Not all auto parts are the same. There are many grades of parts from the ultra cheap designed to get your money out of your pocket, to all the way up to the finest replacement parts directly from the car dealer in which your vehicle was made. The industry of car parts is huge and many levels of quality exist.
Beware of a company that offers a lifetime warranty on their parts because they are playing a numbers game and figure you will get rid of your car or have someone else fix it. 1 year or 12,000 miles is the industry standard for new replacement parts.
Automobile manufacturers make their own replacement parts at the highest quality and price. They also license outside companies to produce a line of parts that are almost as good and a bit cheaper but still better quality than non-licensed third party companies.
A company like GM makes great parts but they want to be competitive when repairing your car at the dealer or selling you parts so they license under contract an outside company to make their replacement parts at a lesser cost and give the customer a choice to help lower their repair bill. GM's contracted companies are: AC Delco and Delphi.
Most car companies have these licensed alternative parts manufactures. Ford's alterative vendors are called Motorcraft and FoMoCo. Denso and Nippondenso are licensed to manufacture Japanese parts while Bosch handles the Germany built cars.
There are over a hundred other "big company" parts manufactures that the industry has come to rely on to supply parts for stores such as AutoZone, Pep Boys, Advanced Auto Parts to name a few and with thousands of smaller re-builders around the world which mostly service their local areas.
There are basically two styles of auto parts, dealer items which only the dealer will have and serviceable items which almost all parts companies manufacture or rebuild such as starters and alternators which go out often. There are a host of companies that make service items such as oil and air filters because these items need to be replaced very often.
"Dealer items" are parts that can only be purchased from the dealer because they are either not permitted or they are so low in volume that it is not profitable for an outside company to produce them. These items can be as small as a special clip to hold a brake shoe in place to something large such as an engine wiring harness.
The bottom line is if you are going to keep the car buy the best parts you can find or at least the middle of the road. Cheaper parts are just that and will not work as well or as long. Avoid "patching" a car to sell it so becomes someone else's problem.
If you are unsure if a particular part is the problem such as a camshaft actuator solenoid here is a tip. Call the dealer and ask if they have the part in stock, if they do it has a better chance of being the problem than if they need to order it. Most of the time the dealer knows there is a problem with a particular car and will have the part in stock so their mechanics can fix it quickly. The problem is most of the time they wont come out and tell you the part you are looking for is the problem, this would be a conflict of interest because they want you to bring the car in so they can repair it.
There are basically two methods to buy parts, first and the most traditional way is to head down to the dealer or parts store and buy them or order your parts for pick up if they don't have them in stock. Next, is to search for your parts online from places such as Amazon. We like Amazon because they have name brands, fast delivery and the lowest price which is a triple win.
Below is a list of factory OEM (original equipment manufactures) part stores you can buy from. When searching for parts do not be fooled by websites that say they are factory sites, there are plenty of them out there. We have found genuine factory sites for you if they are available. Many manufactures are not yet online (crazy right?) such as BMW, Mazda, Nissan, Mercedes Benz and Volvo. Genuine sites will have the actual name in the second half of the domain ex: parts.honda.com or just honda.com. Beware of sites that are these styles of domains: USAMercedesbenz.com which are not the manufacturer's site.
If you have a vehicle that is not on the list below then we recommend you choose from the list below the factory outlets.
These stores have a great high quality selection and price for common replacement and service parts such as brake pads, rotors, alternators, starters, spark plugs, air and oil filters, etc.
If you have any questions about auto parts please ask your online mechanics we will answer you promptly.