Auto parts numbering systems are complex and elaborate, and In almost all cases, car parts have numbers that are engraved or molded into the part. Slight modifications are often made from year to year, and although the part looks the same, it is only compatible with a specific year and model. Parts are assigned, in some cases, both letters and numbers according to their group. For example, transmissions, engines, trim, body, and electrical all have their own part-number standards.
Note the vehicle identification number. Car dealers store essential information about the vehicle according to this number. For example, mid-year production changes have dates associated with them. Vehicles produced prior to a mid-year change have different parts requirements than those that are produced after the date. Additionally, engine size, transmission type, brakes and tires, key codes, and other model information are related to the "VIN."
Examine the part for a part number. These numbers may be hidden under grease or oil, or degraded over time. Raised letters are easy to highlight with a marker to make them more legible. Usually the numbers are very small and hard to read, but a diligent search is worth the effort. At times, though, production numbers are on the part instead of an actual part number. These numbers have little or no value in normal parts identification.
Hand the part off to a professional parts store and be prepared to wait. In those rare instances when searching for an obscure part or hard-to-locate gasket or seal is frustrating, work with a reputable aftermarket parts company or authorized parts dealer that manufactured the car.
Knowing the number for an automobile component can be an immense help when you're trying to buy a replacement part. Having the specific number will simplify your search for a new part because you won't have to search all makes, models and years. This comes in especially handy if you are trying to find a somewhat uncommon part. Part numbers can be found by calling a dealership or on the internet. Call the local dealership for your make of car and request the service department. Many dealers also have a separate parts department. Give the department the basic information about your car. This means the year, make, model and trim level. All of this information can be found on the cover of your owner's manual, though trim level may be displayed on the rear end of your car. Request the number for the specific part you are looking for. Write down the number and save it for your parts search. Some larger auto parts supply stores have internal databases of parts numbers. Part numbers can be acquired from these stores in the same way as from dealerships.