Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Gregory P
Every month in the Car mechanics publication they compare prices of new parts vs reconditioned or second hand parts. Every week, car parts direct are in the publication boasting cheaper parts.

Of course, everyone knows that you get what you pay for. What I dislike about this publication is that it doesn?t even mention that these cheaper parts are in fact inferior and can wreck a perfectly good engine.

Take this example. My father has a Toyota Camry diesel which had 220,000 miles and needed a new radiator. He thought he would save money and have a reconditioned unit installed. However, it leaked and of course the car overheated causing damage to the cylinder head. After having it repaired five times, it was never right in the end and ended up just getting a new radiator.

The point I am trying to make is that you should never buy these second hand parts if you have a sound engine. Our car is still going and has 260,000 miles, but the cylinder head still needs to be repaired and is uneconomical to repair. I am sure some parts are OK, but only if you can risk having to destroy an engine.

Have other people any stories or views about these much cheaper parts. Which parts are worth risking, and which aren?t? The million mile Volvo owner always says to use original parts, is he right in all cases?
Reconditioned and second hand car parts - DavidHM
If you want to make your car last a million miles, undoubtedly.

On the other hand, if you have a 12 year old Metro, doing 5k miles per year, and you more or less know that something is going to go which will be uneconomic within the next couple of years, putting in an (even cheaper) second hand part for a small job like a starter motor seems perfectly reasonable.

Personally I think that most parts are better new, pattern if you're on a budget, but anything that is just cosmetic or incidental is better second hand. Anything that can affect passenger safety or other parts if it fails, like a radiator, should ideally be OE new, but if that's not possible, a compatible part will do.

It's all about risk and most of us want the economically best solution. If the part is a third more likely to fail but only costs half as much, and there are no associated costs of failure, second hand or pattern is the way to go.

In any case, without the second hand or pattern parts market, there'd be no competition for OE parts and they'd be even more expensive.
Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Hugo {P}
I have just put a 2nd hand engine in a Xantia having paid £295 for it from Universal Parts. It has done 18k in its previous car (apparently a 1998 pug 406). My Xantia in question is a 97 P. It really does sound like a brand new car!

If it weren't for the availablity of 2nd hand engines, I am sure a lot of 6 year old plus cars would have hit the scrap yard a long time ago, and still do.

I think you've got to look at what you can get for your money.

When I was looking for this engine, a number of jokers in the trade wanted to charge up to £595. Quite frankly I set my limit at £300 including vat and delivery, otherwise I was not going to bother, and was going to sell the car for spares.

The problem is that car breakers seem to think they can charge the earth for some bits, whereas in reality their worth is largely determined by the car they're going to go into.

Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Cliff Pope
I think the vital difference is between parts that if they fail, only affect themselves, and those that have inevitable consequences for other expensive components.
I have to say I have had excellent value and reliability from a pattern volvo radiator, costing about a quarter the price of a proper one. But then I instinctively keep half an eye on the temp gauge anyway, being a gauge kind of person, so I would not regard a leaking radiator as necessarily having consequences for the engine.
Engine components, timing belt, etc would be a disaster if they failed, and impossible to spot in advance, therefore it's proper ones every time for me.
It's all a matter of risk versus economy, and economy may be the reason the car is still on the road at all.

Another point worth remembering is that every single component on a car that isn't brand new is in a sense secondhand anyway. Everything, even the genuine components, wears out, and everything has an unpredictable life. The genuine radiator will leak one day, with as much risk to the cylinder head as the cheap pattern one.
Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Gen
How much did it cost to get it fitted in Hugo?
Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Gregory P
The point I was trying to make is that by buying cheaper parts, there is a risk involved. Unfortunately, for an average person to know this they need to have an honest mechanic who has dealt with these parts before or their own knowledge.

The car mechanics magazine does not mention this, and there is the risk that some people may assume that the quality is the same and replace these items in their pride and joy only to find the engine explodes.

I am sure there are reasons for taking this risk, especially on older cars. However, many people will go out and buy a recycled radiator and install it in their well maintained car and find it explodes or overheats or whatever.

Cliff Hope mentions he always looks at the gauge. However, you only look at it briefly and every so often so even taking these two things into account you may overlook it for 10 minutes which is long enough for a car to overheat and do some damage.

Personally, I would only ever get pattern parts if I knew people who already were using them and they were tried and tested. But, if you look at Halfords pattern parts, then we all know that the quality is far from good.
Reconditioned and second hand car parts - M.M
Sorry if I seem to be chasing around and taking issue with you Gregory.

Folks have a clear set of choices from scrapyard parts to makers originals. I think most folks do know exactly the balance between cost and risk.

Also your comments about pattern parts are a little sweeping. Some Halfords parts are made by the same folks that you would happily trust when in their own boxes. They do make a couple of clunkers but these are well known to the trade.

Other discount parts suppliers use 100% parts sourced from the makers of the originals when the cars are built...but at a fraction of the cost.

How about say a brake caliper supplied mail order at £45 when the dealers ask £131...and it is *exactly* the same part.

I would agree with you though that reconditioned (supposedly) parts, particularly from a local small company, can be an absolute minefield.

Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Cliff Pope
My point was that all parts have a finite life, even the top-quality manufactured ones. When they fail, the potential for damage is exactly the same as with cheaper ones. The only way to avoid that would be to have a replacement cycle for all components that is well within their expected life, as with aircraft. You would replace the radiator after 2 years even though it appeared to be in perfect condition, just to have the peace of mind that it wasn't going to leak suddenly and in 10 minutes wreck the engine.
But I don't think most people run their cars like that - they balance risk v. economy.
Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Hugo {P}
How much did it cost to get it fitted in Hugo?

To answer your question Gen it was between 10 to 15 hourslabour for my mechanic friend, maybe a bit more as he had never done a Xantia Engine before - He charges around £8 an hour so I may part with up to £150.

In addition, consumables cost £100 including genuine Citroen Timing belt, Air and oil filter, plugs, oil and LHM fluid.

So the engine side of it will cost me around £550. For a 97 P reg that's not too bad.

Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Gregory P
M.M. What I am trying to say is that although pattern parts can be the same quality or better than the originals, it is impossible for the average person to know that. Some halfords parts can be excellent no doubt, but then which ones are and which aren?t?

The only way it is ever worth getting pattern or recon parts is from past experience from friends or reputable mechanics. This is how I have bought pattern parts as they have first hand experience and is thus invaluable. Take for example a rectifier in my motorcycle: just the same and cost £20 vs £35. Or tyres. Same grip, perform just as well if not better, and cost £20 vs £45 for Michelin. But in both cases the mechanic in who services my bike gave me the information about their quality.

When buying mail order, again it would be a good avenue through word of mouth or if they are the originals. But it is important to ensure that they are ?TRIED AND TESTED?.
Reconditioned and second hand car parts - M.M

That is an absolutely fair comment...I know whereas others have to guess and put up with the duffers.

Mirrors the whole life experience thing in about every area though!

Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Ben {P}
Hugo where do you live, i would not mind having a mechanic that charges £8 per hour!
Reconditioned and second hand car parts - Hugo {P}
Hugo where do you live, i would not mind having a
mechanic that charges £8 per hour!

South West

But that chap's a mate of mine and just does a few 'foreigners' to pay for the beer.

£20 to £25 is pretty normal for independents around here. The garage I sometimes use when my friend is busy and when I can't be bothered to do it myself is in this bracket, but he often rounds it down if I'm flexible. For example, he changed my oil and front pads recently and was busting a gut to finish the job in the evening after a hectic day, so I gave him the option to finish it the following day as I didn't need the car till then, which he did. I think this made a difference to what he charged me.


Value my car