When I lived in Sacramento, my family occasionally needed to transport large items: furniture, construction materials, and the like. I always fancied the idea of getting a small truck, but I was never sure if I would use the truck enough to justify paying $5,000-$10,000. One day, I was browsing Craigslist and found a red 2000 Ford Ranger with only 73,000 miles for $1,500. Only one problem…
The truck has been in a front collision and needed repair.
After negotiating the seller down to $1,000, I found a body repair guy who agreed to put the truck back together for $500, but first I needed to find the necessary parts. I made the mistake of buying some aftermarket parts, and the body man quickly pointed out that the panels didn’t line up correctly because of poor fit. After returning the knockoff parts, I called the Ford dealer to get some price quotes, and quickly realized that new parts would cost more than I spent on the entire truck. After driving around to various dismantling yards in the hot Sacramento summer, I finally got the OEM parts I needed. The body man installed the parts and after a $500 paint job, the truck looked like new.
In total, I spent around $1,000 on the used OEM parts, and the truck ended up costing $3,000 in total. I saved $5,000 compared to the Blue Book value, and the red Ford Ranger is parked in my driveway to this day, ready to haul a sofa, tool chest, granite countertop, or anything else I may need.