9 Great Tips to Find Used Truck Parts Online!

Another amazing guest blog post from Ryan Hochmiller, Manager at Active Truck Parts in Colorado.

Buying used truck parts can save you a lot of money on repairs and improvements, sometimes up to as much as 80% over new truck parts.  Oftentimes the dealerships may not have a ready supply of new parts available for older trucks, or the parts may be obsolete altogether.  Furthermore, for those wanting make a positive impact on the environment, its notable that purchasing recycled parts from responsible and reputable salvage yards contributes immensely to that cause.  Increasingly, individuals and corporations are joining the “green” revolution!

Learning how to quickly and efficiently work with parts facilities to search for and find your parts can be a process.  Here are some general rules of thumb and helpful tips for buying used truck parts:

1. Part numbers:  If you know the part number of a part you need, write it down and contact your used truck parts specialist. Every single mechanical element of a truck will have its own part number.  This number will save you and the seller valuable time.

2. Tag numbers:  Most used truck parts facilities create unique reference numbers during the inventory process.  They might be called reference numbers—but more commonly—stock numbers or tag numbers. If you find a part on a website, make a note of this ID number to help the facility find that part in their system quickly and efficiently.

3. Take a picture of the part:  If you are unable to find the part number for your part, take a picture of it to show to your parts seller.  Most professional salvage yards will be up to speed and have email, and will sometimes work with texting via cell phones.  While the picture doesn’t tell the whole story, it will enable the seller to find similar components and, hopefully, the right one.

4. Visit your seller’s physical location:  Most websites don’t list all their products.  This is especially common for salvage yards where much of their sellable inventory is not inventoried, for practical reasons.  Whenever possible, it’s always best to visit your part supplier’s site in person and talk to them directly about your part.  If you’re unable to visit them physically, give them a call!  Some companies, like Active Truck Parts, go as far as making a goal to get back to you within 60 minutes with availability and pricing.

5. Request photos when shopping:  Online marketplaces are helpful resources when it comes to buying used truck parts. Sites like truckpartsinventory.com give the customer the ability to look through multiple vendors’ inventories, including photos, prices, details, all at one time.  These sites are a great way to weigh all options quickly.  Many of the vendors posting on these sites will have photos for most of their parts.  If they don’t have photos, call and ask for them!  Photos can provide clarity concerning the part’s condition and in making sure its correct.  Be wary of online vendors not providing photos either on the website or when requested.

6. Knowledge and expertise of the parts specialists.  Do not be afraid to ask questions when buying used parts.  A great parts specialist will welcome them because they know communication is essential in find the right part.  Some questions might include:

  • How long was the truck part in use?
  • What vehicle was the part previously used on?
  • What is the part’s condition?
  • Is the part refurbished in any way?
  • Was the part installed on vehicles that were used for rough terrain, industrial work or long commutes?
  • How can we make sure it’s the correct part?
  • Is there anything I need to do before installing this part?

7. Large inventory:  The more trucks and parts the seller has in stock, the greater the chance they’ll have your part.  These facilities tend to be more organized by necessity, and will likely have a great deal of information and knowledge available within reach of their desks.

8. Look for a warranty:  You may want to look for parts that come with warranties.  These are usually short-term warranties, but they can provide some peace of mind and can give you time to make sure that the part works.  For example, a condition might be that the part must be professionally installed.  Make sure to read the warranty’s fine print!  Many times they’ll show up on the back or front of an invoice.

9. Speed.  It’s important to all parties that your truck is down for the least amount of time possible.  If you haul for a living, you know the cost of downtime can be substantial and painful.  That’s why finding and developing a relationship with a reliable seller for used truck parts is critical.  Their parts specialists should have the expertise to:

  • Know what is in their inventory
  • Get the right information from you, to make sure they get you the right part.
  • Find your part for you, if they don’t have it in stock.  Many yards have connections all around the country.
  • Provide you with shipping options.  This includes expedited options on ground carriers like UPS and FedEx, and Freight trucks as well.

You’re set!  With these tips you can now locate and buy the correct part, from a pro, in a timely manner, with a warranty, and get back to work!

–Written by Ryan Hochmiller, Manager, Active Truck Part, Inc.  “Active Truck Parts has 40 acres of trucks and parts, we’re a family owned company, and have been in business for over 40 years.  Our Parts Specialists and staff are well-trained in knowing how to ID your part, and get you the right one in a timely manner!”

8 thoughts on “9 Great Tips to Find Used Truck Parts Online!

  • March 22, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    I didn’t know that most truck parts had a tag number attached, but I can see how that would make buying new ones much easier. I imagine that in many cases you wouldn’t even need to find the exact part, as long as you could find one that said it was meant to replace the tag number for the original. An auto expert could be really helpful as well.

    • March 23, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Hi Luke,

      Thank you for your response. This article was written by the Manager of a company that uses our software, and he knows what he’s talking about. 🙂 I’m glad you read the article and found information in there that was new. That’s why we have the blog!

      Thanks again for reading, and for commenting, it’s always appreciated.

      Paula Wade,
      Content Writer

  • April 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I appreciate your tips for buying truck parts online. I like how you said to try and visit the seller’s physical location before buying. Calling would have to work for me, because I don’t think we live anywhere near a truck parts store!

  • August 11, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    My husband’s truck recently broke down and while we’re waiting for the money to fix it, I thought I would begin to try to find the parts we may need for it. So thank you for telling me that the best suppliers will have a larger inventory and will usually be more organized. I will definitely have to look for suppliers that have a lot of information at their disposal for next time, but we will probably have to get the parts for our truck at our local truck service this time since it is a little more convenient for us.

    • August 14, 2017 at 8:08 am

      Hi Ashley,

      Thank you for your comment, and I’m glad the article was able to help. I hope your husband is able to find what he needs, I know it can be a challenge sometimes. Our website is designed to help people find parts (https://truckpartsinventory.com/), and you can always look in your area (https://truckpartsinventory.com/proximity) if you want to give it a shot. Anyway, that’s just an attempt to help. 🙂

      Thank you again, and enjoy your day!

  • September 18, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I liked that you had mentioned when buying truck parts that it can be very important to look for warranties to give you some peace of mind knowing that the part will work. My brother in law drives a truck and recently he had broken down in my driveway and hasn’t really known how to get his truck home or to have it fixed. I might have to recommend that he finds the right truck part and when he starts looking, I’ll be making sure he gets one with a warranty.

  • November 8, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    I’m glad that there are websites out there that can provide more details about the truck you are looking to buy. I would definitely want to see multiple photos of the car to check for any damages. I’ll have to consider your tips if I ever buy a used truck.

  • March 7, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for pointing out that if you don’t know what exactly the part number is that you need, then you can take a picture of what you need. My truck needs to get a new belt, I think, but I don’t know where I can get one from. I’ll have to look around to find somewhere to get the parts I need.


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