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If you work on cars, you know that one of the most unpredictable costs can be parts. You’re not just dealing with a volatile market that shifts frequently, but also suppliers that seem all too ready to take advantage of customers in a bind. Whether you run a shop or you’re restoring vehicles on your own, it’s imperative that you find a good parts supplier. Doing so is, fortunately, easier than you might think.
If you want a good line on parts, your first step will be to talk to others who work on similar cars. If you run a shop, check in with other shops in the area. If you work on cars privately, take some time to talk to people who frequently do the same. The best source for finding Mitsubishi parts, for example, is probably someone who has spent a lot of time working on Mitsubishi vehicles. Using the knowledge that others have gained is a great shortcut to finding a vendor who will get you what you need.
Don’t just look at prices when you’re looking at a source. Instead, take some time to look at how others in the community feel about the vendor. Ask questions about delivery times, prices, and the general attitude of the supplier. If you’re working online, check out enthusiast message boards and don’t forget about online review sites. In the car community, a good supplier is definitely worth talking about—and so is a bad supplier. No matter what the reputation, it won’t stay hidden for very long.
Perhaps the best way to ensure that you’ve got a reliable source is to start with something small and to shop around. Don’t go for the big, expensive parts—start with something minor, perhaps even for your own vehicle. If you can trust a vendor to get you something small on time, you can start to slowly work your way up. Continue to order from multiple vendors and sites until you figure out which suppliers are reliable, which have fair prices, and which can get you what you need quickly. Once you have the possibilities narrowed down, you can choose the vendor that fits your needs best.
Finding a good auto parts supplier is largely a matter of talking to people and finding out who’s got a good reputation. Don’t just rely on word of mouth, though—test those reputations on your own. In time, you’ll find the perfect supplier for your automotive needs.