Nobody can determine whether a vehicle part is faulty until it begins to show symptoms of malfunction or failure. When left unchecked, even the smallest issues can wreak havoc in your off-road vehicle. And upon realizing that it’s time to buy a replacement part, you start to explore your options. With increased connectivity, motorsport parts manufacturers gain the opportunity to tap into a vast pool of online consumers looking to get the best performance parts for their off-road vehicles. There are dozens of popular choices when it comes to motorsport manufacturers that you can choose to buy from. Some of them offer products that are even better than those of the original manufacturer, while others just claim to sell original parts and could send you a fake product that could endanger your safety on the dirt roads and keep you from winning races.
With the tremendous boom of eCommerce websites and online marketplaces (e.g., eBay and Amazon), consumers now have a wide variety of OEM and aftermarket vehicle parts to choose from. However, it is not always easy to find the right motorsport parts online, particularly since you can’t take a test ride before buying the part. That’s why we have created this comprehensive guide to buying motorsports parts online in 2020.
What are the Best Practices of Buying Motorsport Parts Online?
Because there are so many places to buy parts for off-road recreational vehicles as well as such a wide range of quality brands, it can be difficult to find the right part that fits your vehicle. Besides, online shopping comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages that consumers should understand when purchasing such an important product. Trying to save as much money as possible may lead to a trap of buying non-genuine parts. With original motorsport parts, they will have confidence in the parts’ quality and durability in the long run. Buying genuine parts is essential from the safety point of view, as well.
- What exactly are you looking for? Whether you’re looking for dirt bike tires, disc brakes, carbon fiber frames, conversion kits, or belt drives, you should know what model and make of a motorsport part fits your vehicle. Otherwise, you risk buying the wrong part, especially if you’re after aftermarket parts. These parts are not created by the original manufacturer but by a third-party, so you need to find out as many details about a specific part as possible to determine compatibility
- What kind of reputation does the motorsport parts store have? You don’t want to buy motorsport parts from a manufacturer or dealership with low review scores and bad word-of-mouth related to their brand name. Check out customer reviews and the stories of satisfied customers. See what you can find on their customer service, whether they have a buyer protection policy in check, allow for item returns (in case you ordered the wrong one by mistake), and enable for product comparison.
- Is the transaction process secure and convenient? When making an online purchase, there is always a security consideration. Online auto parts stores will ask for PayPal details, credit card numbers, or if you wish to purchase a different way. The website you’re purchasing from must take cybersecurity very seriously and encrypt your personal information to protect it. Probably the safest paying option is using PayPal because it’s very secure, convenient, and it doesn’t divulge personal information. Using bank transfers or money orders is not a good idea because you won’t be able to recover the money in case of a problem.
- What kind of shipping method should you choose? This all depends whether you’re in a hurry to replace the broken part or not. When checking out, you opt for express delivery. If the seller claims to send ordered parts in a timely manner, check the customer reviews to see if their claim is true. Before you check out, you should double-check the final checkout page to be sure that you haven’t added something by mistake or have forgotten any items.
- Do buyers get an installation service? When you look to buy a motorsport part online, installation services can be a great added advantage. Your vendor has better technical expertise on the installation of the part than any local technician. And even if you have the skills to fit the parts by yourself, it is recommended to resist the temptation of installing new parts, such as engines or exhaust. If you make a mistake, you will probably invalidate your insurance. So if the vendor doesn’t offer installation services, be sure to visit your local garage
What is the Difference Between OEM and Aftermarket Parts?
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. In other words, OEM parts are the motorsport or auto parts and accessories produced by the vehicle’s manufacturer, and they match the parts that originally came with your vehicle. Buying OEM parts is easier because you don’t have to look any further than the one that made your off-road vehicle. If you reach out to get a new part, you will typically get one type, and you can avoid comparing prices and assessing the quality of different brands. The OEM part comes with a warranty, and once installed, you can rest assured that it will work just like the one you’re replacing. Consumers get peace of mind in terms of performance and familiarity.
There are several downsides of buying OEM parts that get many off-roaders to look for the aftermarket parts. OEM parts are usually more expensive than aftermarket parts (according to the PCIAA, they can cost up to 60% more). But the gap in pricing might be closing because dealers are now trying to compete with independent shops that offer same- or even higher-quality motorsport parts. Next, OEM parts are usually bought at the dealership (despite other ways of buying them, like online wholesalers and eBay). You can request parts from your local car shop, but it may take longer to get your vehicle running again since the OEM parts must be ordered. Ultimately, OEM parts are not necessarily of higher quality than aftermarket parts. Certain aftermarket part manufacturers are specialized in making only certain parts, and they often reverse-engineer the OEM parts to remove any inconsistencies and make improvements. Some aftermarket motorsport parts are equal to OEM parts, while some are better.
Any motorsport part that’s not sourced from the original vehicle maker is called an aftermarket part. Some research shows that about 80% of independent car shops use aftermarket parts. The first advantage that aftermarket parts have over OEM motorsport and auto parts and accessories are that they’re less expensive. How much money you will save varies by brand, so be sure to shop around to get an idea of how much that particular part usually costs and to find the best price. There are dozens of manufacturers of aftermarket vehicle parts, so the parts come in more variety. Some aftermarket parts sellers specialize in specific parts, and some in almost any part you can think of. Increased variety translates into greater selection as well as a wider range of prices.
As for the quality, aftermarket parts can be equal or better than OEM parts. When an automaker designs their vehicle’s brake pads, the product has to strike a balance between performance, durability, cost, and noise levels. If you don’t mind some extra brake noise (as most off-roaders don’t) and only want better performance, an aftermarket part is your best bet.
On the other hand, quality may vary greatly as some aftermarket parts are made of lower-quality materials. Pay attention to the brands recommended by your trusted mechanic or stick with brands you’re familiar with. Furthermore, some consumers might get overwhelmed by such a wide selection, especially those unfamiliar with the most reputable aftermarket brands. It increases the chance for them to get a low-quality part because even simple parts, like spark plugs, can come in different variations and can be made by various companies. When the price difference is significant, consult your trusted mechanic for advice. Some aftermarket parts are sold without a warranty to keep the costs down.
Shop around to make sure you get the right high-quality part and avoid paying just for the brand name.
Should I Buy Parts from a Trusted Private Website or Online Marketplace?
Online marketplaces are booming, and it has become safe to buy motorsport parts on websites such as eBay and Amazon. They are great because many reputable vehicle parts manufacturers and sellers have stores on these platforms where they present their line of products. Thousands of people visit online marketplaces on a daily basis, and they are all interested in buying or ready to buy a vehicle part, so car part manufacturers don’t want to miss the opportunity of being present there.
People don’t usually think of online marketplaces first when looking for a motorsport part to purchase. But the eCommerce ways of doing business have been on a steady increase during the last decade, and more and more consumers are using sites like Amazon and eBay to purchase things as important as vehicle parts. Consumers can easily find what they are looking for, compare product prices, buy what they need, and even save some money. Also, they have a program designed to provide buyers protection from various issues, such as differences in the motorsport part specifications than those mentioned in the listing or receiving a part that’s not in the expected condition. One should know that eBay’s Buyer Protection Program doesn’t protect everyone. For example, it doesn’t cover issues related to products generally recognized to be of poor quality or products that you’re simply dissatisfied with.
Trusted Private Websites
Buying from online marketplaces always comes with additional costs. In the automotive category, Amazon charges 12% to sellers. As for eBay, it charges 6-10% (depending on the seller’s account type). Because of these costs, sellers typically set a higher price when selling on an online marketplace (higher than the one on their private website). In case you find a reputed seller on eBay, you can visit their website and compare prices, which are lower because certain fees are waived completely. The value of the automotive aftermarket has enjoyed a steady growth because of increased global connectivity that allowed motorsport parts sellers to get in direct contact with their consumers. Every part manufacturer or dealer that you run into in the online marketplace has its own website and could cater to your needs better.
When on a trusted private website of a reputable part manufacturer or dealership, you can easily find the right make and model of the performance part that fits your off-road vehicle. And since you are buying the part directly from their website, you get better customer service and support, which minimizes the risk of purchasing the wrong part.
Some aftermarket part companies, such as MX PowerPlay, sell parts comparable to the OEM parts, so consumers always get a better price for a high-quality part.
Why Should You Ask for Documents that Guarantee Authenticity?
Manufacturers and sellers of car parts, whether small or big companies, usually provide a document that verifies the authenticity of their parts. If the brand you are speaking to claims that they’re selling original products, be sure to ask to see the documents that support their claim or serial/model numbers related to the part you are trying to buy. Then, visit the manufacturer’s site to check if those numbers exist in their database. If they do, then you have found yourself a trustworthy seller and can go ahead with the transaction. If they don’t, ask for other proofs of authenticity or continue to shop around. Sellers who are confident in the parts they sell won’t have a problem with providing you some kind of a guarantee.
How Important is the Seller’s Reputation?
When looking to buy a motorsport part, you should choose to buy it from an established business that falls in the ranks of other established online retailers. An established business has a good history with its customers, and others consider it to be trustworthy. For example, if a seller on eBay has a status of Top Rate Seller, it improves both their visibility and reputation, which instills trust in their potential customers. To achieve the status of a Top Rated Seller, they need to have at least $1,000 in sales and 100 transactions with U.S. buyers over the past 12 months. Also, they cannot become a Top Rated Seller if they don’t provide excellent customer support.
If the seller is not present on online marketplaces but does business via their company website, remember to look for both offline and online reviews. The eCommerce industry is experiencing growing competition, so troll-generated or falsified feedback is everywhere. If there are many surprisingly positive comments about the company, no negative factors to point out, and a 5-star overall review, it’s a sign that the feedback is false. Sift through the reviews with 4- or 3-star ratings because these are the ones with real buyer responses made by people who are truthful about their experience. As for offline reputation, you can get it by asking a trusted relative, friend, colleague, or mechanic.
How Important is Fitment/Compatibility?
Whether you’re buying OEM replacement parts or aftermarket parts, fitment is critical. Also referred to as compatibility, fitment refers to the vehicle engine, make, model, and year that your vehicle parts and accessories fit. Motorsport parts manufacturers need to optimize their product listings with fitment filters to make things easier for their buyers. “Will the part fit?” is the question that most people looking for vehicle parts ask, so the success of online parts sellers depends on their ability to ensure their clients find what they’re looking for. With accurate fitment data, buyers won’t have doubts as to whether the motorsport part will fit their vehicle, and will avoid costly returns. Fitment is especially important for off-road vehicles, and you should look for equipment that’s made specifically for your vehicle to ensure the right fitment. If there is no other option, only consider universal-fit parts.
The MX PowerPlay guide to buying motorsport parts online in 2020 is designed to answer all the questions that you (the buyer) might have on purchasing a motorsport part via the Internet. Knowing all the facts is necessary to understand how to find the exact part you need, decide between OEM and aftermarket parts, and ways to recognize a reputable manufacturer or part dealer. Our experts have put these common questions together and created a series of articles to help you out in finding your car parts online.
We specialize in selling quality parts for off-road vehicles. We guarantee fast shipping and a secure and convenient online transaction when you buy your motorsports part. All the parts on our site come with a warrant and support of our customer service team. Feel free to visit our website and find out more about what we have to offer.