The average online shopper looking to buy auto parts inexpensively will mostly likely first think, “Used is the way to go.” What’s unfortunate about this scenario is that this unassuming customer probably isn’t aware of the auto part’s life story; how and from where it arrived at the shop, and the ways it might put their safety at risk. Yes, “used” can be synonymous with “cheap,” however “safe does not a cheap auto part make.”

Here’s why.

1. Used auto parts are most often taken salvaged from wrecked, or accident vehicles, and studies show that these parts require the highest rate of failure and repair. Unknowingly installing a faulty part from an accident vehicle may not just affect safety. Depending on your auto part, your comfort, gas mileage and other factors could be affected and go unnoticed.

2. It’s difficult to have used auto parts properly tested. Very few agencies, government or otherwise, regulate used auto part testing. While some do exist, locating an agency is likely an effort you’ll want to forgo. Fortunately, you can focus your efforts on searching for discount auto parts instead; these are always new, safety tested and ready for install.

3. The most in-demand used auto parts are also the most safety deficient. The most expensive auto parts, are those that are the most sought after at discount prices. These parts are usually smaller, important internal components. Replacing these with used, untested, refurbished or junkyard counterparts pose the most risk to your safety, given their importance to the over all proper functioning of your vehicle. For example, while a discount air filter can easily be found used, these are typically not expensive anyhow. A general rule of thumb is that the more expensive the part, the more risk there is posed by untested replacements.

4. Salvage Yards don’t offer safety. While appropriate for body parts like fenders and doors, internal components can vary in quality from “junker to junker” and verifying safety just isn’t an option. Wrecks resulting from faulty parts require more spend than simply purchasing new parts at a higher up front cost.

So what’s the alternative? Buy new auto parts at discount prices.

Here are a few methods of finding cheap auto parts online without sacrificing quality or safety:

Look for Online Stores Labeled “Discount.”

By lowering overhead costs and reducing profit margins, online auto part sellers can reduce prices on brand new auto parts in order to stay competitive. These sellers own what are called “discount stores.” Even if an online seller isn’t labeled as “discount,” if the price is right, (and the auto parts aren’t used) it’s a safe bet that “cheap” in this case doesn’t equal unsafe.

Discount sellers most often operate online since doing so significantly decreases cost, allowing them to offer quality auto parts at affordable prices.

Buy Direct From a Wholesaler.

Many online stores operate as dealers for the direct manufacturer, and these stores will mark up costs for profit. You can bypass online stores directly when looking for discount auto parts by searching for auto parts wholesalers online. Most reputable wholesalers will have an online storefront, offering you wider product selection, lower prices, ease of ordering, and quick service. Be sure to exercise due diligence prior to ordering. Talk to someone directly if possible.

Tony DiFiore, Jr. is the vice president of Parts Plus Auto Store, based in Cleveland, Ohio, which offers a full line of import and domestic discount auto parts online. With more than 25 years in the car parts store business, we have expertly and consistently served our clients only with the unsurpassed level and trusted automotive parts in the market

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