Car Buying

Can You Get Parts For a Discontinued Car?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2015

If you're thinking about buying a car that's been canceled or discontinued, you might be wondering if parts will still be available after you make the purchase. After all, if the automaker no longer builds the car, it makes sense that they'd also stop building parts for the car. So can you still get parts for a discontinued car? Or should you avoid a discontinued vehicle on the used market, just in case you find yourself unable to fix it in the future? We have the answer.

Don't Worry

In general, we strongly suggest that you avoid worrying about buying parts for a discontinued car. Automakers earn a lot of money in the parts business, so they usually continue making parts for years after a car is off the market. The same is true whether a car has been discontinued (like the Honda Element, for example) or simply replaced with a newer model (like a previous version of the Honda Accord).

Admittedly, you may eventually find that it becomes harder to get parts for an older car, but we think this is something that we suspect will happen decades from now, not years. Even then, third-party companies often take over the parts supply business from automakers, making discounted parts for older vehicles. If that doesn't work, you can often find what you're looking for in a scrapyard or a junkyard -- though this is usually the last resort for a car that's seen several decades of service and a few hundred thousand miles on the odometer, not one that was discontinued in the last few years.

What About a Discontinued Brand?

Things are a little trickier if your car was manufactured by an automaker that's no longer in existence. For some vehicles, such as those by Oldsmobile, Hummer, Mercury, Plymouth or Saturn, finding parts should be no problem because these brands were all part of a larger umbrella: General Motors, Chrysler or Ford. As a result, we wouldn't worry any more about finding parts for one of these vehicles than we'd worry about finding parts for a discontinued car made by a brand that's still around.

It's a different story, however, if we're talking about an automaker that has entirely pulled out of the U.S. market with no parent company to keep distributing parts. Here we're referencing Saab, Suzuki, Daewoo and a few others, which are essentially automakers that don't have a dealer network or a parts distribution arm around to continue selling parts. So should you be worried about buying one of these vehicles?

To us, the answer is a resounding maybe. Some of these cars may still have an abundance of parts, while others may not. Buying a relatively new car from a discontinued automaker might be a safe bet, but you may have more difficulty finding parts for an older one. As a result, our suggestion is to consider talking to a trusted mechanic. Tell them what you're thinking of buying, and ask if they have any trouble finding parts for it. If the answer is yes -- or there's even some hesitation about saying no -- you might want to consider another car. No matter how good a deal for a discontinued car might be, you don't want to find yourself stranded by your vehicle and unable to easily locate the parts that are necessary to fix it.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Can You Get Parts For a Discontinued Car? - Autotrader