5 Tips to Find the Best Deals on Auto Parts for Your Car

If you plan and do your homework, you can save thousands of dollars on auto parts over the life of your vehicle.


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Think back to that unforgettable moment when you first got the keys to that new car you always wanted. When you drove it off the dealer lot, it not only had that new-car smell, but also the manufacturer's original parts, all in perfect working order, resulting in a beautiful ride that you would cherish for years.

How can you keep that new car feeling as long as possible?

One way is not to skimp on the recommended maintenance service. Another is not to ignore all those worn suspension components or noises coming from the engine that can make any vehicle feel like an old beater. Even the most durable and well-built cars, minivans, trucks, and SUVs can become rolling catastrophes if you don't invest in keeping them in top running condition and using quality parts when needed.

As a car dealer and auctioneer for nearly 20 years, I can tell you that maintaining your car the right way is surprisingly easy. The goal is to kick that big bucket of worn parts to the side of the road while saving yourself money by planning.

Here are five tips on how you can find the best deals on auto parts to keep your car in tip-top shape:

1. Buy the Best Tires You Can Afford

Price matching, rebates, and holiday sales are the three ingredients you need to get deep discounts on tires.

Search on Google's shopping section for your preferred tire and the correct size for your car—for example, Michelin Primacy A/S 225/65R17. Make sure you include any shipping costs in that total. Then call local tire retailers to see if they will match that price—most will.

Tire manufacturer rebates can often be found directly on the website of your preferred tire retailer, such as Discount Tire or Firestone. Take note of any tire retailer's credit card discounts. If you decide to use the retailer's credit card, immediately set it up online for auto pay. Also, search online for "tire rebates" for your specific tire. You may see an additional rebate not listed on the retailer's site.

To save even more money, call the tire retailer back and determine if they will match Walmart's tire installation cost, which is $15 a tire. Have them order the tires for you or go there directly at a specific time so that you don't have to wait around.

Finally, many tire retailers put on sales events during the long weekend holidays, such as President's Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day.

By taking this approach, I regularly save over $200 per set of tires, with my best deal being a set of Continentals which would have been over $400, costing me only $112.

2. Stock Up on Automotive Filters

Buying automotive filters in quantity can save you money and take up very little storage space. I prefer a two-year supply of filters for my car. Two oil filters, two air filters, and one cabin air filter.

I usually buy my filters online. RockAuto often has excellent deals on filters. If you’re a Prime member, you can get free shipping from Amazon. Factor in shipping costs before choosing one over the other.

Also, buy the highest quality filter you can afford. A synthetic oil filter, such as a FRAM Ultra, is designed to last 20,000 miles and offers better filtration than less expensive filters.

3. Keep Plenty of Fluids on Hand

Brake fluid, power steering fluid, and freon are usually the cheapest at Walmart. Stick to the smaller containers and the Supertech in-house brand unless your vehicle's manual states otherwise.

Coolant is usually available with stackable rebates early in the year and on Black Friday. Motor oil tends to be put on clearance in December, and early January, when the weather turns cold, making outside oil changes less common.

4. Don't Let Your Car Battery Leave You Stranded

Don't wait until your car's engine turns over slowly to deal with an old battery.

Take your car to a nearby auto parts store. Let them test the battery and ensure the terminal connectors are suitable. A tow bill can easily cost more than most batteries. Walmart can be among the cheapest sources of new batteries, with prices often under $100.

5. With High-Risk Wear Items, Always Buy the Popular Brands

Most folks don't have the know-how to figure out when their car's alternator or compressor is about to break. But suspension components, radiators, alternators, compressors, hoses, and belts typically need to be replaced once during a vehicle's lifetime. RockAuto, eBay, and Amazon are the best sources, and I stick with name brands over the cheaper knock-offs.

However, if you're one of those rare types who do their repair work and have a European car, FCP Euro is a great alternative with their lifetime warranty.

Deals on brakes and rotors can often be found in the "Product Rebates, Sales and Promotions" section of the online site Bob Is The Oil Guy. This site also keeps up on deep discounts for other auto parts.

By staying on top of your car's maintenance needs and shopping for the best prices on parts, your vehicle will likely endure many years of driving, and you can save thousands of dollars over the life of your car.

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Steven Lang
Steven Lang is a special contributor to Capital One with nearly two decades of experience as an auto auctioneer, car dealer, and part owner of an auto auction. Some of the best-known auto publications turn to him for his expert insight. He is also the co-developer of the Long-Term Quality Index, a survey of vehicle reliability featuring over two million vehicles that have been inspected by professional mechanics.