In our quest to find the best online place to buy car parts, we came across eBay. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to most of you, but eBay is one of the best online platforms around. In the next sections, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about buying car parts through eBay. By the end, you should know whether or not eBay is really that good (spoiler alert: it really is).
How Does eBay Work?
You might remember eBay as the OG Amazon. Well, the platform is very much alive and well. You’ll find a lot of collectible, unique, and rare items on eBay whereas you’ll find more commercially available items for sale on Amazon.
If you haven’t heard of eBay, here’s how it works: Anyone can open a profile as a seller or buyer as long as they’re based in the US. A seller will upload their item for sale, put a description, and take photos. They can either auction it at a certain price, or they can put it for sale at a flat “buy now” price.
A buyer can search for certain items then filter them down based on certain criteria. You can even search by SKU numbers or product numbers to really specify your search. When you find an item you like, you can either bid on it or buy it. If you bid, you’re blindly hoping that your price is higher than another bidder. The highest bidder wins at the end of the countdown.
This simple set-up has caused a lot of resellers to hit up eBay and sell their various goods. One of the big sectors of eBay is all about buying and selling car parts.
Who Can Sell on eBay?
We mentioned that almost anyone can set up an account to sell on eBay, but it isn’t really that easy. Buyers have access to different stats on a seller’s profile. It will tell you how many sales they’ve done, how well they’re rated, and if buyers ever had problems with the seller in the past.
If a seller gets too many dings on their account, it will be suspended. Additionally, if they are caught scamming, their account will get banned. This is good news to us buyers. It means that the chance of getting scammed is lesser, but it’s still a buyer beware situation.
We’ll talk about some of the safeguards in eBay later, but here’s some quick advice: always have a little bit of skepticism when you’re shopping on eBay. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
There are a lot of people that are looking to trick or scam you out of your money. eBay can help protect you a little bit, but it’s ultimately up to you to stay safe.
Is eBay Really That Good for Buying Car Parts?
Now let’s answer the big question: is eBay really that good for buying car parts? Our short verdict? It absolutely is. It’s one of the best online platforms for buying used, new, aftermarket, and OEM car parts all in one place.
This short answer doesn’t do justice to just how good eBay is. Let’s take a few minutes and talk about the parts of eBay that make it such a great place to buy car parts.
Breadth of Items
First and foremost, there are a ton of items posted for sale on eBay. Just for giggles, we did a general search for car parts. We inputted our car as a 2018 BMW 320i Base 2.0L just to see what’s for sale. There were over 141,000 results for just this specific car.
As you dig deeper, you find even more items for sale that you might love. It’s impossible to deny that eBay has a deep and wide pool of car parts for you to buy.
Check for Compatibility
We just mentioned that we inputted our car in the previous section. When you first go to eBay, you get the opportunity to tell them what car you have.
They will automatically screen the results to make sure they’re compatible with your specific car. You even get to specify the trim level and sub-model to make sure everything fits.
The downside with buying a car part from a friend of a friend is that you don’t really know whether or not the part is compatible until you get back home. With this great screening feature on eBay, you’re saving a ton of time and money upfront.
Sure, there are some exceptions to this idea. A seller might say the part is compatible with a car that it isn’t. Going back to the “buyer beware” idea, just double-check before checking out with the part in your cart.
Aftermarket or OEM
You can look for OEM or aftermarket parts through eBay. If you didn’t know, OEM pertains to the parts commissioned by the car manufacturer for your specific car. A Chevy Cruze OEM muffler was blessed by the fine folks at Chevy. OEM parts are typically more expensive but they’re a guaranteed part.
Aftermarket parts are made by third parties. They are perfectly fine options, you just need to make sure they fit your car before buying them. They’re more versatile and modular than OEM parts, and they’re usually more fun to play with. For example, you can get an aftermarket muffler that sounds badass and gives you a deeper exhaust tone.
Through eBay, you can choose either OEM or aftermarket parts. The item description will typically tell you which category it falls into. This makes this marketplace a good option for anybody. You can filter to show only aftermarket or OEM parts.
New or Used
Another sub-category is the condition of the part. Sellers will either list them as new or used and that opens the door to all different buyers. In a lot of cases, a new car part is going to serve you better.
If you’re looking to save money and grab a part used, there are plenty of opportunities for it. After all, who cares if your rearview mirror is new or used, just as long as it works.
You’ll find products of all different conditions listed for sale. You can filter the results per the condition you’re looking for, ranging from “new” to “not working”.
Searching and Sorting is Easy
At this point, we’ve talked about sorting and filtering a bunch. If you didn’t realize it by now, this is a huge selling point of eBay as a platform.
You can get incredibly specific with your searches. There’s no telling if you’ll get any results, but it’s worth a shot.
If you want to search for a general term, you can add extra filters and sort the results. You can simply look up “cargo net” then filter for brand, type, condition, and so forth. By the end, you’ll be left with the nets that are compatible with your car, within your price range, and the size that you’re looking for.
Do you have a question about the part you’re looking at? You have the option to message almost any seller on the platform. When you do, they get an email that you sent a message and they can choose to respond to you or not.
There aren’t a lot of scenarios where you’d need to message someone, but it’s nice to have the feature. It’s definitely useful if you have specific requests or you’re looking to talk to the seller after buying the item.
Comes with a Warranty
Some items even come with a warranty. Again, this information will be found in the description of the listing. You can filter the searched results for what type of warranty comes with the item. Of the 141,000 search results for our Bimmer, 39,000 claim to come with a one-year warranty.
See How Popular the Item Is
There are a few metrics that pop up when you click on a part and view the listing. You’ll see information about how many views it got in the last hour, how many were sold, and whether or not the item is a top-selling option.
All of these pieces of data will help you make your final decision. If the part is a top-seller and has a ton of sales with good feedback, you can feel pretty comfortable.
It feels like eBay has been around for a million years. When it comes to online marketplaces, that’s only possible if the source is reputable. We trust eBay which is really important. You don’t want to go to a sketchy site that might take your credit card info and scam you.
Even if eBay has a part listed for more money, it often makes sense to choose them over a random site selling the part. The risk is just too high if you go elsewhere.
You Can Suggest Your Own Price (Sometimes)
Some listings come with an “OBO” option which stands for “or best offer”. This means that the seller is willing to haggle and field prices under their posted one.
If you see a part listed for $100 but the seller has OBO selected, you can type in a custom price and send it over. If it’s good enough for the seller, they can accept it and you get the item for cheaper than the list price.
Not a lot of sellers opt into this option because it invites low-ballers. Either way, it makes it fun as a buyer to name your own price whenever possible.
Convenient Customer Support
If you run into a major problem, it’s really easy to get a hold of eBay’s customer support. This is another reason why they’ve been alive on the internet for so long. Online shopping sites need to prioritize customer service, and eBay does a great job of it (in our experience). They can help you get your money back if there was a major error or a scam.
Discounts for Bulk Orders (Sometimes)
You might also find options that offer discounts if you buy a certain quantity. Going back to our cargo net search, we see options that offer up to 20% off each item if you buy above a certain number of nets.
This is great for smaller items that you need multiples of. Alternatively, you can stock up on a certain part and gift them to friends or just keep them in your garage.
Find Rare Parts
eBay is one of the best places to find rare car parts. Sometimes, it’s the only option. This all goes back to the fact that sellers come from all walks of life. Some sellers are collectors that buy and flip rare car parts.
Just Make Sure You Know What You Want
It’s easy to get lost and confused on such a massive platform. We suggest starting your search with an idea of what you’re looking for.
If you want a specific car part, make sure you know exactly what you want. The added features that eBay has definitely make the process easier, but it’s still simple to make a little mistake.
If the seller doesn’t accept returns, this simple mistake could cost a lot of money (depending on the item you’re getting).
Honestly though, this is no different than any other online platform when it comes to the potential to get the wrong part. That’s the risk of buying online without going into a store and talking to one of the salespeople. It’s a tiny risk that we’re willing to take if it means shopping through eBay.
If you couldn’t tell by now, we’re in love with using eBay to buy car parts. You can find used, new, OEM, aftermarket, generic, and rare parts for sale. With all the great benefits of shopping on eBay, it’s hard to go somewhere else. For more buying tips and tricks, check out the rest of our blog. Make sure you have the right tools and accessories in your garage to keep your vehicle running forever!