A good way for shade tree mechanics to save money is with cheap auto parts. Quality auto parts do not need to cost a lot. It is possible to lessen the auto repair bill with these steps.
Know the proper name for the auto part you are searching for. Use a repair manual with pictures for reference. Do not call an auto parts store and say "I need that big thing under the hood."
Determine if the automobile part can be used. A used auto parts dealer (junk yard) always has the cheapest vehicle parts. Call several dealers to compare prices. Some things to look for at the junk yard would include interior plastic parts, seats, fenders, bumpers, whole engines and many more. Brake and front-end chassis parts are items that should never be reused.
Check online auctions and listing sites for large or expensive used auto parts. Sites like Craigslist have people on them that sell parts that are hard to find.
See if the part you need can be rebuilt. It takes time and sometimes special tools to do this. This is sometimes cheaper than buying a complete part.
Check for coupons and sales at full price new auto-parts stores. Look for online discounts. A sale at one store sometimes is honored at others. The classified section of your local newspaper is a good place to look for cheap auto parts.
Ask the auto parts store clerk if there is a different brand that is cheaper. The cheap auto parts are listed at the bottom of the computer screen the clerk is looking at. Lifetime warranty parts only save you money if you can remember what store you bought it from. A receipt probably may be needed for exchange.