With a little manual skill and a little experience, many car faults can be repaired by yourself. Internet trade of car parts is becoming more and more popular – because it is convenient and at the same time cost-effective. Although you can save a lot of money this way, you should be careful, especially when it comes to extremely cheap offers. The differences in the quality of the products can be enormous. What you need to pay attention to when buying car parts online, we will tell you in this article.
What do we mean by original, equivalent and replacement parts?
Basically, in the automotive industry, we talk about two groups of parts: new, original parts (OEM-Teile) and the so-called substitutes (Identteile or otherwise Nachbauteile). When it comes to quality, OEM parts are usually the best, because these are the same parts that are part of the original equipment of the vehicle. At the same time, these parts are of course the most expensive. In the first instance, they can be purchased from brand-name manufacturers – on the Internet they are rather difficult to access, because the manufacturers are already trying to do this by using appropriate clauses, preventing free trade in these parts.
An alternative to original parts are so-called substitutes. In the trade they are often referred to as new, non-original spare parts of comparable quality, but this is not always the case. Pay attention to this, especially with parts that affect the safety of driving, such as brake linings and discs. Do not immediately buy the cheapest product, but first check the manufacturer and available buyer reviews. Be careful especially with auction platforms and offers from Eastern Europe and Asia. Also take into account when buying, that the service life of replacements is in contrast to the original parts much shorter. So this can only mean an apparent saving.
How do I find the right online spare parts store in Germany?
The internet trade in replacement parts is booming, but it is possible to “fall for” incompetent sellers and frivolous offers, which in the worst case can have serious consequences. You can find reliable sellers by paying attention to a few details. First of all, check whether the store is certified, such as “Trusted Shops”. You can also search the internet for objective comments from other customers. Trustworthy stores tend to have a transparent policy – both in terms of pricing and information provision. Another positive feature is information about the statutory 14-day cancellation period. If you notice that the store regulations are missing, you should rather stay away from such sellers. The assortment is another point you should pay attention to. Large, reputable stores often have a large stock of car parts – they have over 100,000 parts for all popular models and can deliver them within just a few working days.
We have compiled a list of reliable and reasonably priced German online car parts dealers especially for you. Before you decide to make a purchase, compare the prices of selected parts on the websites of individual stores to find the cheapest offer.
1. pkwteile.de – more than 1.000.000 parts online!
Pkwteile.de is one of the most famous online stores with car parts. It exists already more than 10 years. Parcels are usually delivered within 48 hours after ordering. Moreover, you have various payment methods at your disposal, such as PayPal or classic payment by bill enclosed to the parcel.
2. autodoc.de – more than 300 car manufacturers and 75,000 car brands!
At Autodoc.de you will find more than 1.500.000 car parts, over 300 car manufacturers and more than 75.000 car brands. Autodoc.de advertises that it has the cheapest car parts on the German internet. So take a look at the website and find out for yourself.
3. Autoteiledirekt.de – free shipping on orders over 120 Euro!
When you buy car parts in Germany online at www.autoteiledirekt.de you don’t pay anything for postage if your order amount is at least 120 Euro. In addition, the store is TÜV certified and offers many car parts at particularly low prices.
4. Autoersatzteile.de – favourable prices and frequent discounts!
Autoersatzteile.de advertises that the shopping process is very user-friendly in the online store and takes only a few moments. Apart from that, prices of many car parts are lower than in competition and you can often take advantage of discounts.
What should you look for when searching for parts online?
If you have already found a decent, trustworthy store, you can start looking for parts. Professional stores have really very intuitive tools, with which even laymen can find suitable replacement parts. Use the search engine and enter the HSN (Herstellernummer) and TSN (Typschlüsselnummer) as well as the year of manufacture of the vehicle. HSN and TSN are the numbers of the car manufacturer (make) and the type/model of car, respectively. You can check all of these in the vehicle registration certificate. An alternative is to search for parts by manufacturer and type, but we do not recommend this option due to the not very accurate results found in this way in the search engine. Another very accurate option for finding suitable replacements is to enter the OE number. This number can usually be read off the original parts in the car.
Especially for wear parts, the choice is really huge. You should check all offers for quality and ratings. Do not immediately click “Buy now”, but compare prices in different stores. The most you should do is to be careful if you are looking for parts that have a significant impact on safety. If you are buying brake discs, for example, use original parts or high-quality identical parts from well-known manufacturers such as Brembo, Jurid, ATE, Knorr or Bosch. These companies supply auto manufacturers for mass production, so there is often no difference in quality. When it comes to filters, besides many “no-name” companies, you will also find established manufacturers, such as Mann, Knecht or Mahle. They too, as a rule, produce high quality original equipment parts for the vehicle. Sachs is a leading supplier of springs and shock absorbers. Exhaust pipes and silencers, on the other hand, are usually from Dinex.
Are used spare parts a good alternative?
If you don’t want to or can’t spend too much money on car parts, especially when it comes to older vehicles for example, then buying used parts may be a good option for you. Here you will also find various online offers, often on auction platforms. You can also use stock exchanges that focus on trading in used parts or online offers from vehicle recyclers. Be vigilant, however, because especially in the field of used parts, you may have to deal with scammers who sell parts in unsuitable condition. Pay attention to up-to-date ratings, realistic product descriptions and sensible photos. If you buy spare parts from private individuals, then no liability for defects applies. If you buy from a dealer, on the other hand, liability applies for one year for defects that already existed at the time of purchase. Of course, these defects are more than just standard wear and tear of the part due to the passage of time.
Spare parts bought online – can I lose my vehicle approval?
As a general rule: if you meet the manufacturer’s requirements by fitting car parts bought online and do not make any technical changes to your car, then you do not have to worry about the vehicle’s roadworthiness. In the case of safety-relevant parts, such as belts or all lighting elements, there must be an appropriate marking so that the ABE, i.e. the German approval for vehicles or their parts, remains valid. The problem arises when dealing with “counterfeit” original parts that circulate on the Internet. These are in particular: filters, wear parts related to the brake system, headlights and lamps. These parts are often difficult to distinguish from the original, but if you install them, your ABE automatically expires. Therefore, only buy from reliable sellers, such as those we have listed above, and pay attention to whether inspection marks, ABEs or expert reports on the parts are available.
Conclusion: buying car parts online is not difficult
Certainly, ordering auto parts online allows you to save a lot of money. When choosing the right offer you need common sense, a bit of skepticism and an empirical approach to the matter. This way you will avoid unnecessary risks. The online auto parts stores we have listed in our article are trustworthy and you don’t have to worry about being scammed.