We are often asked what the best buy is between new, used, or NOS (new old stock). The short answer is that NEW is the best bet in almost every case.
New parts are always of recent manufacture. Now, some people may question the quality and origin of new manufactured parts. Well, fear not, in most cases our New parts are produced by the original manufacturer in Italy, even though it was not FIAT or Alfa Romeo! What I mean is that FIAT and Alfa Romeo contracted a number of other companies to make various parts, and then they simply assembled many of them to build their cars. This is not uncommon with auto manufacturers; in fact it is much more the rule than the exception. Now, can a company really say that these parts are OEM? They all do. Does this mean that everything that comes in a FIAT or Alfa Romeo bag or box is an OEM part? Certainly not! In most cases, the auto maker did not make that bag, either. So, when you buy a new Fiat part or Alfa part you can certainly bet that 99.9% of the time that part will be just as good or BETTER than original.
Used parts are always exactly what they say they are: USED! So, lets say you’ve just purchased a car and the column switch is bad, which means you don’t have turn signals. With modern technology you can go to an online auction site and find a used part to fix your problem. Or you can take a little more time and search for new parts vendors, such as ourselves. You’ll ask yourself, “Do I want to pay $90 now, or do I want to get that one from the ‘Sanford & Son’ style junk yard on eBay for $70?” Many people will opt for the cheaper of the two options, which means sacrificing new for used. They’ll read that lovely product description that says the “car only had xxxxxx miles when parted out” and that the “part just looks great.” Well let me break down the facts: Used parts cost 1/2 – 2/3 cost of new, but… Buying a used part requires the death of a car… Used parts share their age with that of the car: 25-45 years old, or older… All used parts have degraded with age (especially rubber, plastic, and electronic parts)… Used parts are USED and it simply doesn’t matter if the item is advertised as Grade 8 out of 10, or Grape Ape out of 10 — it is still USED.
NOS parts are unused, leftover old stock from original inventory when FIAT & Alfa Romeo were in the country selling parts at their dealerships. Many people have gone to the new dealerships looking for parts from FIAT USA, but just because FIAT is back does not mean they are making parts for our cars. In fact they simply haven’t done that, almost ever. This refers back to the new parts section of this post. When the cars rolled out, FIAT and Alfa didn’t make the replacement parts. That was left to the original manufacturers, and they were sold through dealerships like us, or landed on shelves in hot, dusty warehouses. So, NOS or New? You say, “I found a NEW WATER PUMP for $50, and I found a NOS WATER PUMP for $50. Which is better?” The answer: the NEW WATER PUMP every time. Not only are the bearings and alloys in the new pump NEW, you can rest assured that it was made on superior modern machinery. That NOS rubber bushing?… Is still 40 years old, hard, degraded rubber that is ready to crack with the first hard use. NOS plastic part?… Unless it was kept in an air conditioned “clean room,” (which it wasn’t) that plastic has become brittle and hard with age, too. These old parts just can’t stand up to the same level of use that a new part could. In other words, most NOS parts have already lived out the majority of their serviceable lives on a warehouse shelf. So, the simplest way to think of NOS is: NOS is the best answer when NEW is simply not available.
New, Used, or NOS… Now you know the truth behind the branding. NEW means great quality, made recently. Used means its USED regardless of what someone may “grade” it. NOS means it is unused BUT it is 25-45 years old.