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Buying Performance Car Parts online, doesn’t need to be a struggle

Purchasing performance car parts online undoubtedly opens up a whole new world of opportunities. You could purchase parts at a reduced price from a wholesaler you would otherwise not even have known existed, and delivery is seldom an issue since most online stores use reliable carriers such as FedEx.

Despite this, when you buy online you are transacting with people you have never met. This creates a situation where there can sometimes be misunderstandings regarding exactly what you are buying, or other terms of the agreement. And just like in the offline world, there are also quite a few con artists looking for easy money. Below are some tips on how to make the whole process painless.

Do your homework

Firstly make sure you know exactly what you want to buy. Have the car's model and the part number(s) ready - if you supply an incorrect part number very few dealers are going to treat you sympathetically.

Next compare different suppliers for the particular item or items you want to buy. One of the best places to do this is Compare Parts, the world's first dedicated performance and aftermarket car parts search engine.

Draw up a shortlist of let's say three suppliers and then do a quick Google search to see what previous clients have to say about them.

Compare prices

When using a service such as Compare Parts you will probably be quite surprised to see the wide variation in prices charged for what appears to be the same product. Of course you should make sure that you are comparing apples with apples: there could be quality variations, so before making a final choice do some online research on both the company and the brand(s)it sells.

Motoring forums can be an excellent source of info if you want to learn about experiences other DIY enthusiasts might have had with either that particularly company or a specific brand.

Warranties

Many of the better online performance car parts retailers sell parts from reputable manufacturers who are prepared to back up their products with a warranty, and on their websites they will clearly show details about the warranty period as well as their own specific return policies.

Of course there is no reason to always buy the most expensive parts with the longest warranty. If you have previous experience of the brand you could save a lot of money online by simply looking for the best price.

Make sure you are transacting over a secure network

Do not assume that every online transaction is conducted over a secure network. Although 90% of the online performance car parts dealers out there will have a secure server when they start asking for credit card numbers and other confidential info, it only takes one bad apple to leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth.

Fortunately, it's quite easy to determine whether you are on a secure connection or not. When you go to a site such as Compare Parts you will see the website address starts with 'https' and not 'http' as is the case with most other sites which don't handle personal info.

If you buy performance car parts online very often, a good idea is to open a Paypal account. In that case you only have to divulge your credit card info once: to Paypal. The online vendor never has access to that data.

Confirm that order tracking is available

When you are buying performance car parts online, you of course have to keep delivery times in mind. You might get a great deal on aftermarket parts from a supplier in Mongolia, but shipping could take weeks. And if the supplier doesn't offer a tracking system you will spend all that time wondering where on earth your purchase currently finds itself. So regardless of where the supplier is located, ensure it offers order tracking facilities.

Check delivery times

If your order is rather urgent it might be worthwhile to buy from a vendor a little closer to you. If the order is extremely urgent you might decide to opt for overnight delivery but take into account that this will normally come with additional charges. Make sure exactly how much that is before hitting the 'Buy' button.

Beware of classifieds websites

A final word of warning before you embark on your online search: websites such as Craigslist and Gumtree might offer bargains, but in the first place they do not specialise in car parts and secondly if a disagreement does arise between you and the seller it's not particularly likely you will get your money back. This becomes even riskier if the seller lives far away and you won't get to see the product before you buy.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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