When you are buying parts for your car or truck, you want to get a fair price, but if you are shopping online, you need to be careful. It is easy to get the wrong parts if you are not 100-percent sure what you need. If you are buying used parts, you may not get what you paid for, so use some extra caution dealing with used parts.
Looks can be Deceiving
Shopping online for auto parts is not a bad idea, it is just harder to do if you are not very familiar with the parts. Often the images used in the listings for parts are generic, so you can't depend on them to look right. These incorrect images make comparing parts visually nearly impossible and can even cause you to get the wrong part. If you are not sure what you are looking at, make a call to the vendor and see if they can help.
Part Numbers Don't Lie; Or Do They?
Part numbers stamped into the parts of your car are there for the sole purpose of identifying the part in the event the replacing the part is necessary. The problem is, with the number of aftermarket manufacturers and builders showing up in the marketplace, the part number on the part might not be right. Sometimes an alternator case from one car can be used on another, so the manufacturer swaps them. Now the part number on the case is entirely wrong, adding confusion to the situation. And aftermarket manufacturers often use their own part numbers on the parts they make.
When you order a part from an online retailer, they will ship you a part that they believe to be in perfect working order. If the part is damaged or defective, you will need to return it to the vendor for replacement. If you can find a vendor that will cover the return shipping, give them your business first. For items that came to you damaged, you should never be responsible for the return.
Private Sale Used Parts
Used parts can be found for sale by a private party on many websites that do not monitor the activity of the users. They can be a good deal in some cases, but you have to be very careful with who you are dealing. People will list things for sale that they don't have or are junk, collect your cash, and disappear, never to be heard from again. Sometimes you get a broken, damaged, or worthless part just so they can say they sent it to you, but if it doesn't work, it is a waste of your money.