For both first-time and seasoned buyers, the world of heavy equipment aftermarket parts can be overwhelming. It’s not just about the wide range of parts manufacturers, dealers, and distributors but also that the same exact part is available from different sellers. This can make it difficult for equipment owners and fleet managers to determine which seller and part will be most appropriate.
Things are compounded further by myths that muddy the waters even further. By recognizing these myths from the get-go, you’ll have a better shot at making the right purchase decision.
Myth 1: All Aftermarket Parts Are Created Equal
Just because a part has the same external appearance as genuine aftermarket Caterpillar parts doesn’t necessarily mean it’s of the same quality. Satisfying the basics of functionality and fit cannot replace the rigorous engineering and testing that goes into manufacturing genuine parts.
Genuine aftermarket parts are components of a larger system engineered and designed to function seamlessly as a component of the whole. The part manufacturer has taken time to analyze the environment the part will operate in and, therefore, build it to these specifications. Their tolerance and mechanical properties set them apart from non-genuine parts.
Myth 2: After-Sales Support Isn’t Important
Some parts buyers see after-sales support as something necessary only when buying virtual products such as an IT system. In any case, they assume that since they are buying a replacement part, they already have all the knowledge needed to understand how it all works. But after-sales support is one of the distinguishing factors between mediocre and top-notch aftermarket parts suppliers.
After-sales support would cover warranty, documentation, technical support, operator training, and any product-specific elements. You’d do well to buy your heavy equipment aftermarket parts from dealers and distributors who have invested in marketing support, field support, training, engineering, research, and development.
Myth 3: Price is the Most Important Factor
No person or organization is endowed with unlimited finances, so the price is undoubtedly a factor when buying anything. However, ranking aftermarket parts suppliers by price alone is a potentially catastrophic mistake. The value of aftermarket parts comes primarily from their performance, durability, and availability.
Your goal is to get your equipment running again and extending its productivity. Choosing the cheapest part available in the market could be expensive in the long run. The result may be premature equipment failure, operator injury, and plenty of time spent on repairs. If you have to replace the part 4 or 5 times more often than you would a pricier alternative, you are not getting an optimal return on your investment.
Myth 4: The Name On the Package is Crucial
There’s no question that brand matters. Often the most respected brands have taken decades to establish their reputation. However, the brand name on the part you are buying is secondary to the dealer or distributor you are buying from. Given that not every aftermarket part available is of the same quality, it’s up to the dealer or distributor to do the verification legwork.
The buyer shouldn’t have to be the one checking the quality of the part, where it’s from, and everything else. A good dealer or distributor will use market feedback to know what parts are working and which ones aren’t so they can adjust their supply sources accordingly. Don’t fall for an attractive package emblazoned with a well-known brand. Buy from a dealer who has your back.
Don’t Fall for Myths. Do Your Homework
Understand what aftermarket parts are being installed in your equipment. Ask questions whenever you have doubts and suspicions about what is offered to you. Seek a second and third opinion if need be before you commit.