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Spare Parts

I am shipping a 2003 Pontiac Vibe with 140,000 miles to Europe. Car has been well maintained and is in excellent condition but I’m concerned about getting parts in Europe. What spare parts should I ship with the car–most likely to fail over time. The Vibe is a Toyota Matrix but the parts are not Toyota but are they interchangeable with Pontiac parts?

First, are you associated with the military or US government agency? If so, the AAFES garages can special order parts in most cases. Secondly, with the availability of ordering on line from the US, many parts that you can’t get in Europe can be mailed to you. The issue might be cost after customs/shipping if you aren’t eligible to use APO/FPO.
When I was stationed in Germany in the 70’s, I kept a water pump and alternator as spares for my oldest US car. That worked well since it would take a month to get item from the US to APOs in Germany. Also used JC Whitney and Sears (when Sears actually warehoused and shipped car parts) heavily. Last resort was my mother going to the dealer and shpping the item to me personally. Today, with the internet, your choices are far better, even if you can’t use the APO/FPO system.

I’m not in the military and the car will mostly be on an island in the Adriatic–there are mechanics around but even parts for common European cars may be difficult to get. Thinking maybe a water pump, fuel pump, alternator, head gaskets.


I believe you’re incorrect in regards to the Pontiac/Toyota parts. ALL the mechanical parts of a Vibe are interchangeable with the Matrix. Only some of the BODY parts (fenders, doors, emblems etc) are model speciffic.

A friend owns a 1996 Geo Prizm (a Toyota Corolla in different sheetmetal), and I do most of the repairs on it. When I shop for parts I call both the Toyota and the Chevrolet dealer, to see which has the cheaper part. So far, the Toyota dealer has gotten most of my business.

And to your question…I would not get any spares. As long as you’re current and by the book with your Owner’s Manual Maintenance Schedule, you’re good to go. At most, I would probably get with me 2-3 oil and air filters.
Are you following EXACTLY the Maintenance Schedule in the owner’s manual ?
Are you current with your timing belt changes?
Is this an Automatic? If yes, have you changed the fluid on it every 30-35k miles?

I agree with what the others said about this being mostly Toyota, but I’d also add that the days of parts being unavaliable are largely in the past. International shipping is so much cheaper and easier these days and with the internet you can shop for parts just like you were at home. It might take a few days to get there, but really if you can’t afford to be without your car for a few days, you probably ought to be driving something local anyways.

Are YOU paying for this?? It makes little sense. They sell some very nice cars in Europe. Take advantage of one of them…An island in the Adriatic? Perhaps a Lambretta or Vespa scooter will meet your needs.

I would simply ship the maintenance parts with it.

If you run into a problem there are rapid delivery solutions any where in the world. Expensive yes but likely significantly cheaper than buying a lot of parts and likely never using them.