We all want the best for our vehicles and that means we also want the best aftermarket auto body parts. Unfortunately, there can be many bumps along that road if you do not know how to go about looking for aftermarket parts. Everything from ending up with a part that is illegal in California, to getting a low-quality part that is non-functionable can happen if you do not find the right place to go to.
Like with anything else, knowledge is power, and you can avoid most hiccups along your journey to finding aftermarket auto parts. The following are 5 tips to find the best aftermarket auto body parts in Los Angeles:
1) Do Not Overlook Chain Retailers
For one reason or another, many of us tend to overlook big chain retailers. For many years when I thought about places like AutoZone, I only ever really considered it if I just needed something like new wiper blades or an air freshener. This type of thinking was counterproductive and only led to me wasting time and money. Of course, there are parts you may want to acquire from elsewhere, but many of these chain stores have a lot more to offer than we give them credit for.
We have no shortage of big box chain aftermarket parts providers and retailers in Los Angeles with some including Advanced Auto Parts, and AutoZone Auto Parts. It is easy to be surprised by the variety of parts available at these types of retailers, with Advanced Auto Parts even carrying turbochargers in areas where they are legal. NAPA Auto Parts is particularly useful when trying to find aftermarket parts for your vehicle. They are actually a retailers’ cooperative that distributes automotive replacement parts, accessories, and service items around the United States including California, not a retailer.
The best part about going to a big chain aftermarket parts retailer is that they have a name to represent and thoroughly vet the products that they sell, as well as having whole teams dedicated to reviewing laws to ensure the products that they sell are legal in each store’s jurisdiction. You are unlikely to be sold anything that is not street legal from AutoZone Auto Parts or receive an item that has been recalled or defective.
2) Buy Local
Buying locally has a lot of benefits on top of supporting local businesses. For one, many of the laws that dictate which aftermarket parts can be installed on vehicles that are driven on public roads also apply to those who sell the aftermarket parts. No smart business owner is going to risk the fines and legal consequences that go along with selling illegal aftermarket parts.
On the other hand, if you were going to buy from a shop outside of Los Angeles, or outside of California all together, you run the risk of being sold an aftermarket part that is not street legal for you yet completely legal for the retailer to sell you. The risk of getting in trouble themselves keeps many retailers honest. Even if there is no ill intent, it is unlikely anyone from outside of the area will know if there are any legal catback exhausts in Los Angeles and where to get them, and they could just simply make a mistake. When there are police tickets on the line and passing the smog checks, it is not worth the risk unless you have no other choice. Buy locally when at all possible.
3) Get Involved in Automotive Communities
In many instances, the best way to figure out where to get aftermarket auto body parts from is through talking to others who love cars just as much as you do. Just about every location across the globe has groups dedicated to vehicles, aftermarket parts, and customizations, and Los Angeles is not an exception. In fact, just about every make and model of vehicle have web forums devoted to them, often with threads for all major cities including Los Angeles. Talking to others in Los Angeles who are more knowledgeable than you about where to get a specific aftermarket part is often the best option.
Other ways to get involved in automotive communities includes going to events dedicated to cars such as the LA Auto Show. The Garage at the LA Auto Show is one of the things that everyone should know about the LA Auto Show 2021. The Garage is an area of this massive event that showcases every imaginable up and coming aftermarket service and part. Here, you will find many like-minded people with a wealth of knowledge that can point you in the right direction.
4) Explore the Internet
If all else fails, the internet likely can get you what you are looking for. With an incomprehensible amount of information stored on the internet, and an unimaginable number of products bought and sold per day through the web, it can be an enticing route to take. Keep in mind though that there is a lot of false information and bad parts found on the internet, so use it with great caution.
For example, someone in Utah selling an aftermarket part that they ended up not needing will likely not know what the new vehicle laws in California are in 2021, and depending on the site there may be no repercussions at all preventing them from scamming you. Be careful when using the internet, and only purchase from well-known retailer’s websites and other trustworthy sources.
5) Ask an Auto Shop You Trust
If you are not comfortable getting involved in the automotive community in Los Angeles and have no one else to ask, there is nothing wrong with asking an auto shop that you trust. Not only will they know the best legal exhaust modification in Los Angeles and where to get them, they will also be able to recommend or discourage aftermarket parts that are not in your best interest.
There are often no bigger car enthusiasts than those who dedicated their lives to working on other’s vehicles. Because of this, they would very likely have no problems answering if there are any cold air intakes legal in California or where to purchase XPEL paint protection film!