Whether you are an owner-operator or fleet technician, heavy duty truck parts are on your mind. You’ve been wondering whether you should go OEM or aftermarket, or perhaps if one spec is better than another.
The fact is, there is a lot more to consider than just the part. Today, we will dive into all of the different facets of deciding on your next heavy duty truck part. First, let’s take a look at the truck itself.
How Old Is Your Truck?
While the age of the vehicle should not be the sole determinant in figuring out what part you are going to use, it is an important factor. More often than not, fleet managers try to get the most uptime at the lowest price – of course, with the least of amount of risk and a maximum amount of safety.
Truck life cycle is important mainly for value reasons. First or second replacements should be of a higher quality, since you are working with a newer truck that needs to stay optimized. As the vehicle ages, however, the owner may want to dial down to a lower price point.
What do you plan to do with your vehicle once you are ready to dispose of it? That will also play a role in deciding what parts you go with. If you are replacing a part in the 47th month, the part you choose will probably rely more on who you are selling the vehicle to than anything else.
If slapping a low-grade brake shoe is what will get it out the door to a less discerning buyer, there’s nothing wrong with going with a lower quality part. Just remember, you never want to compromise safety, no matter how less discerning your buyer is.
Does Brand Name Matter?
In all reality, who you are buying the part from is more important than the name that is on the box. Generally, it is up to the dealer or distributor to be up-to-date on where the parts come from, if they are current and what their quality is. Once it reaches the technician’s hand, that should already have been worked out.
Still, if you do recognize a brand name, there is nothing wrong with going with it. Just remember that even big brand name companies can put the wrong part in a box. This is also why it is up to the distributor to have that figured out ahead of time.
The moral of the story? Though branded parts are great, and generally are held to a higher standard, don’t be fooled by a good-looking box and a fancy name. Always check inside the box for correct type and quality level.
Can You Source Your Own Parts?
For many a fleet manager, the internet has opened a brave new world of heavy duty truck part sourcing and upfitting. Still, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just go online and order a random part from a foreign country and expect a plug-and-play experience. Never safe a dollar at the expense of your safety.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. Just make sure to do a great deal of research and always try to go with someone you have worked with in the past. Someone you can trust.
Since it isn’t up to the fleet manager to know what is being shipped in, you have to have confidence in the guy selling it to you.
Rebuilt or Re-manufactured?
You may have heard one of the two terms. The fact is, there is a difference between the two. When a part is re manufactured, it is taken apart and each component is inspected individually. If improvements can be made, beyond just fixing damage, they will be. When it is rebuilt, only a certain piece of it may have been inspected or fixed.
With re-manufacturing, you are actually increasing the quality of the part, rather than just replacing a damaged component. Depending on the application, investing in a re manufactured part is not a bad option.
So next time you are out looking for your next heavy duty truck part, make sure you take more than just the part into consideration. From cost to safety, there’s a lot to think about.