- Online shopping is convenient, but you do have to be careful when it comes to buying car parts.
- There is a difference between aftermarket and genuine OEM parts, and you need to know what to look for.
- The internet makes it easier for scammers and illegitimate parts dealers to attempt to rip off unsuspecting consumers.
- By finding a reputable replacement parts dealer, you’ll be able to trust you are getting the right parts and a safe transaction.
The Internet is changing the way that people shop and making it easier for you to find the replacement car parts that you need. It is easy to see how shopping online can open up more opportunities, including the chance to get the parts and accessories that you need for your vehicle at a fraction of what you might pay locally. Plus, online parts dealers make shipping easy and you can have parts shipped right to your home to save yourself a trip to the parts store.
Of course, you do have to be careful about shopping online for anything, including your replacement vehicle parts. Take the time to research your available options and learn the differences between OEM parts and aftermarket car parts, as well as which ones best suit your specific needs. You should never buy parts that you can’t validate as genuine, of course, so it helps if you can find a reputable parts dealer that can guarantee the quality and validity of the parts that you purchase.
Where You Shop Makes a Difference
It’s important to choose a parts dealer that has a strong relationship with manufacturers and the capability to provide you with all of the vehicle parts and accessories that you need. Work with a company that has experience in the parts industry, and one that is properly licensed and certified to sell genuine OEM parts. You can always compare parts and part numbers to your vehicle manufacturer’s website to ensure that you are getting quality parts, but finding a good place to shop will usually eliminate this need.
The biggest issue with shopping online is that every parts website is going to tell you that they are the best one for the job. That’s why it is up to you to do your homework and learn about what each has to offer so that you can find the best dealer for your replacement parts needs. Always utilise third-party and customer reviews to get more information about parts stores and dealers, as this information can help you in your own decision about where to shop online.
In addition to getting the right parts for the job, another issue with shopping online is your financial safety and personal privacy. You are going to have to input credit card information or bank account details to make a purchase. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that you find a reputable parts dealer that has security features in place and offers safe, encrypted transactions. If you prefer a company that works with third-party wallets, there are plenty of parts stores that have a variety of payment options.
Understanding Genuine OEM vs. Non-OEM Parts: Why it Matters
The most significant confusion, for many vehicle owners, is understanding the difference between genuine OEM parts and those known as “aftermarket” parts. Essentially, parts that are designed to offer the same manufacturer replacement are known as OEM parts. These are approved by the vehicle manufacturer to be used as replacements on vehicles to provide the exact factory replacement of the part in question. Just because a retailer says that they sell OEM parts, however, doesn’t guarantee that you can trust them automatically.
Again, you’ll have to do your homework and find out whether the dealer is selling genuine OEM or if they are selling aftermarket parts. Even more importantly, you’ll need to watch the language on the website to ensure that they aren’t selling “replica” or “like-OEM” parts, or some other non-OEM item that is being misleadingly marketed as an approved replacement by the manufacturer. Sites that are misleading or outright lie about the types of parts that they have can cost you a lot of time and money if you’re not careful.
Safety Tips for Shopping Online
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when you are shopping for replacement car parts online:
- Start by finding a reputable parts dealer that is certified and authorised to sell genuine OEM replacement parts and accessories. When you find a proper website to work with, you’ll be able to trust that your parts are genuine and your information is secure.
- Never buy parts from social marketplaces or sites like eBay. Not only do you run the risk of getting ripped off by an unscrupulous party, but you can’t guarantee what you are getting. If your parts show up and are incorrect or don’t work as they should, it could prove to be impossible to get your money back or have any guarantee to back up your purchase. Stick to licensed, professional parts dealers at all costs.
- Don’t buy used auto parts if you can help it. While they may offer some cost savings initially, you again run the risk of not knowing precisely what you are getting or what the parts have been through before getting to you.
- Never buy OEM parts without a warranty. Since these parts are from the manufacturer, they should always come with some warranty to ensure proper fit and operation. If you find parts that claim to be genuine but they don’t offer a warranty, they’re probably fakes.
- Remember the “too good to be true” philosophy. If you are searching for replacement parts and you find one retailer that happens to have an unusually low price, you should be a little suspicious until you check things out. OEM parts all come from the same place, so prices should be similar from one dealer or store to the next. If someone is offering a considerable discount without explanation, they’re probably not selling genuine parts.
- If you are looking for upgrades or premium accessories, you may be looking for aftermarket parts. These are fine to buy in many cases, but again you’ll want to look for aftermarket items that are manufacturer-recommended or approved to ensure that you get quality parts with a proper fit.
The Bottom Line
Like all online shopping, buying car parts online is supposed to be a convenience, not another hassle. Fortunately, by taking the time to explore your options and find a reputable parts store that sells genuine OEM replacement parts, it will be easy for you to find what you need. Make sure that you keep the tips here in mind when you are shopping for the vehicle parts that you need. When you choose a reputable dealer to begin with, however, everything else should fall into place.
To get genuine OEM parts for your vehicle maintenance and repairs, count on Autofixa for all of your needs. We have a full selection of accessories and OEM replacement parts for most vehicles and can ensure that you get the quality that you deserve.