The Smart Buyer’s Guide to Auto Parts Shopping

Replacing parts is an inevitable part of car ownership. However, you may be in for a shock when you call dealerships to ask for the cost of replacement parts. A piece that costs $10 can blow up to 3000% more at the retail counter, simply because some dealers are just looking to screw over consumers who don’t know any better. Do not fall for this scheme and follow this guide.

Get the right codes

The first step is to be absolutely certain that you have the full details of the part you need. There can be many versions of one car with parts that vary across the years, even within a single range from one manufacturer.

Get your vehicle identification number (VIN), which relates specifically to your car and is used to check that you get the right part. It is a 17-character ID number assigned to your vehicle during manufacture. You can find VINs stamped onto the structure of the vehicle (often the firewall), on a metal plate fixed onto the body, or etched onto your car’s rear window.

In some cases, the actual part has its own code, which relates to that specific part within the manufacturer’s catalogue. It allows breakers and dealers to locate the appropriate replacement part for your vehicle. However, it can be obscured by the dirt and grease that has accumulated within the engine. If you cannot see or find the part code, you can refer to manufacturer’s catalogues online. Porsche, for instance, has made the Porsche auto part catalogues known as PET (Porsche Ersatzteile) that you can download from their website.

Research and verify

Websites, such as and eBay, allow you to scour the net for the best auto parts prices in your area. For a more effective search, check first to see the part’s market price in your area and take note of the price. Afterwards, go to eBay to do the same search, this time sorting by ‘Pricing + Shipping lowest’. Pay close attention to the estimated delivery time in each listing, as parts from overseas can take over a month to get to you. Enthusiast forums and groups are extremely helpful, too, especially if you are looking for rare parts. Before completing any purchase online, call the dealership to confirm the specific part number.

Push the price even lower

Don’t hesitate to chance your arm and haggle. Take your time and never display too much enthusiasm about any potential deal. Always start off with a price lower than you think is sensible to give you plenty of room to move the price.

Many companies that sell parts over the Internet or through local advertising would put out coupons to reel customers in. Keep an eye out in your local media for any money-off vouchers, or search online for discount codes. These can cut a significant amount off your purchase with auto parts dealers.

Warranty and guarantee

couple buying carOnly buy parts from sellers who offer at least a one-month guarantee. You have to look for a better assurance the more expensive your replacement part is. Some dealers even offer extended warranties of up to six months. You can usually find better guarantees from garages and shops where they test and thoroughly examine each part.

Getting the best price for the best auto parts requires plenty of time and effort, but it will certainly pay off. These tips should get your brain into gear when shopping for a replacement part and drive a great bargain.

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