The Art Of Parts: Finding The Right Source Online


If you need a part for last year’s Ford Focus, it’s not hard to find. Any Ford dealer and some independent mechanics probably have a broad auto parts inventory on their shelves waiting to pop them under your hood.

But if the love of your automotive life is a 1966 Mustang or your father’s 1986 Cadillac, the part you are looking for is lost in a maze of grease-lined storage boxes in someone’s warehouse. In that case, finding the right part for your car isn’t just mechanics, it’s art. The internet has taken that art and made it accessible to mechanics and car collectors with its vast collection of databases, car club forums, and dealer web carriers.

Everything Old Is Still Available

Car part shopping for older model cars is made for the internet. Searchable databases allow you to specify year, make, model and special designation so the right part for your car can be found no matter how old the vehicle may be. No more frustrating days of hearing the mechanic say, “They don’t make that gasket anymore.” Now, a car part like a custom hydraulic hose that you can’t find in a local store can be searched for and found in the storage houses, junkyards, or garages of pack-rats anywhere. Car restorers have found this feature of internet shopping most appealing for finding original parts to complete their masterpieces.

Across the Miles

The other market that is aided tremendously by online shopping is parts for foreign cars or parts for cars no longer sold in the US that are still being manufactured in other countries. Speaking the universal language of commerce, foreign car sales databases carry parts and equipment, including metric tools and gauges, available to any buyer. For restorers of the classic VW Bug, this is welcome news. The old Bug is no longer sold in the United States, but is still manufactured, serviced and driven in Mexico. Parts for US mechanics don’t require a trip across the border, just a click and some international postage. The internet’s range of reach ensures any part you need can be secured no matter what nation your car hails from.

By the Dozen

A final plus to internet car part shopping is the ability to buy in bulk. No longer do independent mechanics need to go to distributors to buy a case or gross of a part, they can now process the order through an online facility and let that company deal with the hassles of distributorship. While taking out the middle man is a national past-time, sometimes putting the middle man back in the process can save you time and effort so you spend your efforts under the hood where they belong.

When associated its online store with Motor Trend magazine in 2000, analysts called the move a brilliant venture to ensure their 1.5 million inventory of parts could be accessed by anyone who needed to find something. Since that time, more websites have joined in the fray. Consumers have discovered that finding used car parts for their car is no long a fool’s errand, but a smooth and well designed masterpiece.

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