Car parts - used or new?

I am repairing a 2001 Kia Sephia for my daughter to learn to drive in. It was my mother-in-laws, and we bought it from her and drove it until having to replace the timing belt this past December at 150,000 miles. The A/C compressor went out at the end of last summer, in that the front seals are gone and leak out the freon. I was looking at replacing the compressor and then I came across a quirk. I know growing up, I would go to the local parts yard or salvage yard and get a used compressor and not think anything of it. I was looking online and see where I can get one at a fraction of the cost for used, around $50 shipped to me, or pay $100 or more for a newer one. I guess it may all be in my head as I have gotten older, but wouldn’t a used part work just as well as a new one, like it used to when I did it 20 plus years ago? I know it’s used, but I am only looking to get the item working for a few years, and not a lifetime. I guess what I am asking, what is the recommendation, get the used one or spend the extra money for peace of mind?

I m not really sure about how a used compressor would fare, but some of the real mechanics here will.

as far as used parts in general I believe that a good used factory part is sometimes superior to an after market part.

I have a '75 ford truck and buying a cheap parts truck was one of the most fiscally sound decisions I ever made. perhaps you can find a parts car for yours if you plan on keeping it running for a while. I don t know much about kias, or if some thing structural only lasts 15 yrs or anything.

just a thought…

Parts that are not subject to wear (a fender, a side window glass) are always prime candidates for a junk yard part. Parts that are subject to wear and cost a lot to install (pistons, suspension parts) are never candidates for a junk yard part.

You should be looking at $200 to $300 for a new compressor for that car. Whether it is worth it to risk putting in a $50 junk yard part depends on whether it is you or a professional putting it in and whether you will be replacing the other parts that should be done at the same time. If you have a vacuum pump and plan on putting it in quick and dirty, then the $200 you can save on a junk yard compressor may be a good idea. If you are paying someone $500 in labor to do the job, definitely get a new one.

Given the age and the purpose of the car I wonder why you’re repairing the A/C at all. Do you live in Arizona?

The problem with a used compressor is you don’t know if or how well it works. And a compressor that grenades itself after you install it can foul the rest of your A/C system in no time.

If you can get a compressor off of a parts car that still has the refrigerant charge in it I might try that. Otherwise I would buy new.

So you plan on replacing a 14 year old AC compressor with one that is probably just as old . . .

It doesn’t make sense to me

Install a new one, and it’ll probably last several years, at which point it’s time for another car, anyways

Yeah I agree. I’ve never had any luck with used ones. The problem is the compressor is only a fraction of the total cost. Time you get done replacing the dryer, flushing the system, recharging, etc. its just too risky for a used one if it blows up. A used alternator no big deal, but a compressor is expensive to put in.

I would be more inclined to see if an AC shop,would replace the seals in your present compressor,

I’m in agreement with Manolito here because some parts should never be bought used for a variety of reasons.