So, the closets have all been cleaned out, sorted, and organized by seasonal and alphabetical order. Attics and basements are clean enough to have their own HGTV special. Pets have mutinied and have hidden all the leashes and have learned to order their own treats online. You’ve run out of things to sort, clean, feed, or walk, and now your attention turns to that four-wheeled family member in the driveway.
Surely it must need something, so you take some time to check things out, find a few lights gone dark, the odometer says new spark plugs are due, and there’s that annoying rattle you’ve been meaning to get looked at for some time now. But the question is, where can you get everything needed at one reliable online shop?
Amazon isn’t always the answer
While giants such as Amazon have a wide variety of parts and tools, their sites are not as friendly to the casual DIY-er as you might expect. You actually need to know a lot of details about your vehicle when searching for bits and pieces.
For example, when searching for brake rotors and pads, you may have to know the diameter of the rotors and/or the number of wheel stud holes. Some owner manuals will contain a lot of such specs and information for replacement parts, such as bulb numbers and spark plug specs, which can shorten your search substantially.
Another hurdle to overcome is found with the multitude of choices of unrecognized product brands listed on many sites. For those who work with vehicles every day, it’s easy to spot credible brands with great reputations. But for the occasional DIY tech, it’s not so simple.
Figure out the details
There are some questions you need to ask, either through an online chat or by scanning website details: are they shipping from the U.S. or Canada? If the parts are coming from the U.S., who handles customs clearing? Who administers the warranty — the manufacturer, or the retailer? How do they handle returns? Who pays for return freight? What’s the turnaround time? This last one can be pretty important when your vehicle is torn apart in the driveway, and you have somewhere to be the next day.
If all else fails, just pick up the phone
You can save yourself a lot of time and hassle by simply picking up the phone. A five-minute chat with a specialist at your local parts store or dealership can save you hours in fruitless web searches and possible costs of returning incorrectly specified parts. They can also give you a quick run-down of brand choices and warranties, and if you need a specific part, like a spark-plug socket, you won’t have to guess which size and type to purchase.
Most even offer local delivery, and most warranties are handled at the retailer, not through some corporate headquarters far away. If you want a recommendation on which local parts retailer is best, give your regular shop a call and ask them where they buy their supplies.
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