When your car breaks down and you need spare parts you have the option to buy either OEM or aftermarket parts. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturers. These are the companies that make the vehicles themselves. OEM parts are sourced by the same manufacturers as those of the original vehicle. Aftermarket parts, meanwhile, are made by third-party manufacturers.
Each car part comes with a part number. This number is essentially a unique identifier that helps mechanics, consumers and other part buyers, as well as car part sellers, to determine the specific part and find out the relevant information related to that part.
A specific part may only have been used in a small range of vehicles manufactured for a few months in a particular region. Other parts may have been used by multiple vehicle manufacturers for hundreds of models for years across many countries.
Finding out the information for a specific part can be difficult, but more difficult than this is actually using this information on a website. This data is often unstructured, a part may link to a vehicle, a submodel, engine or other vehicle details and it can be incredibly complicated to structure this data into a format that is usable for a consumer-facing website. This is where a global parts database comes in and is essential for any business selling auto parts to consumers online.
How a car parts database helps you find car parts easily
A car parts database functions as a central hub of data for a range of fitment and car parts information. The best type is accessed via an API which connects several databases together, providing quick access to a vast amount of data. With a car parts database, an ecommerce website selling car parts will be able to streamline their customers’ user experience. Here are a few ways in which car parts can help you navigate through a sea of data.
Consistent and standardised data structure
For many distributors, a constant struggle is dealing with part catalog data in different formats that have been set by the suppliers or manufacturers. Sometimes, it may not even be possible to get any data at all for a particular brand.
This is where it becomes extremely useful to hook into one centralised database which provides the data (i.e part numbers, interchange numbers, categories, and vehicle compatibility information) all in one consistent format. This allows you to avoid spending months formatting and cleaning all the different data sources.
Accurate and up-to-date fitment information
Using an API to access a parts database means that data is always up to date and easily editable. The advantages are obvious compared to a traditional method of having PDF catalogs.
Having API access also opens up a world of possibilities for software developers and engineers to build websites and applications that can access real-time and accurate data.
Eliminate or reduce information inconsistency
When using one centralised database - this means that you only need to pull your data from one location and don’t need to consolidate all the different data sources. If any mistakes exist in your catalogue, you only need to update this in one location as opposed to spending time dealing with multiple data sources to make an update.
Possibility of internal business integration
A car parts database is not just for the purpose of updating fitment data. It can also be used for other business purposes as well, helping improve the volume of sales in general.
For example, the marketing department could use the fitment data to guess which kinds of parts would fit the customers’ car and make recommendations that are even more relevant than ever. The sales department can also use the data to send better sales emails. The possibilities for car parts databases are limitless.
Better product information management
Managing an inventory with thousands of car parts is an administrative nightmare for most people. With a car parts database, it will be much easier to manage your inventory. The information for each product comes from one source, so you can easily sort them out by groups and categories without fearing for inconsistencies within the data.
A car parts database will also benefit the customers a great deal. Since all information comes from a single source, customers will not have to go through many different formats just for the purpose of seeking information.
Finding an OEM part number using a car parts database
A car parts database allows the customers to search for the parts more easily than the traditional method of going through the catalogue. Here are the main ways to do so.
By part number
If you already have the part number of the part you are looking for, simply enter the part number into the search bar, and the database will return to you all of the part information as well as the vehicle fitment data. In cases where there are aftermarket replacements for the part, alternative part numbers can be returned also.
By vehicle details
The other common method of searching a parts database is to start with the vehicle. Enter in the vehicle details such as the Make, the Model, the Chassis Number, the Engine and so on in order to view the parts that fit.
Different parts will fit according to different vehicle details. For example, brake pads will often fit all submodels for a Year, Make, Model combination whereas engine parts may differ depending on details such as the Engine size, the Engine code, while axle parts may be different depending on the Trim level, Body style and wheel base.
By name and brand
The final common way of searching a parts database is from a specific brand’s catalog and then narrowing down the results by part type. This will often return multiple part numbers in the results, but is useful in some use-cases.