For younger people, it’s difficult to remember the dinosaur days of finding car parts. If you needed something, you had to track down a list of authorized distributors, call them up, and hope they had what you needed in stock.
If it were a battery or a standard electrical component, it could be simple enough, and you might be able to find something on at a local shop. But if you were looking for a particular product, finding what you needed could take days, weeks, or even longer.
Fortunately, the internet has solved many of these challenges. But unlike buying a pair of shoes or a book, sourcing car parts is a little more complicated. That’s why we’ve put together this list to help you find whatever you’re looking for.
1. The OEM Number is Everything
Your OEM number is like the Holy Grail. It is what every online distributor will use to determine whether they have a compatible replacement for what you’re looking for.
If you happen to have the original component, see if you can glean the number from the part. Otherwise, you might need to consult the owner’s manual or any other relevant paperwork you have on hand.
2. Hide Your IP Address
Beyond being creepy, some less than reputable part dealers may also check your IP address to increase the prices of the products based on where you are from or how many times you’ve visited the site before.
The secret then is for you to hide your IP address.
“Well, how do I hide my IP address then?”
It is what tools like VPN and proxies do. They both conceal your IP address. And VPNs do even more – they also encrypt your connection. It makes them a great way to find the best deal out there and to increase your privacy at the same time.
3. Do a Background Check On The Store
You should always know with whom you’re doing business. When it comes to car parts, buyer beware. Always check the online reviews of the store.
Do they have a fair return policy?
Are there ways for you to save on your shipping costs?
Compare the top options. Price shouldn’t always be your guide; instead, look for a store that commits to delivering excellent and quality products.
4. Before You Hit “Buy Now,” Verify There Are Service Options Available For You
Car parts often need a little extra assistance – even for the pros who install them!
What happens if you’ve bought the wrong set of brake pads? Is there an easy return channel in place?
Do they have distributors nearby who can get the right product to you quickly?
For auto parts, service offerings are as crucial as the quality of the products themselves. In some cases, there may be authorized mechanics, resellers, and other places where you can not only get a little insight into how to install or use the product but also quickly return something that didn’t work out for you.
5. Consider Going With a Marketplace
Automotive parts marketplaces have grown increasingly popular for people in the know. These are places for service technicians and automotive enthusiasts alike. They are much better equipped to tackle specific and unique challenges you may be dealing with.
Even if you don’t decide to purchase via a marketplace, they’re still an excellent place to do some research.
There is no exact equivalent to Amazon in the world of auto-parts. That’s because automotive products are much more complicated than the average t-shirt or book you find in the massive eCommerce juggernaut.
Like everything in the car world, finding the best quality car parts along with service to match and a price you can afford does take a little extra homework. But it will pay off not only in the deals you find but also ensuring you get precisely what you’re looking for.