How to buy car parts online safely: what to watch out for

Car parts online

This guide outlines what you should watch out for when buying car parts online, and the problems you can encounter.

The Internet opens up numerous possibilities: It has never been easier or more convenient to order things from A to Z and have them delivered directly to your doorstep. The possibilities know no bounds – accordingly, car parts online are also an attractive option for many people, as they can also be purchased on the Internet easily. However, there are a few pitfalls to watch out for when buying car parts online.

There are several types of auto parts and accessories available for your vehicle in the car parts online market, and often due to haste and not knowing where to buy original car accessories, buyers do not always opt for original factory options, and go for inferior ones such as parallel and refurbished parts.

Let’s explain a little more about them and the difference between originals vs car parts online vs secondhand.

Originals: more expensive, have greater durability and are designed to accurately replace car parts. They can be made by the vehicle manufacturer – genuine parts – or by companies outsourced by it. In addition to being safer, the originals come with a good warranty period to the buyer;
Parallel ‘identical’ car parts online: cheaper, they are produced by companies that have no connection with the automaker, in some cases with shorter service life;
Refurbished: these parts are usually offered for prompt delivery in mechanics and are nothing more than used parts, which had some parts changed and won an paint bath. Their durability is shorter, in addition to being subject to the “make-up” process, making a bad piece apparently good, when made by misleading “professionals”.

The following guide provides clarification on the advantages and also what to beware of, as advised by the AAA American Automobile Association.

Buying car parts online can save you money

When it comes to the spare parts of any vehicle, a sure instinct is always called for. Most car parts are ultimately wearing parts, so they have to be replaced, maintained or repaired at regular intervals. This concerns not only more expensive car parts such as the timing belt as well as the brake system, also the following can make itself felt with a hit in the wallet:

  • 1. wear and tear of the windshield wipers
  • 2. replacement of the defective car battery
  • 3. refilling of various coolants, lubricants and washer fluids.

On the Internet, you will find many offers and price promotions from various suppliers of car parts online. The appropriate parts are often offered at the lowest prices – in principle, the advantages are now obvious. However, care should be taken when buying and some important criteria should be observed.

Comparison: Workshop parts vs car parts online

What actually makes buying car parts online so attractive? The answer is: It is the cheaper alternative to the auto repair shop – and for all car brands this way is available.

There is a downside when it comes to installation, however. If you compare the ordering process with repairs at an auto repair shop, the main thing that is eliminated when you do repairs on your own initiative is the usually very high cost of the labor hours involved. However, you also have to have some know-how in advance for the installation. But now the good news: There are numerous instructions and video tutorials on the Internet for car repairs.

But the possibilities expand even further: Possible defects in the vehicle can also be read out using the fault codes of a diagnostic device. Both the device and the necessary instructions and explanations can be found on the Internet.

Quality check of all car parts online

It is advisable to pay attention to the quality of the car parts online options despite the low prices as well as the mass of offers. Especially on the Internet, there is often talk of so-called “identical parts” and original parts (OEM parts).

However, there is a striking difference between the two: Identical parts are, so to speak, identical twins of the original parts. They are identically reproduced, and at first glance they are advertised in a promising manner. However, the quality of identical parts usually falls by the wayside. This is not least due to cheap mass production on the East Asian market.

The problem of ‘identical’ parts

Copy car parts online tempt with their low prices at claimed constant quality, but this promise is not based on truth:

  • 1. identical parts often result from low-cost mass production
  • 2. insufficient quality compared to the original parts
  • 3. minimal deviations can lead to significant safety problems and technical defects
  • 4. negative impact on the performance of the vehicle – in the long run
  • 5. negative impact on the driving behavior – in case of improper identical parts

In contrast, the original parts from the manufacturer promise the usual quality – a quality that can also be expected from the contractual partner in the auto repair shop. The price of the car parts may be somewhat higher compared to the car parts online, but the quality is optimally the standard applied to the vehicle.

Thus, the choice of car parts online vs parts from the auto shop also plays a decisive role in the life of the vehicle. If the choice falls on original parts, also a higher security in the everyday road traffic is ensured.

How low quality can affect performance

Opting for original parts will always be the best option in terms of security and warranty, even if they take a little longer to arrive, a reality that is changing with e-commerce. Parallel and refurbished ones are certainly cheaper, and sometimes more available on the market, but they can cause problems in the vehicle.

1 Mechanical failure

When one part is replaced by another and ends up being loose, for example, the operation of the replaced part will be compromised, resulting in damage to other parts of the car.

High-performance wheels, for example, are designed and analyzed through meticulous performance processes through cutting-edge software, going through a long quality analysis process, a care that companies that offer parallel parts do not have, since it keeps the price well below the market. Millimeters apart can cause the entire wheel structure, including the structure of the car itself, to be compromised.

2 Short service life

Cheaper and more accessible, these pieces end up falling into the field of those who want to get out “profiting” of the situation, but who end up very mistaken. An original brake pad set has quality materials in its manufacture, in addition to the entire quality control process involved, means the original lasts much further in terms of mileage. And can avoid costly brake repairs.

3 The warranty is short

Original parts usually have a 1-year warranty and, in some cases, the possibility of extended warranty is also offered by the reseller. Parallel and refurbished parts usually offer much shorter deadlines than this one, which already gives a good reason to be suspicious of quality and avoid being at hand for future malfunction.