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Spring Clean-Up - Fixing What Winter Ruined

The holidays have passed, and spring is just around the corner.  As the snow begins to melt and we stroll into a wet spring, we usually realize that the fender bender on the icy roads this year looks a whole lot worse without the winter dirt and grime covering it up.  Before deciding to purchase any replacement parts, there are a four things you should consider.

1. Not every aftermarket autopart is created equal.

When looking for aftermarket replacement parts, you'll notice there are several different manufacturers producing the same part. OEM "namebrand" part or OEM "third-party" part?  CAPA certified or generic? For the average Joe, this can be a challenge. When looking for an aftermarket part, think about the vehicle you're driving.  If you don't have a lot invested in the car (ie it's a 10-year old grocery runner) then looking to the namebrand or CAPA certified parts may be a bit more expensive than you are willing to spend. Make sure you purchase your part from someone who has experience in the industry and can offer you the support you may need.

2. Look to the warranty

Remember, a new part is only as good as it lasts.  Because aftermarket parts come from various manufacturers, some are built sub-par to others.  The easiest way to remedy a faulty part is to look to the warranty.  If the company that manufactured the part, or the company who is selling the part, doesn't have any sort of warranty, it's a riskier purchase.  Ensuring the warranty exists BEFORE your purchase will make sure you are not left stranded AFTER the purchase.

3. Compare Prices

Often times the store, whether it's online or brick and mortar, will capitalize on the fact that usually when someone needs a replacement part, they are in a hurry to do so. Make sure you take some time to compare prices on a few of your favorite sites, and maybe find a few new ones. Don't necessarily go to the lowest bidder, since the quality of the part may be inferior, but look all around at the pros and cons of the supplier as well as the price. For example, if a part is $5 cheaper on Site A, but Site B has a better warranty, you can rest assured that you will be taken care of better for an extra $5. Also, chain stores, despite their size, can tend to run more expensive for parts because of inflated advertising budgets and brick and mortar locations. Be sure to check the smaller guys.

4. Fast, Reliable Delivery

The internet is a great place to buy just about anything, but often when we need an autopart, we need it fast. Look at the company that is selling the part. How fast can they get it to you? Is shipping an arm and a leg? The company may boast a lower price, but is the part in stock, and will it be delivered in a dependable and timely manner. Check to see where there distribution centers are located and see what the shipping time is. Often times when a company doesn't disclose their shipping locations, it means they don't want you to know.