Is there a better way to search for used(or new) parts?

When searching for used spare parts on any classified ad site we tend to miss out a lot of parts as they are listed under a different make/model/year.
Say I am looking for a steering wheel for my Ford, I would enter Ford, model, year, etc. But that same steering wheel fits other models/years, and won’t show up on my search results because the seller is listing under his Ford’s model/year/etc.

Is there a remedy to this problem? Maybe a web site or database that cross references parts to multiple vehicle model/year.

This one searches the salvage yards they have in their network. You deal direct with the yard to purchase the item. Assuming they have what you need. Other years/models that would work would show up as well.

When I phone my recyclers, it is they who have the interchanges and national locator.

I agree with @ken green.

Both the yards that I use locate, and have the part shipped to them.
I have had the rare instance where they will negotiate for the part and they will let me go retrieve it from that yard, yet I pay the place that first searched for the part.
I don’t think they do this on a regular basis, but I’ve been going there since I was a kid with my dad. I offered to go fetch the part and he said yes.


Back in BC (Before Computers), we used to walk into the boneyard, find what we needed, remove it, take it to the counter and pay for it.

In today’s world the boneyards are all computerized, and the software they use does automatic cross-references. It’s a great system, and IMHO the best way to find used parts.

BUT…maybe I wasn’t specific, my problem is in finding parts sold by private individuals who are parting out a vehicle or have a few parts from an old vehicle or wrong part they bought and couldn’t return to store, etc.

They put an ad like this…
"Parting out our 2000 Ford F150 …"
Then they list a dozen parts, some of which will fit models other than the 2000 Ford F150.
Is there a way to find what all those other models/years are?

Yup. Ask a boneyard.

A cross reference for used parts from private sellers would be a huge data base and costly and a nonprofit deal for anyone. So the answer is most likely No.

Try this: find a listing classified listing for parts, like the 2000 F150 you mentioned. Then look on line for the same parts a a large new auto parts store like Rock Auto. They might show compatability with other years, or write down the 2000 F150 part number and then look up the year part you need. If the parts have the same stock number, you’re in business.

“Back in BC (Before Computers), we used to walk into the boneyard, find what we needed, remove it, take it to the counter and pay for it.”

@TSMB: That’s pretty much the way I do it today. The local pick-a-part has about a dozen F150s of my generation, and I sort of remember what they have and what they don’t (like tailgates, LOL.)

Then I get my sockets and a wheelbarrow (they charge you $2 for a cart!) and drive on out…

Most salvage yards use the Hollander Interchange and the Eden parts locator. This is very pricy and unless you’re well-heeled will be out of reach for the DIYer.
If you have a decent library in your area you might check the reference section as they may have the paper version of Hollander available if not the online version. The podunk library here has it so it’s feasible that facilities in much larger populated areas would also be blessed with it.

Another option is to check auto parts sites by comparing part numbers of what is in place against part numbers for other years. Unless it’s changed, Advance Auto has, or had, a “What all it fits…” section once the part was entered. AutoZone has this also; sort of… :smile:

Yep, in Rockauto if you click on one of the icons, it shows all the cars that part is used on, but usually only mechanical parts and not body parts. I think I’ve only bought one or two parts from a private seller advertising in one of the auto circulars. I would just rather not, and with computers now, no reason to go through the phone book calling all the yards.

I remember once I was fixing a car for an elderly friend who hit a tree. I needed a bumper, grill and fender for a 62 Comet in about 1980. I checked everywhere and a couple yards did the radio search and nothing. Even checked in South Dakota when I was there and nothing. Finally I went to see Frank who had worked at a local yard since a kid and new where everything was for the past 30 years. Sure enough they had one sitting way in the back. I think I paid a total of $25 for everything. Sometimes its just in your own back yard. I made 50 cents an hour on that job. Insurance paid her $500 for the car and I got something like $80 for my cost and effort. She screwed me good.