Don’t Get Screwed! Read more here on how to buy your auto parts….
Car owners who call dealerships are often shocked when they learn the cost of replacement parts.
A trim piece that costs maybe $5 to make could carry a 5000% premium at the retail counter. Some parts are priced to
the moon simply because many consumers don’t know any better. If only they took the time to shop around.
So, let me help you approach this process like a pro. I personally buy about $20,000 in parts every year for my dealership, and after nearly 15 years of scouring the nation for rare and expensive parts, I’m happy to share my secrets to getting what I need at the lowest possible price.
Do Your Research First
There are two websites every parts shopper should visit before buying. The first, Car-Part.com, offers the largest database
of used auto parts in the world. The second is eBay—perhaps you’ve heard of it—which happens to be a new and re-manufactured auto parts sales juggernaut.
There are a few steps to any successful search. Once you find what you need on Car-Part.com, select ‘Distance’ and
then click ‘Search’ to see what its market price is in your area. Once you made note of that, go to eBay. Do the same search, and sort by ‘Pricing + Shipping lowest’.
Pay special attention to the estimated delivery time in the listing. Parts from overseas can sometimes take over a month to get to your home.
Verify Your Information
Call the dealership to confirm your specific part number before you complete any purchase. If you don’t confirm the part number, any grief that ensues is of your own making.
You’ll learn that some parts are unique to certain engine and transmission combinations. And the list of potentially affected parts is long, from computers, modules, and sensors, to more basic items like alternators and starters.
Look for Coupons
Auto parts retailers are expensive. But they don’t have to be. This website will help you find coupon codes or
manufacturer rebates that may not pop up when you visit the auto parts store online.
I’ve sometimes found starters and alternators that were within $20 of an eBay or a junkyard find, with the added perks of a limited lifetime warranty and free delivery. To me, that extra $20 is worth the peace of mind.
Know that if a dealership is tells you that buying a part from someone other than them will void your car’s warranty, it’s not true. I usually buy batteries, fluids, and filters
online from either auto parts stores, eBay, Walmart, or Amazon. If you find yourself just short of that ‘$50 off of $125’ coupon code you found online, just add some items you know you’ll use anyway, like filters or coolant, to get the order up where it needs to be.
Use Online Forums
There have been times when I’ve finally been able to locate a rare part, but it seems to be as far away from me as Mercury is from Pluto. This is when I turn to fellow enthusiasts for help.
Online forums for your make and model usually have members spread across the United States. By asking for assistance acquiring a part that’s not local to you (and
perhaps offering $50 for the trouble), you can still get what you need and help out a like-minded grease monkey in the process. Make/model
forums sometimes have dedicated parts-listing threads, as well.
If enthusiast forums don’t work, try reaching out through Facebook. You’d be surprised what a friend of a friend will do for a little extra cash.
Search Online First Then Go to a Junkyard
If online hunting doesn’t turn up the part you need, it’s time to visit the self-service junkyards.
Many hobbyists with time to kill will bring their own tools, find the part they need, remove it themselves, and pay a pittances for
it. This is the cheapest option in dollars and cents, but it does cost you time.
Use the Dealer as a Last Resort
If you haven’t found the part at this point, then—and only then—pay the dealer. To be fair, dealers are at the mercy of manufacturers, so don’t
blame them if you find their parts costs unreasonable. In the meantime, if you need any further help, you can reach me directly here. I’m happy to help.
For Specific Mazda Parts Check the Mazda page here.