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car parts - headlights, doors, windows, mirrors, tiresCar newbies usually find out pretty quickly what the rest of us have already learned from long, hard experience. Most of it can be summed up in two words — auto parts.

Auto parts are big business, with huge profits made each year by car manufacturers and suppliers. The demand, of course, is constantly fueled by new or used car owners looking to replace simple things... a busted radiator hose, worn windshield wipers, a broken headlight or alternator.

Therefore, a word to the wise. Before buying a new car, keep in mind the hidden expense of auto parts. Many car buyers don't see it coming, especially when buying an older model used car.

Talk to any number of auto parts dealers and they'll tell you that the ease of obtaining a part all comes down to one simple rule — how profitable it may be to keep on the shelves. From the dealers point of view, unprofitable parts are "slow movers" that fit older cars no longer in demand or unpopular models that rarely sold even when new.

On the flip side, foreign car parts can be easy to find, but notoriously expensive. The initial cost of a foreign model offering better gas mileage may be attractive, but replacing an auto part can run twice or even three times the price of comparable domestic parts.

Add to that the 21st century dilemma of counterfeit auto parts of questionable quality (yes, from China) and shopping around for the best auto part becomes a question of not only cost, but safety.

Around the Web, it can be as simple as searching by make or model number at reputable comparison shopping sites. Most of the major online auto parts stores offer a searchable database, or at least a browseable gallery that helps the visual-minded easily find the part they need.

Many of the top sites will also offer easy returns if you're not happy with your purchase, as well as free shipping depending on the amount of your order.

also see-> Car Repair & Maintenance Tips | DIY Car Ground Effects | How to Replace an Air Filter

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Auto parts reviews and resources around the Web:

Below, get a jump-start on finding cheaper auto parts at online comparison sites, with star-rated reviews by real customers. as well as DIY tips from the experts and how to get the best auto parts for the money....


1A Auto Parts - For the sheer amount of details, this site should win some kind of award for "most informative" store online. Shop by make or model number, read customer reviews, or browse the most popular parts by category including exhaust manifolds, window regulators, auto carpet, grilles, side view mirrors ... and their hottest item: headlights. - Boasting the biggest auto parts price comparison shopping site on the Net, with thousands of parts and accessories searchable by year, make, part number.

Frugal Mechanic - More price comparisons on hundreds of auto parts by year, make or model. Also check out the money saving discount coupons and promo codes from major online retailers. - Hard to Find Auto Parts & Truck Parts - Discount auto parts with no muss, no fuss home page directory. Browse the illustrated menu and find great savings on hubcaps, taillights, radiators, electrical parts, wheels, fenders, mirrors, or that hard-to-find engine part.

Pros and Cons of Buying Used Car Parts - Check out tips and advice on where and when it's ok to fix your car with a used part, and when to avoid it at all costs.

The Truth About Cars - Maintenance/Repair - This informative, entertaining blog has been around for years providing a good read on the latest products including auto parts and accessories, new and used cars, and more.

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