Online Automotive Spares

The emergence of e-commerce has completely changed the way in which people buy automotive parts, amongst many other products and services. Traditionally, people would have to visit an auto parts shop with greasy walls and a pushy salesman thumbing through tattered printed catalogues trying to sell parts at prices as dubious as to their provenance. 

Thankfully, nowadays we have alternatives. We no longer need to drive far distances from spares shop to spares shop looking for parts. We can compare prices, find the products we need, pay for them, and have them delivered to our door all at the click of a button and from the comfort of our homes.

It is for this reason that the online automotive parts and accessories sales industry has skyrocketed over the past few years. Start My Car was one of the pioneers of online spares, and now has the largest range of vehicle spares and accessories in Africa.


Will It Fit My Vehicle?

Start My Car has always been ahead of the game, and we are continuously finding way to revolutionize the way car parts are sold in South Africa. Start MY Car has an extensive product range, but more importantly we place a huge emphasis on the user experience of our website, ensuring that you, our dear customers, can find your parts as quickly and easily as possible, while our custom software does the heavy lifting of enduring that the parts we display perfectly match your vehicle.

As such buying spare parts for your vehicle no longer needs to be a daunting experience, particularly if you’re new to buying parts online. The number one question asked is will this part fit? With our software and the tips provided below, the buying process doesn’t need to be an anxiety-ridden, sweat-inducing task.

Here's 8 of our top tips for buying spare parts online, and making sure that your spares fit your vehicle. No need to thank us!

1. Know your vehicle.

The simplest way to find the right spare parts for your vehicle is to know it’s make, model, year and series. Most spare part search systems ask for this information, so having it on hand can save a lot of time. This information can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.


If you know this info, you can simply go onto our homepage, select the Make, Model, Year and Variant fields from the dropdown and press “search”.


2. Know your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or Registration Number.

VIN and Registration numbers can tell you everything you need to know about your vehicle from the colour to the year it was manufactured. It’s like a secret code. If you can provide this number when searching or ordering from StartMyCar, we can see all the necessary info to ensure that the part will fit on your vehicle. You can also use our Number Plate or VIN search!

Every vehicle in the world has a VIN, and it’s composed of 17 characters made up of letters and numbers. It can be found either on the door post or in the corner of the dashboard where it meets the windscreen. It will also be written on your license disc.

Your registration number is simply your number plate. Both the VIN and the Numberplate lookups on our website query TransUnion to find your vehicle’s details. While not every vehicle is in the database, why not hop online and give it a spin?

3. Is your transmission automatic or manual?

It may seem like an obvious feature of your vehicle, but you’d be surprised how many parts depend on whether the car has an automatic or manual transmission. Radiators, CV joints and engine mounts just to name a few.


4. Is your vehicle high performance or special edition?

While your BMW 3-Series may look the same as every other BMW 3-Series out there on the road, keep in mind that vehicles usually come with a variety of options.

For example, a 3-Series optioned with the M-sport package is tuned for increased power and better handling. This vehicle will require different spare parts to a standard 3-Series, for example, a more powerful braking system, firmer shock absorbers etc.

5. Record the part number.

If you have bought spare parts in the past or are buying parts that require regular replacement (e.g., air or oil filters), it’s a good idea record the part number. Keep the box, take a pic of the label with your phone, write it down or save your order invoice.

If you need to reorder the part in the future, you’ll won’t have to spend valuable time searching for the part number.


Our part number search makes quick work of finding your part for you, as well as offering you a choice of alternatives.

7. Does the part look the same?

When ordering spare parts online, it’s always a great idea to use good-old common sense. Ask yourself does the part I’m ordering look the same as the part that is in my vehicle? On those parts where measurements are provided, it's easy to whip out a vernier and measure that the part in front of you matches those measurement displayed on the product.


8. What’s the difference between OEM, OE and After Market Parts?


Original Equipment Manufacturer Parts (OEM)

OEM replacement parts are purchased directly from the vehicle’s manufacturer such as Toyota, Nissan and Ford. Often more than one supplier is used to make the same part. These vehicle manufacturers branded parts come with a price tag and are generally more expensive than OE and aftermarket parts. 


Original Equipment Parts (OE)

There is normally confusion between OEM and OE parts. Original Equipment parts are from a company that design, manufacturer parts. For Example, Valeo may provide Nissan with their Clutch Kits. NGK Provide Toyota with Spark Plugs. KYB supply all new Honda’s with their shock absorbers. OE parts have the same quality of OEM parts but are more affordable as you’re not paying for a brand name.


Aftermarket Parts

An aftermarket part is any part for a vehicle that is not sourced from the car's maker. These parts designed to function the same but cost a fraction of the price. 

Not all aftermarket parts are created equal though. Quality varies greatly between aftermarket suppliers and the saying "you get what you pay for" rings true here. Some aftermarket parts are inferior because of the use of lower-quality materials. Stick with aftermarket brands you're familiar with or are recommended by a mechanic you trust, even if these parts cost a bit more. Simpler yet, shop on a reputable website like StartMyCar who only stock good quality aftermarket brands, and offer warranties on all pour products

As you may have seen on our website, we stock a vast range of products, and assign quality levels to each product, so you can make an informed choice about what you are buying.


Our quality levels are specified as follows:



The Manufacturer is a recognised O.E Supplier. Take for example KYB Shock Absorbers, which are fitted on 1 in every 4 new cars sold worldwide. On the cars on which they are fitted, they are the O.E.M. On other cars, despite not being the O.E.M, their shocks are built to the exact same standards and specifications as their O.E.M products. Thus, they are considered an A+ supplier



This is an Aftermarket part manufactured to O.E equivalent specifications. A good example is DOE Turbochargers which although not an O.E.M, meet all the requirements and specifications of the O.E.M product. In some cases, these parts are built in the same factories as the O.E.M products, much in the same way as certain pharmaceutical companies produce medicine and generics of that same medicine in the same factory.



These are economical replacement parts or aftermarket parts from our approved factories and suppliers. Each product conforms to the necessary regulator requirements. For example, all brake pads have to conform to the braking standard of the NCRS.


Having trouble finding the right spare part for your vehicle? Contact Us at Start My Car Parts and speak to one of our spare parts specialists.