What you need to know about buying truck parts

If you’re looking at buying replacement parts for your vehicle, there’s a good chance you’re already lost in the maze of options on the market. The sea of aftermarket parts is a rough one to navigate, and you need a reasonable amount of knowledge on the different types to make sure you’re getting what you need—especially since there’s not a lot of consistency across dealers in terms of industry standards.

truck maintenance

The right part for you might be a factory replacement, a rebuilt one, or a remanufactured one, depending on where your vehicle is in its life cycle and the reason for the replacement. You might also be able to buy the right aftermarket part from the original equipment manufacturer who’s retailing it under the umbrella of another brand. While the main solution is to rely on the industry knowledge of a reputable dealer, there are a few things to consider that can help you point you in the right direction to get your vehicle safely—and affordably—back on the road.

Not all parts are equal

This point isn’t as obvious as it sounds. While you’re guaranteed (literally, by warranties) to get quality replacement parts from the OEM, there’s no reason you can’t get as good a product from a private label. You’ll even get high quality rebuilds and remanufactured parts from reputable dealers—and depending on the age of the vehicle, it may well be worth your while. And if you don’t already know which OEMs are masquerading as their sub-companies, find out from a good dealer: they’ll know who made what, and where to get a high-quality genuine part at a fraction of the cost—a part that’s exactly the same, except for the logo on it.

The other side of the coin is that just because a part looks like the original doesn’t mean it is the same.

White box and will-fit parts can be dangerous territory: there’s a reason OEMs get their reputations from engineering and design, and there are any number of differences in white box parts that could be the difference between life and death for your vehicle. Genuine parts are built to specifications for particular applications—a certain vehicle, with a unique system of operating—and it’s rare for copycat manufacturers to develop a product that meets the complex needs of fit and mechanical functionality for each vehicle it’s being used in. These companies also don’t abide by the same rigorous quality control standards as major manufacturers—so buying a low-quality part isn’t just a waste of money: it’s a dangerous game, threatening the stability of the entire vehicle.

truck parts
truck engine maintenance

So how do you know when to fork out for the real deal, and when to grab a bargain? Unless you’re an industry professional, it’s unlikely you will. Find a good dealer, and they’ll use their inside knowledge of the tolerances and specifications of your vehicle—and who’s making the right parts for it—to get you the best products and prices.

There’s not just one name on the box

There are many reliable aftermarket manufacturers out there, who are delivering the same standards in engineering, manufacture, quality control, after sales service and support as the major players.

In fact, the aftermarket parts market has become so lucrative that it’s only natural that the OEMs are wanting a slice of the pie.

While most aftermarket parts are sold by independent private labels, a growing percentage of them are all-makes labels owned by the OEMs themselves.

This is partially due to the fact that fleets are lasting longer. Instead of switching trucks out every four years or so, fleets are holding on to them almost to a decade—which means less demand for genuine OEM parts off the shelf, and more demand for affordable replacements. OEMs’ all-makes labels are usually reliable, since they’re made to the same standards and specifications as their original counterparts.
But there’s another factor to consider: who the OEM really is. It isn’t necessarily the vehicle manufacturer; it’s often an offshore manufacturer, even for the major players like Toyota and Nissan. That means you don’t necessarily need to buy from your vehicle’s dealership to get a genuine part: you only need to buy from a retailer who carries the part made by that OEM.

Your vehicle’s age matters

While it’s certainly not the sole deciding factor when you’re buying parts, you should take your truck’s age into consideration when you’re shopping around.

The aim is always to maximise the vehicle’s performance and longevity in the most economical way: but with different manufacturers and different life cycles, there’s not one simple aftermarket solution for all vehicles.

Common sense would indicate that higher cost parts earlier in the life cycle of the vehicle are justified, and a lower investment is warranted the closer it gets to the end of the road. But sometimes, even past the mid-point of the vehicle’s life, it’s worth a bigger outlay—if it guarantees better performance, less downtime and servicing, less risk or better protection as the vehicle ages. But if you’re not an expert in cost analysis, this is where it pays off to get professional advice: a good dealer will be able to weigh up the important factors—safety, reliability, and cost—and point you to the right parts to keep your vehicle running and your expenses down.

Rebuilt and remanufactured parts are different

One of the choices you might have to make when you’re looking for replacement parts for your vehicle is between rebuilt and remanufactured parts. As with most choices, there are pros and cons to both, and it pays to get advice about the best way to resolve your vehicle’s issue.

remanufactured truck parts

Where parts (including engines) are rebuilt, the technician will remove, repair, or replace damage components of the part. In most cases, the same part is returned to the vehicle. Remanufacturing is different: the part is completely dissembled and each component is inspected and repaired separately before being cleared for use in remanufacturing another part.

There’s a common view that remanufactured parts are lower in quality than rebuilt ones, but that’s generally untrue: while it depends on the repairer and the product, in many cases the end result is a product as good or better than the original part—and at a lower cost

There’s a lot of factors in deciding which is the best option for replacement truck parts. It’s important to get informed advice on the best products and services if you’re going to extend the life of your vehicle, ensure its safety, and improve its performance—the sort that only an industry professional can give. At Rocklea Truck Parts, our experienced professionals have broad industry knowledge in manufacturing processes, industry standards, and brand specifications, and we can find the right solutions and replacement parts for your heavy vehicles.

Contact us anytime for more information about our aftermarket parts, and we’ll be happy to help you get your truck back on the road and moving your business forward.