There comes a time in every car and truck owner’s life where you need to get a new part for your vehicle. You could take your vehicle to a mechanic and allow them to figure out what part you need and install it for you. Or, if you want to save some money and have more control over the parts going into your vehicle, you could find the part yourself.
When shopping for car parts, it’s important that you do some comparison shopping. This will help you find the best part for your car and stay within a budget. Here’s what you need to know if you want to comparison shop for truck or car parts.
Research the Part You Need
To start, you need to figure out exactly what kind of part you need. If you need a car battery, it’s not as simple as going online and buying the first car battery you see on Amazon. You need to get parts that fit your cars exact make and model to ensure they will fit properly. If you don’t, you’ll find that the part either doesn’t work as it is supposed to, or it won’t even connect to your car in the first place.
Most online parts dealers will allow you to select your car’s make and model when shopping for parts. This will then narrow down the parts available to you, so that you don’t end up getting the wrong one. If you’re unsure of your car’s make and model, find your owner’s manual. You may also be able to find the information printed on your car, or by using your VIN number online.
Find Different Parts Stores
Once you know exactly what you need, then you can begin finding the best place to buy it. There are dozens of parts stores that make buying online easy. But not all of them have the parts you need, offer the same prices, the same protections, or the same shipping policies.
Start by conducting a search through your favorite search engine. Come up with a list of a few online car parts providers that look reputable. Once you have a few, you should dig a little deeper into each and read online reviews for these stores. If a store has a generally strong reputation online from past customers, this is a good indication that you’ll have a good experience as well. On the other hand, if all you find it complaints, this is a sign that you should probably look elsewhere.
See If They Have Your Part
Next, make sure they have your exact part number in stock, or a similar part that will still fit your car. If they do, the next thing you’ll want to take note of is the price. Jot this down so you can compare it against other sites. If your part is rare, you may have to search through several different stores before you find it. With more common parts you’ll have more places to choose from – then it’s just a matter if they have your part in stock at the moment.
Investigate the Return Policy
After that, look at their return policy. Should you end up getting the wrong part, of the part they send you fails immediately, you’ll want some protection. Most online providers have some form of a return policy, but you should know exactly what it entails before making a purchase. Car parts aren’t always cheap, and you don’t want to end up spending a lot of money on a part, only to find it breaks down after a week and the store won’t give you a refund.
Shipping Rates and Times
By this stage you should have a good idea as to which stores you might purchase from. The last thing to consider is their shipping rates and how long it will take the part to reach you. Sometimes a store won’t show you the cost of shipping until you’re ready to checkout, but it’s important that you learn this number before making a final decision. You may find that when you include the cost of shipping, another provider is actually more affordable.
If you’re in a rush to get your car fixed, you’ll also want to consider their shipping and processing times. What sort of estimate do they provide as to when you’ll get your part? Where are they shipping their parts from, and how close is this to you? Waiting an extra day or two may not be the biggest factor to consider, but it could break a tie when everything else is equal.