A delivery guy clips your mirror, destroys it, and speeds off into the distance. Now what? You can’t do without a mirror, and the service team is currently stacked up with bookings. You’ll have to try and source the new part yourself. How do I find the right parts for my car exactly? Which suppliers do I use, and what information do I need from my vehicle? This guide walks you through all the steps you need to know in order to find car parts yourself.

How Do I Find the Right Parts for My Car?

How to Source Car Parts

When you find an auto parts dealer, ensure you’re dealing with a business that services the public, not dealerships. If you have an auto parts store already, great; if you don’t, search for one on Google. Use Google reviews to research the reputation of that business to guarantee you are getting quality replacement parts.

When your auto parts dealer is ready to go, ensure you have the following information on hand before picking up the phone.

VIN Number

You’ll find the VIN (vehicle identification number) on the windshield of many cars, embossed below another layer in the glass for security purposes. The VIN number might also appear on your registration documents.

The VIN is a unique number used by auto parts dealers to identify the make and model of your car. You call any parts supplier, from a scrap yard to a retail store, and give them this number and description of the part you want, and that’s it. From there, they will be able to help you find the right parts you need.

Make, Model, & Year

If you don’t have the VIN, the next best strategy is to give the auto parts dealer the vehicle’s make, model, and year. That’s usually all the information the dealer needs to source the right part and quote you. The VIN supersedes this strategy in the sense that you call any dealer blind. They don’t need to know the year, make, or model.

That’s useful for niche car models, like classics and muscle cars. However, for your average Honda Civic, the make, model, and year it all the parts the dealer needs.

Part Comparison

If you’re buying from a brick-and-mortar parts store, just drive up to their location. Ask a sales consultant to look at your car. With this strategy, you don’t need any information on the vehicle, as the sales guy might know it already.

However, if you have your year model and the sales agent’s visual inspection of the car, that’s usually enough information to get the right part.

Part Codes

You can think of a part code as similar to a VIN. It’s a number used by service centers, dealerships, and auto parts centers as a means to identify the exact part you need.

When you go to a sales rep at a parts store, they’ll type in your information. It gives them the recommended part code for what you need.

You can call them, ask them for the part code and order it from another supplier if they have a better price on it.

Where Can I Find the Right Car Parts?

Try these locations to find the parts you need for your replacement project.

  • Local Scrapyards
  • Dealers
  • Physical Stores
  • Online Stores

Try Forums & Online Marketplaces

Finding specific parts for some vehicle brands and niches might be challenging. If you’re striking out with options on where to find the part you need, visit a forum. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of people on that forum that can help you connect with someone that will have what you’re looking for.

Dave & Rays Automotive Repair Shop in Omaha, NE

Our team has learned one thing: automotive problems are as varied and unique as the customers who bring them to us. Fortunately, our decades of experience in auto service and repair also mean that our skilled network of professionals is ready to accommodate an impressive scope of automotive issues. Contact us today.

Recent Articles