5 Tips on Searching for Used and Aftermarket Truck Parts Online

Guest Post, written by Ryan Hochmiller, Manager, Active Truck Parts, Inc


As of 2014, within 3 days, Google was processing more information than all written works of mankind created since the beginning of recorded history and in all languages[i]!  On the flip side, it would take one over 95,000 years to do a manual search of Google’s 50 billion web pages, at one minute per page![ii]  Old or young, tech savvy or not, the internet is the easiest way to find your truck parts, regardless of its complexity and behemoth-ness.  Given the magnitude and amount of possible search results, there is a learning curve and a method to searching for truck parts in a way that maximizes your results and gets you the answers you seek.

For those ‘do-it-yourselfers’ we offer the following hints when searching online for used or aftermarket truck parts:

  1. Search Terms. When using a search engine like Google, enter the 2-4 most important terms into your search. For example, if you are trying to find EGR Valve for a Cummins ISX engine, you might start with searching “EGR Valve Cummins ISX.”  Keep in mind that Google doesn’t care in which order you enter the search terms.  Also, 2-4 terms is just a recommendation.  The point is, keep the number of terms you use to a minimum, but just enough to produce great Google results!  The results will, much of the time, produce content directly referring to the keywords you’re searching. And, if these were the most accurate keywords the results will likely include parts you can view by simply clicking on the listing.
  1. Specificity. Sometimes being specific with the wrong keywords in search engine searches can produce poor results.  Here’s a scenario to help explain the point. Let’s say you’re told by your mechanic that you need a pitman arm for your Ford, and he mentions it has a part number E8HT-3590-EB.  Based on the previous tip, you might be tempted to search by details: “1989 Ford F600 Pitman Arm.”  But specificity here will lead your search astray!  Google loves to lead you to answers, but you must give it love first, by entering the most accurate and relevant keywords!  In this case, the results you get will be clouded with multiple part numbers and part listings of plenty of pitman arms that have nothing to do with your intended search.  Let me also say as a side note: Searches for Ford parts can be a black hole of effort, leaving you with nothing after wasted time of Googling because there is not as much literature and part information, comparatively, as that of other manufacturers. Here’s the scenario that includes the appropriate specifics that will produce relevant results.  Of course, knowing the truck is a Ford, you are somewhat safe to assume it to be a Ford part number.  So, start with Googling the part and typing in “E8HT-3590-EB Ford” or “E8HT-3590-EB pitman.”  Now, if this is a good Ford part number, and there is some type of demand, supply, literature, or inventory posted to the internet with this part number, you should get some great, even surprising results.
  1. Incomplete information. If you have an incomplete number of EHT-3590-EB (vs. the complete one, E8HT-3590-EB), try searching it.  In most cases, since the part number is not complete, your results will be skewed, and you’ll quickly hit a dead end in your Google journey!  Enter, once again, broad searches of 2-4 relevant keywords! Remember, in this scenario our part number, EHT-3590-EB, is incomplete, but it’s all you have!  Now what?  Well, think of other relevant keywords to go along with it the incomplete number, or don’t include the incomplete information, if you feel it would help.  Let’s try “EHT-3590-EB Ford steering” or “EHT_3590-EB Ford pitman,” since we know it’s a component of the steering assembly.  This type of search will put you right back in the neighborhood of very helpful answers!
  1. Second chances. When lacking great search results, it’s all about giving a search engine two or more chances with a combination of different critical keywords until you find the results you were hoping for.  Remember, specificity can hurt or help. If you are super specific, and get no results, broaden the terms a bit more.
  2. Best sites locating parts and info. Sites like heavytruckparts.net or truckpartsinventory.com are the premium sites to locate your used and new parts anywhere around the U.S. and Canada.  These sites post the inventories of hundreds of salvage yards around the country, and depending on the salvage yard, will include pictures, details, prices and more.  If they don’t generate the results you are looking for, use Google for everything from part images, part number info, and part diagrams.  Google is the big kahuna when it comes to search engines, and generates better results than Bing, Yahoo and AskJeeves.


Hopefully these hints help you find your used or aftermarket truck parts easier and faster!  Googling and searching parts sites are great but what is most important is finding a truck parts specialist that you can trust to find the right part.  This is the fastest way to get competitive quotes, and get your truck back on the road making money!


written by Ryan Hochmiller, Manager, Active Truck Parts, Inc.  “Our specialists are here for those hard to find parts and those that have multiple part numbers that might apply to the part for which you’re looking.  Google, many times, does not have the results you are searching for.  Our specialists have a wealth of resources within our reference library for things like interchange, and part number crossover, and are experienced in treating customers well.”


[i] https://aci.info/2014/07/12/the-data-explosion-in-2014-minute-by-minute-infographic/

[ii] https://aci.info/2013/12/26/the-amazing-growth-of-google-infographic/

The Mustard Seed: our volunteering story

Matthew 13:31-32, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field: it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

For almost 30 years now, The Mustard Seed has been steadily working in downtown Edmonton to help homeless and low-income families in a variety of ways. Christ-centered and open-minded, The Mustard Seed provides basic services such as an evening meal program (Monday through Saturday) for its core community, as well as a food depot with free hampers. There is also a Personal Assistance Centre which offers small household goods, personal hygiene items, and clothing, all free of charge. In addition to these services, the Mustard Seed offers Community Support Services which include an Employment Readiness Program and a Life Skills Education Program. Finally, the Mustard Seed owns and operates a 20-unit affordable housing initiative called Westwood Manor. It is home to “chronically homeless” men and women and provides 24/7 access to on-site housing support workers.

The Mustard Seed is an essential organization within its community, just as any organization is that provides basics such as food and clothing (and, in this case, a certain amount of housing) to the most vulnerable. And, like any other not-for-profit organization, The Mustard Seed relies heavily on volunteers in order to fulfill its mandate. Looking at the list of services it offers, one realizes that, if it were a regular for-profit business, it would require a fairly substantial staff. And this substantial staff would require salaries. The Mustard Seed is able to function in part because of donations it receives in addition to different forms of funding, but if it were to pay salaries to an administrative structure from this financial base, it would have nothing left to provide the actual services its community relies upon. Volunteers, then, are a critical part of its functioning, and without them, The Mustard Seed could not exist.

Paul Thorne, the Volunteer Coordinator at The Mustard Seed, recounts that there have indeed been instances where they have had to close their doors for lack of volunteers. “For many people, this (closing of doors) is a really big thing, it is more than just an inconvenience. The meal we serve them is the only meal they might get for the day, so they won’t eat (if we can’t open).” Keeping in mind that the Mustard Seed’s core community is not generally equipped with cell phones, there is no way of communicating to them beforehand of a closure, and so they make their way to the center at the normal time, not having the opportunity to find another place to go to. “There are other agencies,” says Paul, “but they (the community members) have planned their day around The Mustard Seed, and are greatly affected. On average, there are 300 people for a meal on any given day, but we could have up to 700 people passing through.” It is clear, then, that volunteering is an undertaking which contributes greatly and, in this case, immediately, to the people it helps.

At The Mustard Seed, there are various types of volunteers, some of them on a casual basis and some more long-term (long-term is defined as 4 hours/week for 4 months), with some having been there for 12 years. In general, there are about 24 volunteers per day, with 6 people in the Sorting Centre, 6 people in the Food Bank, and up to 12 people in the Church (not including meal volunteers). The greatest need for volunteers is in the sorting of donations, as well as the meal groups (the people who make the meals) as this latter part is not funded and is supported largely through donations and volunteering. Few of the volunteer positions at The Mustard Seed require any sort of specialized training, and most of what is involved can be learned while doing. Faith Companion Volunteers offer spiritual guidance and care, and have a mandate to communicate directly with the community, so the fulfillment of their positions is handled differently.

We are currently in the holiday season, and Anna Pokhrel, the Communications Coordinator at The Mustard Seed, explains the importance of volunteers to the community at this time: “As the weather gets colder and the demand for our services at Christmas increases, we rely even more on our volunteers to help us meet this need. We are so grateful to the men, women and families that come out to help us get through our busiest season of the year.”

The holidays can be a beautiful and yet complicated time of the year for many people, and The Mustard Seed recognizes this with their community. There is an increase in the events and social opportunities offered that go beyond the typical Christmas dinner, and these activities try to address the emotional and spiritual needs that emerge at this time. For example, the Spiritual Care Chaplain, Pastor Garrett, offers a weekly Christmas Chat in the month before Christmas that allows community members to get together and share how they feel. These chats are done in conjunction with Faith Companion Volunteers and are a valuable way for people to sort through any difficulties they might be experiencing. There is a day at Prairie Gardens offered for families with small children, including transportation, food, activities, a small gift, and time with Santa. Because The Mustard Seed strives to maintain the dignity of everyone who passes through their doors, there is even a family gift centre where those who need to can buy a new gift of their choosing for $2 (which includes wrapping) and enjoy the feeling of providing for their own children. And, of course, there are various holiday dinners including the annual Christmas feast on December 23. All of these events harness the beauty of the holidays, and, with the help of the volunteers, work to counteract any sense of dislocation or loneliness some people might feel at a time when family and connection is emphasized. At this time of the year, helping to create positive experiences and memories is a highly important endeavor, and volunteers get to play a key part in the process.

Truck Part Solutions and The Mustard Seed
Over the years, Truck Part Solutions has contributed to The Mustard Seed in the form of donations and, this year, we started a monthly baking group with all staff members encouraged to attend. The act of volunteering as a company has been a great gift to us, and our now-regular sessions in the kitchen of The Mustard Seed have turned into a time for us to interact in a different atmosphere, with a different goal. Because The Mustard Seed is a local charity, we know that our actions are having an effect almost immediately on people who live in our community. The idea of helping someone who could be a direct neighbor is also a humbling one because we are all reminded that no one is that far from needing help, and that falling into a difficult position can happen to anyone, at any time. The need for caring through community by way of volunteering is a constant one, and it is one that businesses as citizens need to acknowledge and address. We are proud of our association with The Mustard Seed, are amazed by the scope of their work, and look forward to continuing our active contribution to their mission for as long as possible.

The Mustard Seed
10568 114th Street
Edmonton AB T5H 3J7

A Roadmap to Success, from TPI Management

How to harness the power of TPI’s system and increase your chances of success

TPI is a software that can be used either in the simplest manner (in order to upload inventory and sell it on the internet) or in a more comprehensive way (to run your salvage yard business from the back door to the front, including a stop in Accounting and Marketing along the way). If a User engages with TPI and does more than post inventory (which is perfectly legitimate), they will find that their business has a chance of becoming more profitable and efficient through the strength of the features already in place and the development of their growth in the long run.

1. Stay active within the system: if you consistently enter and then delete parts, your parts will show up on a regular basis and sell faster. Similar to the way social media functions, the more active you stay within the system, the more you maintain an immediate presence in the marketplace.

2. The more information you enter for each part, the better the placement will be: A good, clear description with detailed content helps bring your part to the top in searches, and multiple images and/or videos also help out immensely. Adding multiple images and video is easy to do, and only helps in expanding the market for your product. As well, the more information that is put up, the better the overall search will be on Google, helping to bring your particular item to the top of Google’s search when it is looked for.

3. Try to integrate Reports into your monthly routines: if you are using our invoicing function or deleting parts, you will get these reports. You will begin to see where your business is doing well and where things could be improved, and this will help point you in a better direction in terms of future decisions.

4. Use the Missed Sales function: this handy little feature can be found at the end of the Post tab on the Sellers homepage, and allows you to track what parts are being asked for but that you don’t have. It’s another way of improving your inventory based on what your customers are looking for.

5. If you haven’t done so yet, start using the CRM (Customer Relations Manager) that is included in the TPI software: It is a great tool that, at the very least, will help you organize all of your customer information in one place, and hopefully be able to use the information stored in a way to maintain and improve your relationships. Relationships are the glue that makes everything stick, and our CRM will help you strengthen that bond.

TPI is a thoughtful powerhouse with built-in solutions, and following the five tips above will help you drive your way to greater success and profitability.
labradors in a vintage truck

Part II of Staff Picks: TPI’s Top Ten Favourite Features

Part II: Fun, Smart, and Completely Useful

While the first ten features discussed were more comprehensive and, perhaps, “more serious”, the following are equally as intelligent and thoughtful, but they can also be a lot of fun (and we’re all about fun here at TPI!):

1. VIN Decoder (Steven Aleong, Developer):

The VIN decoder is a feature that is actually fun: pop in that crazy, seemingly random combination of letters and numbers and you will find out a lot of useful and just plain interesting information on a vehicle: all of the details on the original engine, the basics on the truck (make, model, etc.), it’s horsepower, and more. You will also find out where it was made, and even the assembly plant. It is extremely useful for a salvage yard when a customer is looking for a part and is missing certain key details that will determine the best fit. It is also extremely fun to take the VIN from your own car and those of your friends and see what you find out!

2. Action List as an Editing Tool (Tracey Booth, Parts Receptionist):

The Action List is a rectangular red button found at the bottom right of your screen in the Sellers section, and it works like a basket, allowing you to collect different items as you go along (up to a certain maximum, depending on the task) and then giving you different ways of working with them. In this case, you can use the tools to quickly edit info on multiple posts instead of going back and forth between parts, starting over each time.

3. Transparent Truck (Paula Wade, Content Writer):

The transparent truck is an unexpected and totally cool feature that can be found on the Parts Request page and which allows the non-truck expert to determine where the part they want is located on the truck. For example, if you hover the mouse over Differential, you will see where it is located on the truck and its general outline.

4. Reminders (Adam Relland, Senior Developer):

Reminders can be set up in the CRM section of TPI or under the Reminders bell itself, and they are great because they prompt you or other users with regard to quotes, invoices, etc. When you are in the Sellers Account portion of your page, you will see a small golden bell in the top right-hand corner. If you click on the bell, it will give you a list of any upcoming reminders you have as well as the ability to add any new ones.

5. Autofill on Search Bar (Christina Persson, Bookkeeper):

When you begin typing in a search term in the Search bar, the closest match appears, and fast. This helps save time by speeding up searches.

6. Use of the Map under Proximity (Christina Persson, Bookkeeper):

When you drop the marker on the map (under the Proximity tab on the public side of the site), you can find a company within close proximity of your location, and from there you can look at their inventory, etc.

7. Share Feature on the Parts Page (Martin Mercer-Deadman, Sales):

On the lower right-hand side of any parts description, you will find a blue action button that says, “Share this Part.” When you click on this, there will be a pop-up screen where you will fill in your name, the destination email, and a short message. The parts info (including photos) will then be sent, making the sharing of parts information much easier.

8. Search Filtering (Adam Relland, Senior Developer):

TPI’s search filtering lets you find what you need with as much precision as possible due to its facet drill-down, giving you several different ways of searching. The “searchability” of the site is impressive.

9. Multiple Photo Upload (Adam Relland, Senior Developer):

When you are posting a part for sale, this feature allows you to upload multiple images at a time, saving you time and frustration, and making that mountain of parts you need to post seem not so much like Everest after all.

10. Locations (Paula Wade, Content Writer):

Last but not least, there is the quiet little feature known as the Locations field. When you are posting a part for sale, you have the option of entering the actual physical location of the part in your yard, thereby saving yourself the hassle later of trying to remember exactly where it is when a customer calls in asking about it. You don’t have to run around on a scavenger hunt, looking for something you know exists but you just don’t know where.