How to Find Car Parts That are No Longer in Production

By: Adam Singleton


After taking my car to a garage to get a service and MOT carried out only to be told that they could not get a part directly from the manufacturer, I have recently had the excruciatingly painful experience of trying to source the parts from alternative suppliers.

This was a situation which I had never envisaged. While I understood that my Toyota MR2 was no longer in production, I was still completely stunned to find out that certain parts for it are no longer available. If my vehicle was a rare custom car, then perhaps I could understand it, but it is currently one of the more popular tuner cars to be coming into the UK as part of the grey import market from Japan. It seems that although you can easily buy the cars themselves, getting the parts to keep them running is a lot more difficult.

I tried the usual phoning round of local suppliers, but to no avail. I checked through the yellow pages and tried the local scrap yards to see if they had anything, but again with no luck. I looked through hundreds of pages from different car tuning and performance parts sites, and couldn't find anything to match up with what I needed.

In the end I started trawling through different motoring forum sites to see if the part was perhaps known under a different name from what the garage had told me it was called. That was when I started to gain some feeling that I might actually be able to keep the car running. Following a couple of posts asking for help to the relevant sites, with the addition of a photo of the offending part, and I suddenly had access to a large group of keen car owners and mechanics looking to discuss motoring online and my car problem in particular.

They provided suggestions of possible alternative names, as well as suggestions of where I might be able to find a replacement and how much it was liable to cost. I even ended up with several detailed sets of instructions on how to fit the part myself, which if I had the time would have saved me a sizable amount of money!

The next step was to check out some of the recommended garages and scrap yards online to see if anywhere had the part in stock, how much it would cost and how long it would take to arrive. The internet again came to my rescue, as a quick Google search for the terms "car part Toyota MR2", yielded a list of specialist part suppliers and scrap yard networks.

These networks proved to be of particular use for my circumstances. Simply by entering in the car and part details, one website provided a free check of multiple car part sources across the country in one go. After only a few minutes I was on the phone to a scrap dealer several hundred miles away, and being told that they had the part in stock and could do next day delivery! I confirmed, by emailing a photo, that the part they had was actually the one required and after that it was just a matter of ordering and waiting 24 hours for the part to arrive.

How quickly it can all change; from the despair I felt at the idea that I might have to get a part custom made or even dispose of my car, to the elation at being able to quickly and cheaply get the car back on the road. For anyone with a car that is no longer in production, or who is simply looking to save on the costs of repair and servicing, the internet is definitely the answer.

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