When you’re a DIYer fixing your own vehicle, you want quality parts for a lower price. That means you probably shy away from the dealership. However, you should never count the dealer out completely. The dealer could surprise you with the lowest price on certain parts. In some cases, you may not find a part at your average auto parts store or the dealership because of the age of the vehicle or because it’s a part that very seldom breaks. You may have to resort to junkyards or order the part from someone you’re not familiar with.
Finding the Best Part at the Best Price
Always call around to find the best price, but make sure you are not comparing apples and oranges. The price of white box parts is usually less than that of name brand parts. And, in most cases, both of those are less expensive than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Add the dealership in your search for the best price.
You should also know your parts. For example, most water pumps, alternators, CV axles, power steering pumps, and starters are remanufactured. You could go with a white box part and be okay. If you want brand new, it will cost you, and if you want a brand-new name brand it will cost you even more. If you must have a brand name for a part, be sure to ask for the part by name. For example, if you are working on a Chevy and you want AC Delco plugs, specify that you want, or the counterman may give you the price on another brand that may or may not be less expensive.
Ordering From an Unknown-to-You Place
If you’ve never heard of an online parts house be sure to check for a contact phone number, an address that is in the United States and the site’s return policy. And, check the replacement car parts reviews for the site and the part you are looking at.
Ordering From an Auction Site
In many cases, you may be working on an older vehicle and may have trouble finding parts unless they are used. Auction sites such as E-Bay have many parts for sale. Always check out the seller because in most cases, parts cannot be returned. You also have to be wary of those sellers who list items but do not have them and just take your money.
When using an auction site, check the seller’s reputation for several factors including:
- Sending the item on time;
- Sending the part that was described in the listing;
- The sender’s customer service rating; and
- That the item was in the condition as stated by the seller.
In some cases, you may be forced to take a chance on a seller that has few reviews, but it’s best to stay away from sellers with no reviews.
If you are a counter person helping a customer find a specific part, you should also keep these factors in mind, whether you are calling around for the part to resell or you are referring a customer directly to another business or individual selling the item the customer needs.