Finding The Best Online Auto Parts
If you are looking to buy auto parts, you have more options today than ever before. In the past, if you needed a new air filter, shocks, car cover, or other automotive service or part, you would have to head to a brick and mortar auto parts shop, such as Autozone, NAPA Auto Parts, or Advance Auto Parts. However, online auto part shops have exploded in popularity in recent years and have become a favorite for those who want parts at cheap prices.
But prices are not everything and if you are looking for auto parts then the question will inevitably arise: is it better to buy auto parts online or at a brick and mortar store? Below we will compare online and brick and mortar shops according to a few key metrics.
Online Auto Parts Made Easy
When it comes to ease of use, either online shops or brick and mortar shops could be considered the winners. That is because ease of use is highly subjective. Online auto parts stores are easier to use in the sense that you don’t have to leave your home to buy auto parts. Obviously, that is extremely convenient for a lot of people. Most online auto parts retailers also have easy-to-use navigation and a simple checkout process.
However, brick and mortar stores can be considered easier to use because you will be able to see in front of you what you are shopping for. Furthermore, if you have questions about the product you are buying you can simply ask an employee. By shopping online, you won’t have the convenience of being able to ask an employee questions.
Online Auto Parts Pricing
When it comes to pricing, online stores win hands down. Unfortunately, bricks and mortar stores are notorious for marking up their auto parts by huge margins, largely due to the fact that these stores have more expenses and more competition. Online stores, on the other hand, have to pay fewer employees and have few or no physical locations. That means that online stores can offer parts at much lower prices.
However, you should keep in mind that you will likely have to pay for shipping when shopping online. This can significantly drive up prices. Although even with shipping costs you will likely still find that online stores are much cheaper than brick and mortar stores.
Online Auto Parts Average Return Policies
Return policies vary from one store to the next so it is best to compare retailers. In general, however, you will find that brick and mortar stores have better return policies than online stores. That’s because almost every store, whether online or otherwise, requires that products be returned in their original condition. By returning a product to a physical store, it is easier to argue that a product is in its original condition. With an online store, you have to rely on an employee you will never meet being trustworthy. Furthermore, some online stores charge a restocking fee.
Advantage Of Purchasing Auto Parts Online
Online stores usually have a big advantage over brick and mortar shops when it comes to parts availability. The reason is obvious: whereas online retailers can store their inventory in large warehouses, brick and mortar shops have much more limited space for inventory. As a result, you are almost guaranteed to have a much larger selection of parts if you shop online.
Tax Savings With Purchasing Auto Parts Online
Another possible advantage of shopping online is that you might get a tax break on your auto parts. While there is no guarantee, you could find that you can avoid some sales taxes if you shop from an online retailer who is located in a state with lower sales taxes than your state has.
However, be careful because you could end up buying from an online retailer who is located outside of the United States. If that is the case, you could end up paying not just hefty shipping fees but custom duties as well. Unfortunately, you probably won’t know what those custom duties are until the parts are delivered to your door.
Risks and Concerns With Purchasing Auto Parts Online
Aside from the abovementioned risks about customs duties, there are other risks and concerns to consider. For one, if you are shopping online, you need to make sure you are using a reputable dealer. Auto parts must meet government-mandated standards, but some online retailers can be unscrupulous or may be selling overseas parts that don’t meet American regulations.
Furthermore, you need to make sure that you don’t inadvertently violate your car warranty when you buy your own parts. This is a risk that applies to both online and brick and mortar retailers, but probably more so to online retailers. If you want to stay on the safe side, get your parts directly from the dealer that you bought your car from and double-check what the terms of your warranty are.