The run's going well, until the truck starts overheating and you see clouds of white smoke coming from the radiator. You safely pull over and turn off the engine. “Just what I need today,” you say to yourself. It could be a failing water pump. You sigh and whip out your cell phone to order the truck part you need to get this show back on the road. (At least you have cell phone signal.)
You find the part you need on the truck part store’s website only to learn that it’s out of stock. “Great, I’ll just call I-70 East home,” you say out loud. Then, you remember to check the cross-references for the part, saving the day.
Since the start of COVID-19, trucking companies have been getting creative for how they source truck parts. The New York Post reported that some businesses were turning to websites like Craigslist and eBay to find parts while others scouted out junkyards. Like companies, the part shortages and changes in the industry have altered how customers find parts as well making cross references that much more important for customers.
What Are Truck Part Cross References?
Cross references, or part interchanges, are important to know about for any commercial vehicle driver. These allow truck owners to identify aftermarket truck parts that can be used as replacement parts. They share the same attributes as OE parts and are designed for specific vehicle types. If a customer is shopping online for a specific part, and they find that it is on backorder, he/she can use cross references to find the part that has the same shape, size, fit and function.
Using cross-references to find parts also can identify less-expensive options. By researching these like parts, customers will be able to find the part they need at the price point they want.
Customers may also discover a new brand they like. Some names are bigger than others; but does bigger mean better? Of course not. In fact, the lesser-known brands sometimes have better pricing to compete with the bigger name brands. Therefore, checking these brands could prove helpful in the long-haul.
How to Find Parts Cross References
While this process may vary from company to company (please refer to specific parts’ companies’ websites for their cross-reference processes), generally speaking, customers can see part interchanges using two methods.
The first is by using the search bar. When a customer enters in a part via name or SKU (a unique part number), the search results render a list of parts that share the same characteristics – or cross references. The customer can then click on the item they wish to view and purchase.
The second method is to view the footer of a product page. Going back to our previous example, if a customer discovers the part is out of stock, he/she can scroll down on the page to view a list of cross reference SKUs. The SKUs listed on the page match in features and will help customers research alternative parts to make the best buying decision for their needs.
While Interstate-70 East is lovely, there is no need to call the highway home. Instead of waiting for a truck part to come back in stock, search the cross references on a truck parts website to get back on the sroad.
About the Author:
Jennifer Smith is an e-commerce digital content specialist for JIT Truck Parts in Highland Park. This article was authored and edited according to HDT editorial standards and style to provide useful information to our readers. Opinions expressed may not reflect those of HDT.