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Car Repairs the eBay Motors Way

Save money on repairs or become a full-fledged car enthusiast


Car Repairs the eBay Motors Way

eBay is one of the Internet's premier sources for automotive and other vehicle parts and tools

Photo: Dashark / Dreamstime

Car Repairs the eBay Motors Way

The summer driving season can take a toll on cars, particularly "down the stretch" as heat and wear inevitably lead to the need for repairs of one sort or another.

Though buying auto parts online has traditionally been something of a spotty exercise, often with some of the least user-friendly ecommerce sites on the Internet, the gradual improvement of eBay Motors and its parts search over the years has made eBay a great choice for the buy-it-yourselfer.

Here are a few of the many car repair tasks you can complete on eBay Motors.

Buy a Service Manual

The dedicated eBayer that's mechanically inclined might just choose to do car repairs at home in the garage or on the driveway, but it's often critical these days to have a service manual to help you to navigate the guts of modern cars. Both dealership and mass market service manuals for most makes and models of cars can be purchased on eBay. Here's how to find them:

  1. Visit eBay's front page (not the eBay Motors front page).
  2. Search for "service manual make model year" but replace "make" with your car's make (Audi, Ford, Volkswagen, etc.), "model" with the model (Quattro, Focus, Jetta, etc.), and "year" with the model year.

You're likely to find multiple service manuals in multiple formats (some printed, some on CD, some deliverable online). Find the one that best suits your needs.

Buy an OBD II Code Scanner

Most of the cars on the road today old and new have an onboard "computer" that monitors the car's running condition and can provide reports about what might be going wrong-if you have the right equipment to communicate with it. To "talk" to your car, you'll need an OBD II code scanner. Here's how to find one:

  1. Visit eBay's front page (not the eBay Motors front page).
  2. Search for "obd ii scanner" and locate one with the price and features that you want.

You'll notice that there are a variety of scanner types; some are standalone scanners that are very inexpensive and perform the basic function of asking your car what's gone wrong recently. Others are more complex, in some cases connecting by cable or over Bluetooth to your PC, where you'll install software to diagnose issues in more detail.

For most weekend mechanics, the inexpensive standalone scanners are all that's needed—for each numeric problem code that your car reports to you, conduct a Google search to find the appropriate repair. For example, search for "p0420 toyota celica" to find out what other owners have needed to repair or replace for code "p0420" and how to go about doing it.

Set Up a Service Area

If you're outfitting a new service area to make your repairs, you'll find that nearly everything you need can be found on eBay. From the eBay Motors front page you can search for all of the most common repair tools:

Since tools of these kinds rarely wear out, you'll often be able to outfit a service area on eBay for much less than you'd spend at retail, without having to do the endless footwork required to find used items locally.

Buy Parts for Your Vehicle on eBay Motors

With service manual and code scanner in hand and a service area full of tools, you're set to do your own car repairs.

eBay motors gives you access to a wide range of car parts for most makes and models, everything from bodywork and interior to both new and junkyard-sourced engine, transmission, and other system parts. To find parts for your car on eBay, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the eBay Motors front page
  2. Click on the "Parts & Accessories" tab in the search area
  3. Select your car's make from the "Make" drop-down list
  4. Select your car's model from the "Model" drop-down list
  5. Select your car's model year from the "Model Year" drop-down list
  6. Enter a keyword for the part that you need (i.e. alternator, turbo control valve, rack and pinion, brake pads, catalytic converter, trailer hitch, etc.) in the "Keyword" box

After step six you'll see a list of matching parts to fit your particular car's make, model, and year. On the results page, you can further narrow your search by clicking either "New" or "Used" in the "Condition" box on the left-hand side of the page to see only new or only used parts, respectively.

Buy Parts on eBay Even if You Don't Install Them Yourself

If you're out to save money on car repairs but don't necessarily want to become a backyard mechanic or outfit your own automobile service area at home, have no fear, savings on car parts and unique aftermarket options that you find on eBay are still likely available to you, though many non-car-oriented consumers don't know this.

As you take your car to the shop for repairs, simply ask your mechanic if he's willing to install parts that you provide, so long as you pay the labor costs for installation. Most reputable mechanics will be willing to install parts that you provide for the cost of labor. If your mechanic isn't willing to do this, it may be time to find a new mechanic!

Simply ask him or her to call you before making any repairs, providing a list of the parts that he or she will need. Then, source the parts on eBay and get them, along with your car, to the mechanic for installation.

Start a Project Car

If you're really into fixing cars, eBay is a great source for "project" cars, either in your area or nationally. Project cars, of course, are cars that need to be repaired (usually in a great many ways), but that are so historically important or fun that it's worth the time and effort to repair them as a kind of hobby.

eBay is one of the best sources around for project car parts thanks to its long "flea market" trading tradition and the availability of used automotive goods from junkyards around the world.

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