By Bobbi Burger Brunoehler of BobbisBargains.
I have a 14-year-old car that I adore. Despite the allure of a beautiful, new, high-MPG eco-friendly compact, I want to keep my comfy Dodge Grand Caravan running smoothly. It is paid-in-full, has low insurance rates, and can easily transport all our stuff.
I was strongly considering buying another, more recent used car to replace my van. However, after extensive research and test drives, I decided to keep my beloved caravan and fix anything that was wrong. I know the history of the car’s breakdowns and repairs. And I know what will soon need fixing. I already took advantage of a free recall replacement on a defective air bag indicator.
Since I figured I would have paid at least $5,000 to get a new-used van, I figured I could spend that much on fixing my current car and still be ahead of the game.
My first items on my to-do list:
- Driver’s side electric mirror
- Rear brake/turn signal/back up light unit
- Silencer pad (that sheet of asbestos on the inside of your car’s hood)
I called the dealer and found out that to buy the parts and have them installed would cost $688. Way too much.
I knew there were junk yards where you could go and pick your own car parts but I wanted to find these items at a junk yard that specialized in Dodge parts. Online, I found just the place an hour from my house. So I saddled up the van and took a road trip into the world of automobile dismantlers.
Wow! What an adventure. These guys literally take apart the cars until they are down to the frame. It is really interesting to see. I was able to purchase all three parts that I needed for the exact year and model of my car. One of the guys installed the tail light unit and they showed me how to easily install the other two parts.
The total of my purchases and installation: $120. My savings: $568. That is an 83% discount!
Now, I think I am a junk yard addict. I’ll never buy a part from a dealer again.