The average age of US cars today is 6.5 years, highest since 1953, reports the Automotive Dismantlers and Recyclers of America.
Obviously, the older a car gets, the more maintenance it needs.
New parts are expensive; thus, recycled auto parts often makes good sense if the household budget is tight. Simply, they're cheaper -- often costing one-third to one-half as much as new factory-built parts.
Often, the purchase price of an entire assembly, such as a complete engine with carburetor, intake and exhaust manifolds, starter, and other items, will be less than that of a new or rebuilt engine block alone.
And because the factory installed all the components, a used engine will usually operate trouble-free.
When buying recycled parts:
* If possible, deal with a licensed auto-parts yard. Ask for a receipt as you would for any purchase.
* Have an expert technician diagnose each specific automotive problem so that the right part will be bought.
* When buying an electrical part, select one that has been bench-tested rather than merely road-tested. Get a guarantee.
* When purchasing an engine or transmission for your car, always supply the size and model number of the car. Do not accept parts that have accumulated more than 70,000 miles.
* Whenever possible bring the old part in for comparison.
* The alert consumer always shops for the best price and product. Get price quotations from the auto recycler as well as new and rebuilt parts jobbers.