That is really the main thing. If you are in a rush, expect to pay a premium. Get yourself into the mindset that it is better to have parts and have to sit on them for a few months rather than missing out on parts sales because you want to get them installed immediately. (e.g. black friday sale comes once a year, so why reserve money for the install of those parts immediately after, when you could save money in the long run by leveraging the sale?) For instance, I stretched $5,000 dollars into around $7,000 in parts last year on Black Friday.
Do you need larger fuel rails right now? Maybe not, but if they’re a good deal, and you know you’ll need them later, why not grab them? Along this vein, join OfferUp and Craigslist, have accounts, and regularly search for the items you are looking for, as well as just generally for your car/type. Sometimes really good deals can be had.
Also do yourself the favor of joining a large forum related to your car. There are sometimes really great deals from folks who have just decided to take their build a different direction, and so now they don’t need the nitrous kit, or their supercharger, or camshaft. Hell in my case, I ended up selling 350 dollars worth of new shocks/struts to a club member for 200 bucks, after I got a hell of a steal for some eibach coilovers (from a forum, no less!)
HAVE A PLAN!
Don’t just buy things willy-nilly. Yes, be opportunistic, but if you’re planning on buying a whipple supercharger, then don’t break the bank scooping a ported intake that will be useless later in your build. That being said, if you get a deal on such an item, and you know you can turn around and sell it for a good price (looking at you, 6.1 manifolds) then by all means, get it, and even install and run it until you’re ready to slap on that whipple. Then take it and get your money back with your local car club or your favorite forum.
JOIN YOUR LOCAL CAR CLUB
How in the hell does that help you save money? Depends on the club! I have been a part of 2 major clubs, and in both cases, I saw members helping eachother out with free/discounted parts and services, install knowledge, and even assistance. Members also often help other members by making them aware of deals, either major sales, swap meets, or good deals that are found on craigslist, offerup, etc. There’s a lot of good reasons to be a part of a car club, but for the purposes of this article, those are the important ones.
MONEY SAVED IS MORE MONEY FOR PARTS!
Some folks are on tight budgets, and other folks are forced onto tight budgets by their significant others. But either way, if you’re allocated 500 bucks for car parts, is it better to get front and rear strut tower braces, and a torque wrench, and do the install yourself, or get just the front, and pay somebody else to torque a few bolts into place for you?
DO YOUR OWN WORK!
Now this obviously comes with caveats, some people physically aren’t able to work on their cars, and that is understood and 100% a-okay. For those of you who can however, doing your own work on your car is rewarding, frustrating, and humbling. I’ve seen some dudes who won’t even put their own strut tower bars on. Yes, you’ll need to invest in some decent tools, and yes, they can be a little on the expensive side. That being said, the cost of a few tools compared to the hourly rate at some of the shops near you is pretty much even after the first day or so of work you pay for. At the end of the day, if you’re doing your own work, even if it’s just for the little stuff like sway bar end links and strut tower braces, you will be saving yourself hundreds of dollars, and on top of that, the knowledge gained is invaluable.
In addition to saving money on the actual cost of labor, there’s something that a lot of people don’t bother with: the old parts.
Isn’t it nice of the speedshop to ‘dispose’ of your old stock stuff for you? Well most of that stuff is an upgrade for somebody. I sold the old carbon fiber intake off my car for 60 dollars, not much, but it took about 20 minutes of my time (drive+posting) and very little effort. Every bit that you gain back from selling your old parts is more money that you can put into something else, either another part or doing that ‘living’ thing.
SAVE WHERE YOU CAN
Buy a worthwhile radar detector. If you got it for twenty bucks at walmart, go ahead and chuck it in the recycle bin and try again. A decent escort model will run you a few hundred, but it will be way cheaper than having your license revoked. I am 100% opposed to street racing in any form, so do not do it, and certainly never claim my blessing to do so, but I do understand that people sometimes speed. Sometimes it gets away from you, sometimes you put in a new part and don’t realize what a difference it will make, or how quickly you’re going to get up to speed. It happens. Do yourself a favor, have a radar detector, avoid tickets, and keep it legal to keep that money for car parts.
Still having some doubts? Lets take a look at what I saved this year alone:
- BBK Fuel Rails, used $50, vs $220 new
- Eibach Coilovers, used $600 vs $1500 new
- Vortech Supercharger kit, used $3200 vs $7120 new
- DSS 1400hp axles $700 used vs $1700 new
- Nitrous Outlet Nitrous plate system (with extras) $1300 vs $1700 new
Thats a savings of $6390, and there’s a few items not on there that would blow your mind. None of that factors in doing the work myself either, which would probably account for another thousand plus.
So there you have it. To sum it up, be patient, be safe, be thoughtful, be prepared, and don’t be afraid to get a little greasy.