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Buying parts online

I have a '97 Isuzu Rodeo that needs a new radiator. Would it be better to buy a radiator in town or order on online? And if online is ok, are there any reputable websites?

The only time I buy parts online is if the local suppliers can’t provide the parts I need. The reason is, if you get the wrong part, you have to pay the shipping to send it back.

If a local supplier can provide the part, go that route. Not only can you bring the part back if there’s a problem, but you also support your local businesses. And in todays economy, every little bit helps.


Maybe there is a shop in town that can recore the radiator. Shipping should be expensive on something heavy like a radiator. And if you take it to a shop, they will likely not want to install it.

I have a couple of older cars that need online parts purchasing, but I’ve nurtured a relationship with a couple of non chain auto shops who will match just about any part price + shipping I can prove. They’d rather do the business with reduced profit than not. Provided the local part is of good quality and known brand (i.e. not made by Hoochi Kabuchi Corp Taiwan, China) I’m good with it, never given me a problem to date.

  • having made that statement, the next part will prematurely fail of course.

With some online stores, you can return the product to their local store if there is an issue, so you don’t have to pay shipping again and wait for their processing. I have done this with both Kragen/advance auto and autozone. My reason for buying online was that the part was not a common one and was actually 20-30% cheaper online.

I see why you are asking. That is an expensive radiator. Dealer price is over $600.

I agree with the “support your local business” thought, and I have a local parts store that I love, but the cold economic fact is that with car parts, as is the case with electronics, it is a LOT cheaper to sell over the internet from a warehouse in Kansas or somewhere than it is to keep a store open in a major city.

There are many excellent on-line parts stores. I do all the work on my four old cars so I buy a LOT of BMW and Volvo parts. I almost never have any problems with wrong parts, and the good vendors correct their occasional errors at their expense. All you loose is time, but it so rarely happens that it is really not a consideration.

I didn’t intend to ‘plug’ a particular vendor, but I see that you specifically asked for suggestions. I buy from several on-line vendors and all are very good, but my first choice for price, speed, quality, accuracy, and easy-to-navigate website is Autohaus Arizona.