Cooley On Cars
Tips on searching for obsolete car partsCooley shares some tried and true methods for finding hard-to-find car parts.
First one comes in from Hamoud A. who says, Like you, I love old cars. Currently I own a Mazda 929, a 78 with a 2 liter straight four. It has been a great car for years but I have been struggling with parts. It was only sold in Europe and Asia and I can't even find documentation for parts numbers. And this one comes in on the same note from Raphael M. in the Dominican Republic. He says, I recently bought a '07 Isuzu D-Max diesel from Thailand and was wondering if there's a site where I can get parts? Getting parts and accessories has been a pain. Yeah, I imagine there might be a problem there. A Japanese truck for the Thai market that ends up in the Dominican Republic and now, years later, you're trying to get parts for it. You are asking for some trouble there but I think I can help you out, Raphael. First thing you need is to get a factory parts book, the best way to search for parts. Is by the factory part number. You can use a verbal description and that might get you somewhere. But the common language between buyers and sellers is gonna be that part number that is the exact reference. So you could look for that as in old paper book that you might find on eBay. An old dealer book, basically. Or you might find this thing on microfiche. And then buy a cheap microfiche reader on eBay. The next thing you want to look into is understand interchange Just because you have a given model of car, doesn't mean it doesn't share a ton of parts with other models of roughly the same year and of course of the same make. There are interchange manuals for some cars, now obviously for more popular Fords, Mustangs and Thunderbirds. But look around, you might find some interchange listings here and there that tell you what parts for your car were common on other cars. Of the same make in around the same era. That can be useful for mechanical stuff, not so likely for sheet metal and trim. Find the active forums for your kind of car, at least your make and era of car. Now that's where your gonna find a lot of people that are really smart about this and have already done the hard work to say, hey, so and so sells this kind of part For our cars and maybe isn't very good at advertising the fact, so that's critical. And another one is don't just check Ebay but check all the Ebays. Once you have your part numbers, see step number one. Start searching that part number on Ebay but not just the U.S. Ebay. Check eBay in the country where your car was made. Check eBay in a few other countries around the world. For the Fiat here, I've often found parts on eBay's Italian site obviously. But even more so, on eBay's Netherlands site. Because there's a couple of vendors in that market that have a lot of Fiat 850 parts. So you gotta look around globally. Not every part filters into the US eBay interface and that could be gold for you.