A Partzilla Guide to Buying OEM Parts & Partzilla Shipping Secrets

August 27, 2018 – Ordering OEM parts online can save you a ton of money, but since the parts are so make/model specific, there can be a bit of a science to the game. For instance, what do all those weird numbers and letters after your model number mean? How do you know if the cowl you’re ordering is the right color? What does that quantity field mean? Is quantity the number I need, or the number required for a rebuild?

In this article, Partzilla – a major online OEM parts retailer with over three million orders fulfilled – explains all so you can find what you need faster than your local dealer can say “plus tax and labor.”

Keep these pro tips from Partzilla in mind and your next online OEM parts order will be a breeze.

1. How to Select the Right Model When There Are Multiple Versions of Your Model Listed

When you’re ready to order your parts, the first thing you need to do is select the motorcycle you’d like to buy parts for. With Kawasaki, Suzuki and most brands, this process is pretty cut and dry. Select the year of your machine, and then select the model. For those manufacturers, you should see your exact model name listed on any OEM parts website. If you live in California, make sure you pick the California "C” model for evap and emission-friendly parts. For example, if you see the models CBR500R A and CBR500R AC, the extra C designates the California model. If you’re working on a Honda or Yamaha motorcycle, you may see multiple versions of your model listed with what seem to be random numbers and letters tacked onto the end. Here’s what you need to know to make the most educated decision about which model to select.

If You Are Buying OEM Parts for a Honda Motorcycle: 

This is what you need to know if you see several versions of your Honda motorcycle listed with extra letters and numbers, like this:  CBR1000RR 2A, CBR1000RR 3AC, CBR1000RR 6A, CBR1000RR 7AC.  

We already covered what the C means above (California-compliant model and parts). In a nutshell, the other numbers and letters are, for the most part, Honda’s way of oversharing. They designate starts and stops in production and minor modifications and tweaks that happen along the way. The production starts and stops don’t affect you or the parts in any way, and about 98% of the time the “minor modifications” don’t affect you or your parts, either. So which model do you choose? We recommend you choose the highest number listed. So, using the CBR1000RR models above as an example, choose CBR1000RR 7AC. The highest number in the series is the most recent modification and will have the most recent parts listed. 

If you want to make sure you’re buying the right part, write down the part number you see listed in the highest model number diagram (CBR1000RR 7AC in our example), then click back to check one or two other previous model variations (CBR1000RR 3AC, for example) to make sure the part number is the same.  If you see the exact same part number in more than one model listing, you can rest assured there were no changes to your part through production and the part you want is the right one regardless of which model you order from (CBR1000RR 7AC or CBR1000RR 3AC). If you see variation between two part numbers that means there was a modification made to that part sometime during production. Most of the time modifications within a model production series are benign and won’t affect how your part fits, but there is always that 1% chance that the brake cable was shortened an inch in the middle of production without any mention. If you’re not sure which part to buy, give customer service a call. Using the CBR1000RR as an example, the parts for the cam chain tensioner are the same on all models so you’re good to go there, but the part number changes for the fork assembly from CBR1000RR 3AC to CBR1000RR 7AC so you may want to talk to a technical representative before pulling the trigger on that fork assembly. 

Note that if you are ordering parts that need to be a specific color, please read tip #3 in this article. In the Honda category, there can be color variation between several versions of a model.  

If You Are Buying OEM Parts for a Yamaha Motorcycle: 

Shopping for Yamaha motorcycle parts, from time to time you will see a few variations of the same model listed, like this:  YZFR1 - YZFR1FCB, YZFR1 - YZFR1FCL, YZFR1 - YZFR1FCR, YZFR1 - YZFR1FR. You already know what the C means; if you live in California, make sure you choose the C model. Those one or two other letters tacked on to the very end designate color. So YZFR1 - YZFR1FCL is a different color than YZFR1 - YZFR1FCR. All of these models are mechanically exactly the same, and that extra color letter actually doesn’t matter at all for Yamaha since Yamaha displays all color options in their diagrams in instances where color matters. You can really pick any one of the model variations as long as you make sure you pick the C model if you live in California.

2. How to Determine Which Component Contains Your Part  

Once you have the right model pulled up, you’ll need to find the right diagram section to locate the parts you need. Most of the time, it’s pretty self-explanatory.  If you need a crankcase cover, you can find everything related to that part under the Crankcase Cover diagram.  Other parts can be a little trickier to find as they are sub-components to something else.  For instance, fuses could be under the Electrical diagram or under the Battery diagram. There will be some variations between manufacturers on how these parts are listed. The rule of thumb here is that you might have to click a few times to find what you need. Don’t throw in the towel if you click on the component where you think the wiring harness should be, and you don’t see it. If you need help finding the right component, pick up the phone to get a tech representative to help you.

3. How to Make Sure Your Parts are the Right Color

If you’re ordering a part that needs to be a specific color, you’ll see color options listed at the parts diagram level. For most manufacturers, including Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki, once you click on the component (fender or fuel tank, for instance), you will see the specific color of the part listed next to the part name. Yamaha will even show you multiple color options in some instances. This is pretty straightforward. If your bike is red, make sure your part says red. You wouldn’t believe how many people overlook this detail, and end up buying a black fender for a red bike.   

If you’re working on a Honda motorcycle, you’ll see TYPE 1, TYPE 2, TYPE 3 listed in parenthesis next to the part. That’s the way Honda lists color variations for OEM parts. If you need to order a part for your Honda motorcycle that is a specific color, you’re best off calling tech support for guidance.

4. How to Order the Right Quantity 

In the Quantity portion of each part number, there is a prefilled number. This number reflects how many pieces of this part number are used on the machine in total. For example, if you are looking at spark plugs for a CBR1000RR, the quantity field will have the number 4. There are 4 spark plugs used on this model, in total. Just because it says 4, doesn’t mean you need to order 4. If you only need 2, you can edit this field to order the quantity you need for your repair or service.

5. OEM Parts Have Special Return Policies. Know What You’re Buying 

It’s important to note that you cannot return an OEM part once it’s been installed, so make sure you are confident you have the right part before you try to perform the repair. Take the part out of the box, but DO NOT take it out of the bag. Look at your part through the packaging and compare the part you received to the part you are replacing. Is the brake cable you received about an inch shorter than the one you took off? This is a good sign it’s not the right part, and you need to call customer service. Save yourself some heartache by taking the time to look at your parts before you rip into them and throw a wrench on it.    

Note that electrical items can’t be returned once received no matter what. This is an industry standard, and you won’t find any part retailer that will let you return an OEM electrical item; it’s just too easy to invisibly destroy an electrical part.

If you aren’t sure what parts you need, call tech support before you place your order and ask for guidance to get the right OEM parts in your cart. 

BONUS TIP:  Partzilla Shipping Secrets

It is important when you are buying OEM parts online to set proper expectations for fulfillment time from the very beginning.  In other words, it’s not Amazon Prime.  Partzilla sells OEM parts for over 35,000 unique year/make/model vehicle combinations, which means we have millions of unique OEM parts for sale on our website. We are proud to stock over 100,000 unique SKUs at all times (more than anyone else in the industry), and we take care to make sure our in-stock inventory represents approximately 85% of all the parts our customers around the globe are looking for. Even with statistics like that, each part, down to washers and nuts and gaskets, is so specific to each model, there’s no way any online OEM parts retailer could ever stock every single part available.  

When you select a part that is not in stock, your OEM parts retailer needs to order that part on your behalf from the manufacturer (or from the middleman, if you are not buying from an authorized dealer). Once the manufacturer receives the order, the retailer must wait for Yamaha (or whomever the manufacturer is) to ship the part to the retailer before the part order can ship to the customer. Your local dealer has to go through the same process to get the specific OEM part you need.  

If your part shows a processing time, like “Ships in 1-2 days,” this means the part is not in stock and must be ordered from the manufacturer on your behalf.  On the other hand, if your part says “IN STOCK” that means the part is ready to be processed and shipped immediately. 

When you see “Ships in X days” this is what you need to understand: 

- If it doesn’t say “In Stock” that part is not in stock and needs to be ordered from the manufacturer.  

- The projected shipping date (“1-2 days”) is an estimate assuming the manufacturer has the part requested in stock.  

- There is no live system that tells any OEM provider what parts the manufacturer actually has in stock at any given moment. Every online OEM parts retailer is making an experienced, educated guess about how long it should take when they offer a date range for an out-of-stock part. A dealer can’t confirm what is in stock until the part is ordered through the manufacturer’s order processing system. 

- After your retailer orders your part from the manufacturer, the manufacturer provides an estimated ship date for that part. Sometimes the manufacturer will change this estimated arrival date several times. Every time the manufacturer pushes the ship date back, a notification is sent to the customer to let him or her know the estimated delivery date for the parts have changed. There is no way to see changes in ETA for out-of-stock parts in advance. 

- A backorder notice happens if the manufacturer finds the requested part is not in stock. The backorder notice will come with a date estimating when the part or parts should be available. Like any parts ETA from a manufacturer, sometimes the manufacturer changes this date. Sometimes the manufacturer doesn’t have a date so there is no estimate available for when we will be able to ship the part. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done to avoid this. 

- Until your retailer gets the parts in hand from the manufacturer, delivery time for out of stock parts will always be an estimate that is subject to change. 

- Your local dealer uses the same parts ordering system as your online OEM parts retailer, so ordering from a dealer won’t speed things up. They will find the same parts in stock or backordered.

If you order some parts that are in stock and some parts that are out of stock, the out of stock parts can hold up your entire order if you don’t call to request split shipping.

We hope we’ve been able to demystify the Partzilla shipping process and how OEM retailers work with manufacturers to get you the products you need as quickly as possible. 

ONE MORE BONUS TIP: Special Considerations for International Customers 

First, it’s important to make sure the website you’re shopping on ships OEM parts outside the USA. Partzilla is shipping OEM parts to 120+ countries worldwide, but many OEM parts retailers do not ship internationally.  

Second, if you’re having your parts shipped outside of the United States, here are a couple things you need to take into consideration: 

All packages leaving the United States need to go through customs. Once your package leaves our facility, we have no control over how long customers will hold your package. This can cause unavoidable delays.

Tracking packages once they leave the US is a little tricky. Once a package leaves the US, Partzilla loses track of a package temporarily, but we do get updates and a new tracking reference once the package hits the destination country’s postal service. This means the international tracking number received in the original confirmation email will stop working about midway through the transit process. To get an updated tracking number, international customers should email Partzilla customer service. We are happy to provide the new tracking number so international customers can see their package’s progress as it makes its way through the destination country. 

International customers are responsible for any additional duties, VAT or import taxes the destination country chooses to impose on the package. Most of the time these taxes and fees are included in the shipping, but sometimes items will get flagged coming into the country in question, and additional fees will need to be paid to your local postal service before you can pick up your order. This is simply the nature of the beast if you would like to have OEM parts shipped across the border. (Note that a retailer’s policies about VAT, duties and import taxes will likely be covered in their Terms of Service.)  

Some items, such as motor oil, cannot be shipped outside the US. Make sure to check the international shipping policies for your retailer. 

Pay Attention to Detail

Ordering your own OEM parts online can save you a ton of money, but it does take a good attention to detail to get the right parts in your cart. Be aware that there may be more than one version of your model listed and use the tips provided here to compare different model options instead of just choosing randomly. If you’re looking for a few replacement fuses and not doing an entire rebuild, make sure the quantity you’ve selected is the number you need, not the total number that will fit in that component. Pay attention to your retailer’s shipping policies before you place your order so you’re not surprised by a VAT tax or stuck with an unreturnable starter relay. And, lastly, don’t be that guy with a yellow bike who ends up with a black tank. If the part you’re ordering needs to match the paint color of your motorcycle, be sure you’re paying attention to the color of the part you’re buying. If you have questions, be sure to call customer service for technical help. 

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