All cars need repair work done at some point.
Anything mechanical eventually breaks; it's just the nature of having lots of moving parts working together.
The trouble with cars is that such repair work can be costly at times. Certain problems can set you back up to $8,200, which, of course, is bad news if you’re in a financial bind.
In a bid to cut costs, aftermarket parts become an attractive alternative to brand new OEM ones. However, finding reliable aftermarket parts, especially online, can also be a challenge.
For one thing, you can’t get your hands on the products before you pay for them. All too many unethical individuals take advantage of that fact, selling dud car parts that can do more harm than good.
Thankfully, by following certain rules, you can better ensure you don’t have to go through this.
Here are the dos and don’ts of finding quality automotive parts online.
1. Inspect the Pictures
Buying online from unverified vendors can be full of potential problems. People make a killing from selling counterfeit products on the web.
A key to avoiding this is inspecting the pictures before hitting the buy button.
Oftentimes, the images are all you have to base a purchase from. Don’t assume that what you’re getting is what’s described. We’ve all heard horror stories of individuals buying one thing and receiving something completely different.
Unfortunately for you, scam artists are getting increasingly clever. It’s in their interest to make their parts look and feel like the real deal. It’s only when you get your hands on them that you realize their faults.
Seek pictures of anything that can verify the item’s authenticity. The serial number, model number, part number, etc. are all good examples to look for.
2. Ask for the Documents
It goes without saying that some car parts are more valuable than others.
It makes sense to take special care when purchasing the more expensive ones. After all, receiving a dud light bulb has a much lesser financial consequence than receiving a fake motor.
If you’re going to fork out hundreds/thousands of dollars on a new motor, you need it to be the real deal. Getting your hands on the documentation is one way to do it. This documentation constitutes the product history.
With it, you can be sure of its authenticity, condition, and historic maintenance.
Ask the seller if they can provide it. If they can’t, then consider looking elsewhere.
3. Be Suspicious of Budget Parts
There’s a reason that OEM parts are more expensive.
For one thing, car manufacturers often have a monopoly on production. They’re also brand new, under warranty, and almost guaranteed to work as required.
The same can’t be said for aftermarket parts you purchase online.
It’s all too tempting to fall for budget prices when doing DIY auto work. Indeed, it’s one way that scammers attract unsuspecting targets. However, as the old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Watch out for the "bargain" items that seem too inexpensive.
More often than not, you get what you pay for. Opting for a more expensive option that ticks the right boxes is, as a rule of thumb, more likely to have a positive outcome than not.
4. Inspect the Packaging
Let’s fast forward and imagine you’ve already purchased the part(s).
The packaging that aftermarket parts come in provides important clues to their authenticity.
Never chuck it aside in a hurry to access the contents. Instead, give it a good look first to make sure the products inside can be trusted.
Again, would-be scammers often try hard to make their packaging seem genuine, so any clues are likely to be subtle in nature. Look closely!
Is there anything that looks suspicious? Any tears in the packaging? Any strange design elements, spelling errors, or problems with the sealing?
5. Check the Returns Policy
Capping the downside is crucial to success.
Whenever you take a risk, it’s worth looking for a means of minimizing the potential repercussions.
In terms of finding reliable aftermarket parts online, make sure you check the returns policy. If you know you can send back anything you receive in exchange for a full refund, there’s no risk involved.
If the product is bad, however, there’s also a chance that the dealer didn’t know about it either. But reputable dealers with a proper returns policy in place will ensure you get what you pay for.
6. Stick to Authorized Dealers
Be selective with the dealers you entrust with your purchase.
Like any profession, there are good and bad ones out there.
Some are honest, trustworthy, and strive to deliver quality parts to their customers. Others are money-driven, unscrupulous, and ready to try anything to increase their margins.
Needless to say, you want to stick to the first kind.
The trick to finding a good one is ensuring they’re authorized to sell genuine parts.
Cheap parts are always tempting. The irony is that you can end up spending more in the long run from the damages they caused.
These parts will also need to be replaced more regularly. Even worse, they are likely to cause problems that weren't even there in the first place.
So paying authorized dealers a little more initially will likely save you a lot of money down the road.
Time to Find Reliable Aftermarket Parts
Car repairs come with the territory of owning a vehicle.
If you drive it long enough, you’re bound to need costly mechanical work done at some point in time. A good way to save money is to stick with aftermarket parts over OEM from quality dealers.
Unfortunately, finding reliable aftermarket parts online can often be easier said than done, but hopefully, the tips in this post will better help you in your search.
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