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Auto Parts – How do Auto Parts Fitment Notes work?

Buying Auto Parts for your vehicle can be tricky – especially when purchasing online, it is important that you get the right Auto Parts for your vehicle. Typically, you buy Auto Parts because you need them to either get your vehicle back on the road or to keep it on the road – either way, time is of the essence. Buying Auto Parts online is a very cost effective alternative to purchasing them locally from a Dealership or Auto Parts Store, but there are some considerations. Shipping Automobile Parts across the country is both time consuming and carries a cost so it is important to get the right auto parts the first time. One of the biggest issues facing a consumer buying Auto Parts Online is that they are not familiar with Aftermarket Automobile Parts terminology.

Here are a few tips to help you find the right Auto Parts for your vehicle.

  • The “ALL TYPES” fitment note means that the Auto Part should fit all sub models and engine configurations for that particular Year, Make, and Model (YMM).
  • If your vehicle comes with REAR BRAKE DISCS (also known as BRAKE ROTORS) then it uses Rear BRAKE PADS. This commonly refers to this braking system as “WITH 4 WHEEL DISC”. If you see Rear Brake Pads with the fitment note of “ALL TYPES”, it means it will fit vehicles with Rear Disc Brakes – not Rear Brake Drums.
  • If your vehicle comes with REAR BRAKE DRUMS, then it uses Rear BRAKE SHOES. This commonly refers to a setup with “WITH REAR DRUM”. If you see Rear BRAKE SHOES with the fitment note of “ALL TYPES”, it means it will fit vehicles with Rear Brake Drums – not Rear Disc Brakes.
  • Since 1986 (outside of Mexico), BRAKE DRUMS are only available as part of a rear braking system.
  • All vehicles (outside of Mexico) since 1986 come with FRONT DISC BRAKES (also known as BRAKE ROTORS).
  • The “WITH ABS” fitment note can refer to vehicles with either 2 WHEEL ABS or 4 WHEEL ABS.
  • The fitment note “SPECIAL HANDLING PACKAGE” is used to describe vehicles used as taxis, police vehicles, limousines, or other specially modified vehicles.
  • The STRUT ASSEMBLY – COMPLETE STRUT contains the strut rod, coil spring, mounting plate, and other parts depending on the particular configuration of the vehicle and installation requirements. Purchasing a COMPLETE STRUT ASSEMBLY will save you or your mechanic both time and money.
  • HUB ASSEMBLY - HUB BEARING, like Complete Struts, contain multiple parts, including the WHEEL BEARING, which makes installation easier and more cost-effective since there is no need to press the WHEEL BEARING into place. Most vehicles with ABS have to be replaced with a HUB BEARING ASSEMBLY.
  • You should always replace BRAKE ROTORS and BRAKE DRUMS in pairs. Failure to do so can cause uneven wear, strain, and can even damage your vehicle. Replacing STRUTS and HUB BEARINGS in pairs is also a good idea because if one is worn out, the other is probably close behind – replacing both at the same time saves you both time and money!
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New Auto Parts vs. Rebuilt Auto Parts

There are several things you need to consider when you are making the decision to purchase replacement auto parts. New auto parts, particularly OEM direct from the car dealer, can be extremely expensive. In most cases when dealing with an older car or truck, their cost can be very difficult to justify in relation to the value of the vehicle itself. Used, rebuilt and new auto parts can vary significantly in price. Some new auto parts can last for 20 years, but your car may only last or you may only be planning on keeping it for 3-5 years. Do you really want to pay a premium for a new auto part that will outlast your needs by up to 15 years? Knowing as much as possible about new, used and rebuilt auto parts will help you make the best decision. The amount of money you are willing to invest in your vehicle is obviously a very important factor as well. The ultimate goal is to get the best overall value based on your needs and circumstances.

Rebuilt auto parts typically offer decent value as long as there is some warranty coverage. You might be surprised to find that the only thing you are buying with a rebuilt auto part is the warranty. The extent of some rebuilt auto parts is only a good cleaning of the auto part and maybe some fresh paint. This makes it look new. If it is found that some of the replaceable components should last the length of the warranty, then they may not necessarily be replaced. Some auto parts suppliers have even taken to testing their “rebuilt” auto parts before selling them because of the large number of units that fail immediately after they are purchased and installed.

Depending on your circumstances, used auto parts might be another option to consider. They are typically the least expensive, but they are also the most unreliable. This is due to the fact that a part may have been sitting inactive for an undisclosed period of time. During this period of inactivity, the potential for corrosion is high. Some used auto parts, electrical ones for example, are more prone to corrosion damage as contacts and bearings are typically the first things to suffer. Used auto parts may also have an unknown amount of mileage. The general consensus is to stay away from used auto parts if they have not been thoroughly inspected and tested.

If you drive an old car that you are just trying to keep on the road, you will be shocked by the typical price of a new auto part from a car dealership. Dealerships usually sell both new OEM auto parts and new aftermarket auto parts. Regardless of which type you purchase, you are paying for the overhead of the dealership. OEM parts are definitely at the top of the price scale. Aftermarket auto parts from a car dealership are less expensive, but you are still going to pay a higher price from the dealer than an independent auto parts store. The beauty of new aftermarket auto parts is that you know exactly what you are getting – new components, competitive warranties, and direct replacement parts that match the exact specifications of your vehicle.

The next challenge is to find a new aftermarket auto part which provides the best combination of cost and quality – “value” is a great word to use here. The World-Wide-Web has proven itself over and over again to be a great source for comparative shoppers – consumers of discount auto parts are no exception. Online auto parts stores typically provide bumper to bumper coverage of virtually any and all truck and car parts, and they can offer significant savings over the local auto parts store or car dealership.

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