Sunday, April 09, 2006

Getting a Fair Price For Your Vintage Parts

by Dave Carter

Vintage car restoration could be described more accurately as a passion than a simple hobby – little beats the thrill you get after hunting down and fitting that special car part. But passion or no, restoration can be a costly pastime, as sellers understandably try to take advantage of your enthusiasm and get the best price for the part you want so badly. There’s no denying that the right vintage car part is worth a lot to you, but don’t get ripped off. Here are a few tips to help you get a fair price for the part you need.

Before you make that trip to the wrecking yard or vintage parts dealer, be sure to do your research. Check online to see what the going rate for similar parts are. Find out how difficult the part you’re looking for really is and be prepared to pay a little more for rarer pieces.

Try to find a reputable salvage yard or dealer and ask them what their pricing structure is. While you might be better choosing a seller with a formalized pricing plan – some dealers value parts at a percentage of what a new part would cost, for example, while others have a set price for the same part from any car – those who are willing to barter might ultimately offer you the chance to make fantastic finds. Compare a number of parts sources if you can, to try to ascertain where you might get the best deal.

When a price structure is not in place, remember not to give away too much – your obvious enthusiasm for a particular car part might just jack up the price. Express your interest in the part you want, but don’t act as though your life depends upon it: car part shopping can be a treacherous game! The dealer will obviously try to get as much as he can for the part you are after, so bid low, and go up only reluctantly. Play your cards close to your chest, and don’t give away anything that might suggest you are willing or able to pay more – leave the expensive watch at home!

When you finally agree on a price, be sure you know what you are paying for. Is the casing and so on included? Some yards will charge an extra fee for removal of a part that is still in a car, so ask if you can remove the item yourself. Unless the part is deeply embedded in the existing car’s structure, this could save you quite a bit of money, but if the job is complicated you might be best having it removed for you. Saving money pales when personal injury is a real risk! Have fun bargaining, but remember to stay safe.

Dave is the owner of a website providing information on car parts.

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