Replacement Auto Parts Where to Find Them

When needing a replacement part for you car, where do you shop? Like many motorists you may head down to the big box retailer for all of your needs. A good choice both for value and for selection. Still, mostly any retailer is limited as to what they can stock. This especially holds true if you drive a rare or uncommon vehicle. Try finding a window regulator for your ’69 Torino at the parts store; they’ll get it for you but it will have to be back ordered. So, where should you shop? That’s up to you, but let’s goes over the options that you have.

The Salvage Yard. Let’s admit it: there isn’t anything wrong with going to the junkyard to find the part you need. My ’78 VW Rabbit’s window handle broke and I snagged one off of a junker for just a few bucks. Still, if you are looking for a radiator, engine, exhaust stuff, or anything else that actually runs, you risk that the part will fail soon after you place it in your car. Naturally, the price you pay through the junkyard should be the lowest price going.

Your Dealer. On the other side of the spectrum is your car dealer. If they don’t have it in stock, they can get if for you. Service with a smile and a price that will make you frown! Yes, you will pay dearly for some parts, as middleman mark ups kick in.

Your Retail Store. Retail auto supply chains typically have the broadest selection and the lowest prices of any of the brick and mortar retailers. Your best option for a good buy is when something is on sale; stock items will cost you the prevailing retail rate, but that is the price you pay for convenience. Overhead [buildings, labor] is high even with most national retailers.

Shop Online. Wholesale providers of automobile replacement parts and accessories are springing up all over the internet. Some stores are good, some are not. What to look for: available customer service agents; a toll free number where you can call someone to talk with directly; a store that never closes and has a secured payment site; and clearly understood shipment, payment, and return policies. Generally, an online retailer should be a great option as low overhead and purchasing directly from the manufacturer is what sets these wholesalers apart from the rest. Still, do your homework and make sure that the site is what it says it is.

One special warning: the growth of the counterfeit parts industry is causing fits for retailers and consumers. If you suspect that you have purchased a bogus part, return it to the retailer for a full return. One more good reason to learn what a company’s return policy is before you do business with them.

In all, shopping for parts is easier today, thanks to the internet. From the ease of your computer you can compare prices, service, shipping options, warranties, and more. The consumer is the winner and retailers are keeping prices low in order to bring in additional business.

Truck Parts Are in the Eye of the Beholder

In the performance parts industry, people tend to use the words parts and accessories interchangeably, while others see a difference. So what’s the difference, for example, between truck parts and truck accessories if many of them serve the same basic function? It depends on who you ask.

Because the words parts and accessories each encompass a large number of products that overlap and can therefore be categorized as either, people tend to the use the words interchangeably without any regard to the difference. In reality, when dealing with the performance parts industry, the word only overlaps in certain instances, and even then opinions will vary as to which factors apply. Truck parts and truck accessories each have their own list of included products, which ‘meet in the middle’ depending on their intended use, as well as their categorization as an OEM or aftermarket product.

A truck parts advisor for example, may tell you that a truck part has a more generic definition, and includes everything from repair, maintenance, and restoration, to interior and exterior enhancement. Such products may include oil filters, air filters, shocks, spoilers, or headlamps, as they in effect, are part of the truck. So long as they are the original part of the truck, or even a replacement or repair product, it can be described as a part whereas an aftermarket part created to enhance the vehicle after the initial purchase tends to fall into the accessory category.

In the meantime, the same parts advisor may tell you that the word accessory is synonymous with the word part when referring to a product in general, but the specific make and use of the product will determine which category it falls into.

Car covers, sun shields, make-specific paraphernalia and such products that serve mainly to enhance a car or truck (such as lift kits) would most likely be considered solely accessories. A sport utility rack could potentially fall into either.

Even oil filters, brake pads or rotors, or air filters could fall into either category. The standard, OEM version will typically be considered a truck part whereas a performance-based aftermarket version thereof will more likely be considered a Truck accessory (such as K&N oil filters, which take advantage of advanced filtration technology you won’t find in its standard OEM counterpart). A lift kit, which isn’t something that’s included with the truck but rather used as an enhancement will typically be classified as an accessory, though some will still call it a truck part.

The items that tend to be categorized specifically as accessories are aftermarket products made to enhance (whether it be performance or aesthetic). For example aftermarket air filters, high quality seat covers, and floor mats for trucks are typically considered truck accessories if they are not the original OEM part. The issue becomes even more clouded once you get into OEM-made accessories vs. aftermarket accessories or even aftermarket parts, but that’s a completely different article.

In the end, the difference between the two will always vary from person to person, even among truck enthusiasts and professionals within the repair or performance parts industry.

The Victory of Toyota Prius

Have you heard of the latest news about Toyota? Another Toyota car model has proven that Toyota is still the ranging number one car brand. Last April 30, the Toyota Car Company was proud to release the news about the Toyota Prius. This particular hybrid car model has reached enormous global sales of 504,700 units in a year. The hard works and efforts of Toyota Car Corporation finally are paying off.

The Toyota Prius was released in Japan early of 1997. And every year since 2000, the production was only 12,000 units. In 2003, they released the completely redesigned version of the Toyota Prius in the United States. More than 100,000 units where produced in 2005 for the United States market only. A gigantic 250,000 US sales was noted in May 2006.

To give its consumers the satisfaction they deserve, Toyota Car Corporation will be advancing its research to develop more quality and durable cars including Toyota Prius auto parts and accessories like lights and bumpers. They will also discover new ideas in building plug-in hybrids for the next generation vehicle which would be having an extended range capacity to use the electric drive only. They are also planning to double the production of hybrid models by early 2010.

Toyota is also environment-friendly as they plan to introduce flex-fuel vehicles to the Brazilian market in the spring of 2007. Fuel-flex vehicles are using 100% ethanol instead of using gas. Ethanol fuel is commonly used in the Brazilian market instead of gasoline. It is mixed with gasoline in varying quantities to reduce the usage of petroleum fuels. It is beneficial to humans because it reduces air pollution. However, it can be a little rough to car users because ethanol fuel is quite expensive. But, with its benefits, it is worth the price.

Toyota has made a positive reputation being a consistent high ranking car brand in the United States. Prius’ victory was never new to Toyota as they are aware of its excellence. Toyota is expecting more sales these coming years. And with the impressive sales result, car enthusiasts must expect more quality cars from Toyota Car Corporation. Applause for Toyota!