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Classified Buying Tips
Submitted by MW Member: Brent White

Getting used to buying used parts off the Internet is not difficult. I started buying used parts IN 1996. I was in college and had little money to finish the 91 Mustang that I had started to build when I began college. I had spent thousands of dollars in the past on new parts but I was ready to get my Mustang road worthy in this lifetime so I turned to the Internet. I found all kinds of used parts in great condition such as a 70 mm throttlebody, mass air, rockers, subframes, cobra intake, and a nitrous kit. Before I knew it I had an LX that ran 12.37 at 109 mph on the motor and a sweet 11.30 at 119 mph on the sauce. All with ported stock heads and 3,300 pounds! That never would have been possible that year if I had not known how to buy the used parts off the Internet. The time has come to give some detail into how to buy used parts safely with out getting scammed.

Buying used parts will save you thousands of dollars down the road if done correctly. I have saved thousands buying used for the past few years so believe me; I know what I am talking about. I can't imagine not having a resource like The Mustang Works while trying to build cars with the price of aftermarket parts today. There is nothing to be afraid of when buying parts used; you just need to be smart about it. Listed below are some rules that I obey and even some sneaky tricks that will help you be successful when buying used parts off an individual that you do not know.

# Be smart! If you have a bad feeling about the person you are buying a part from, DON'T! It is not worth the risk. Your gut feelings are like instinct and you can trust them almost 100% of the time.

# Be honest! If you have cash for the part you want to buy do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to about the part. If the owner is an honest person, they will not care. If you don't have money, don't waste their time.

# Be specific! Ask about shape, color, damage, condition, and age. Don't beat around the bush with people. If you want to know something ask them. Ask any question you need to know and be very specific doing it. If you are not getting the answers you are looking for it is a safe bet you should not buy the part.

# Too good to be true? Is this deal to good to be true? If you are thinking this than it may be. I have gotten killer deals on the net, but I have been very careful doing it. Some people that sell parts need money bad and will take almost any amount of cash for what they are selling. This is good for you, but be careful of deals like this. You may also run into somebody that uses this excuse but are really selling damaged parts. I for one sometimes sell parts for cheap just to get rid of them so good deals are out there!

# Talk in person! After you have worked a deal out on the net talk in person. This is the final step to trusting somebody. I have no problem with somebody wanting to call me when we get a deal worked out. It also lets me know that they are serious and the part is really sold. That is another thing, if you change your mind about a part please let the seller know. It will save him a lot of work down the road.

# References! This is something I have a lot of. Although some people like shipping COD I prefer cash or a check up front. UPS and the post office will not let you open a package anyways before you pay for it COD. When a person wants to buy something from me I give them references that they can use to check on my previous sales. If they are willing to pay up front after checking up on me, I ship them the parts for free. This saves us both time and money. I usually keep about 10 references on a page for them and let them pick a couple out to contact. Not everybody has a lot of references so you may want to go the COD route or you can do some research!

# RESEARCH! Research can be your most valuable tool! Research has saved me thousands of dollars! Do you want to know why? When all else fails you can count on research. Call anybody you need to call to get the information that you want. This may save you a ton of money down the road. Research has saved me over $2,000 in headaches! Now don't let those numbers scare you. I do a lot of selling and buying on the net. I have a couple cars I am constantly building and I am constantly changing their combinations. Research will make you feel better about a deal before you commit to it.

# WWW.UPS.COM! This web page is very valuable if you send parts COD. The best thing for you to do when shipping a part cod is to get the tracking number and the grand total of the deal and let the buyer know what the final cost is. While the package is in shipment you both can log onto UPS.COM and see where the package is at by typing in the tracking number. You will know if the buyer misses the first attempt of ups dropping off the package. I always e-mail the buyer after the first ups attempt and remind him of the total and tell him to be sure to have a money order ready the next day. Doing this has saved me from having packages returned a couple times. Here are a couple of my favorite research missions I have completed. Call them sneaky, but they are a lifesaver! Feel free to copy my style; it has not failed me yet.

The Head Porter: (Based on a true story).

A guy in Florida had a sweet set of ported aluminum heads I wanted to buy for a real good price. It was a fair price, but more in my favor. I talked to him on e-mail and he seemed pretty cool but his story does not make much sense on why he is getting rid of the heads. I ask him a couple of times who ported the heads and he sticks to his story and says that they were ported by Heads By Rick. So I logged onto the search engine ( on the net and get Heads by Rick's phone number. I also looked up where this shop is on a map ( and just like the seller told me it is just down the road from his house. I called Heads By Rick and I was very nice on the phone and asked about the heads being ported. After talking to several people at the Head Porting Shop nobody knew or had even heard of the guy selling the heads.

I decided not to buy the heads. He could have been telling me the truth but I live in Indiana and he lives in Florida. That is too far for me to try to trust somebody that did not make total sense. Mission Accomplished!

Damaged Head: (Based on a true story).

I posted a wanted add on The Mustang Works and stated that I was interested in buying a set ported Dart heads. In a matter of hours get a reply from a shop in Ohio and he says he has just what I am looking for. I talked the guy into a fair deal and he seemed to know what he was talking about on the phone. Once again I asked why he was selling the heads and his reply seemed kind of fishy. Since I am getting ready to drop a grand on a set of heads I break out the big dog. I have a secret e-mail address. These are commonly available for free from Yahoo and Hot Mail. I signed up for my free address long ago for situations just like this. I e-mail the shop in Ohio using my fake address and ask if they have any used heads for sale. Sure enough I get a reply saying he has a set for sale. The e-mail went on to tell me almost exactly what he told me in his previous e-mail. The only problem is flow figures, mileage, and spring lifts were all different than he told me before. I decided to call the shop and see what he would tell me over the phone. Once again, the numbers were all a little different as the first time we talked. I asked who the original owner of the heads were and he simply stated they were on a Tech guy's car that works for Mac Exhaust. Well Mac Exhaust is in Ohio so I give them a call and ask for a Tech guy with a Mustang. In a matter of seconds I had the original owner of the heads on the phone. I then find out the heads were damaged and they did not even flow what the shop owner told me.

Mission Accomplished! I found out all I needed to know about the heads. I also called the shop and threatened them that if they posted any more ads on the net I would make sure that everybody knew about their lies. Just a little research saved me a thousand dollars in headaches! I am a serious buyer though. If you don't have the cash don't waste a sellers time.

If you just follow some simple guidelines that I have stated you will buy parts with great success. Don't be afraid to ask questions, don't be afraid to question the parts condition, and don't be afraid to say no to a deal. 95% of the parts on The Mustang Works that are advertised are good parts. You will find great deals here and save lots of cash in the long run. You are now trained and ready to start making deals and start saving money. Remember this: Treat others with honesty and respect and demand to be treated the same way. If you are not then you are safer taking your business elsewhere.

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