Why there are big numbers of used car parts

Once upon a time, in the latter part of the 1800s, a man called Karl Benz invented the automobile. He called it the Motorwagen. And, in the beginning, there was just one of them. Now, 128 years later, there are over one billion cars. That’s a lot of Motorwagens.


Now consider this. Every modern car is built from approximately thirty thousand parts. Think about it: Thirty thousand. If you counted one part every second, it would take you over eight hours to get to the very last bolt; and, if you multiplied that figure by the number of cars in the world, you would reach the staggering total of thirty trillion [thirty followed by twelve noughts]. That’s one hundred times more car parts on our little planet than there are stars in the whole of the Milky Way, a whole galaxy.


That’s a lot of parts.


In the UK alone, two million cars are scrapped each year: some because they’ve been in accidents; others because they’ve failed their MOT and simply aren’t worth the cost of repair; and many that, frankly, are just too knackered to be on the road. That is sixty billion parts. OK, so most are rivets and screws but even so that is 2 million engines and 2 million gearboxes.


But all these cars have something in common: parts that are in good working order. Shock absorbers, wing mirrors, fuel pumps, alternators, even complete engines. So why buy new replacement parts for your car when there are all these pre-loved parts with life still left in them – millions upon millions of them? Not only are they cheaper, but making use of them is greener. By reducing the demand on companies to produce new parts you’re helping to save the planet.


So do the world a favour: don’t think of scrapped cars as rusting corpses, think of them as automotive organ donors

*Based on a competition entry by Paul Taylor