You are driving your pride and joy through the parking lot on a Saturday and people are admiring your car as they should; you have just detailed the whole vehicle and it’s looking its best. Then you step on the brakes, a couple of people look at you in disgust and the smaller children are covering their ears and whining to their parents as your low brake pad indication squealers are rubbing on the brake rotors. It’s time for a brake job, and you don’t let anyone touch your car so you are going to do it yourself. You have a couple of options. You could drive to the closest dealership and get OEM pads; this will typically cost you an arm and a leg. You could drive to the local auto parts place and save a bit of money on an aftermarket set of brake pads that will likely work just as well. Another option is buying from an online auto parts store.
The online format of business has several advantages, the first is location. The warehousing for an online car parts store does not need to be located in prime real estate. It does not have to be easily accessible to highly populated areas because it does not require the convenience of location to do the majority of its business. A franchised retail outlet on the other hand does. And that convenience comes at a price which is essentially passed along to the consumer.
There are a variety of online sites that specialize in replacement parts. Although each company is unique on its own there are three main formats that are easily identifiable in the realm of replacement car parts. The most common is the company that tries to stock just about every part available. They carry all sorts of brands, give you a variety of options and can usually still beat the prices of anything locally. The simple fact that the company providing the auto part has to stock another company’s car part is a reason for a price mark-up. And this is the same basic idea for some of the specialized auto part sites. Let’s take Volkswagen for example. There are some car parts sites that are run by VW enthusiasts and they specialize in the parts that are available for Volkswagens, this way they can cater to a targeted audience.
There are certain companies that only sell their own brand of auto parts. This means they do not have a retail markup that includes a markup to cover distribution of the parts from the manufacturer to one company and then to another. This lets the company that only sells its own auto parts offer them for much cheaper and still make enough of a profit level to remain in business. A company like this will specialize in the car parts that have the most crossover applications, i.e. the same part fits several vehicles, and the most commonly replaced auto parts. These are car parts like brake parts, hub bearings, struts, strut assemblies, and other frequently changed maintenance parts. A good example of a company like this is Prime Choice Auto Parts.