessories even though they are essential parts. The alternator, for instance, is considered an engine accessory and is a good candidate for buying used. In some cases, a brand new alternator can run in the hundred-plus dollar range but buying it used might drop the price as much as 50 percent. Just make sure you get one that is been tested and is working when you buy used. The starter motor, air conditioning compressor, and even the power steering pump fall under the heading, engine accessories, and can be found at your local automotive salvage yard most of the time. 

Complete Engines

If you have a vehicle that has an engine that is no longer running, it is a lot cheaper to buy a running engine from a salvage yard than to buy a completely new engine to put in the car. There are some things to consider though. If the car is just a couple years old, you may want the new engine to retain the value of the car. If the car is under warranty, the engine replacement might be covered but for older cars, a used engine is a good option. Most salvage yards will sell the entire assembly with the accessories still attached but the pricing will vary by what kind of engine it is and what the demand for it might be.  

Other Major Components

If you are looking for a transmission, an axle assembly, a transfer case for your 4 wheel drive, or maybe a set of springs for the suspension, a quick call to the local salvage yard could help you find them. These are all salvageable parts that are common for the yard to remove and place in their inventory. Sometimes they will not have them out of the car yet but if you request them, they can pull them and have them ready in as little as a couple hours or as long as a day or two. It depends on what the part is and how hard it is to remove from the donor car. But if the price is right, it can be worth waiting for the part.