BMWs are very well engineered cars that have earned a reputation as being fun, safe and luxurious. But most people also know that BMWs, like all German cars, are also more expensive to repair than your average American or Japanese vehicles. Higher quality parts means higher prices, particularly if you are buying directly from the dealer. One alternative is to buy used parts; after all, as long as they function properly, you can save money. This may not make sense for something like a windshield, but may work for various body parts, electrical components and the like.
Things You'll Need
- Socket set and ratchet
- Miscellaneous automotive tools
Visit local salvage yards. Just about every town and city has some kind of salvage yard, while densely populated areas will have multiple salvage yards. BMWs may not be the most common cars, but if you have a recent model, there is a good chance that there is a yard near you that has a couple of examples of your car being sold for parts. If it is the "you-pull-it" type of a yard, where the buyers are responsible for removing their own parts, you can potentially save even more money by bringing your own tools and removing the part you need. If it is a normal salvage yard, ask what parts they have in stock. You’ll still save money -- just make sure that the parts you are buying are functional and usable.
Look up national salvage yards. If you can’t find parts for you BMW at a local salvage yard or online, contact some of the larger, national salvage yards. Retailers that sell used BMW parts will often advertise in BMW magazines or on BMW-specific websites. This may be your best bet for locating cheap, used parts from a salvage yard, as these larger companies will likely have several examples, or more, of your specific model that are being parted out.
Use online auction sites. Websites such as eBay can be a great place to find used car parts, including ones for BMWs. There are literally thousands of parts for sale at any given time, including used and new parts. Salvage yards use online auctions to sell parts; individuals who are clearing out old parts that are gathering dust in the garage also sell online at auctions. If you buy smartly, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars or more over what you would pay for new parts at an auto parts store or at the dealer.
Visit BMW-specific discussion forums. The Internet has brought a proliferation of websites that cater to a very specific audience, including, of course, BMW owners and enthusiasts. There are even sites for specific models, so there are forums that focus on everything from BMW M3s to the E28 generation 5 Series, which was made in the 1980s. Most of these forums have classified sections where sellers can advertise parts for sale. You can also add a posting that details that parts you need to buy. More often than not, a visitor to the site may have what you need, and at a cost-saving price.