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Why do I get asked for my VIN or production year when I am trying to buy parts for my car?

If you have tried to buy auto parts for your vehicle recently you may have come across an oxygen sensor, radio, wheel hub or another part that has (From MM/YY) or (To MM/YY) in the product description. This is called a production split. It means that sometime during the year that your car was made, the manufacturer decided to change one or more of the parts that were being installed in that model. For example, not all 1999 Ford F-350 Super Duty Trucks have the same Wheel Hubs, some have coarse threads and others have finer threads and the only way to distinguish between the two without taking the hubs off the truck is to know the month and year the truck was made.

The manufacturer might have done this because they were having problems with a particular part or maybe they found it significantly cheaper from a different distributor. Either way, what it means for you as the owner of that vehicle is that you can’t just give your Year/Make/Model and expect to always get the correct parts for your vehicle. You must first attain the production date of your vehicle. This information is usually located on a tag on the frame of the driver side door. Open up your driver side door and scan the frame below the latch, and you will see a metal tag imprinted with all sorts of information about your car. Your production date will be clearly posted on that tag. Write down that information before you call in and ask about parts for your car, it will make the process much quicker and easier!

Similarly, if you are looking for parts for your vehicle and you see something like (From A032109) or (To A032109) in the product description, those numbers are referring to your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) also known as the Chassis ID. As with a production split, a VIN-split means that the manufacturer decided to change something about the way your car was being made within a particular production year. So, if you tried to buy control arms for your 2000 Mercedes Benz E320, and you didn’t know your VIN, it is possible that you could order the wrong ones because past a certain VIN number Mercedes decided to use a different set of control arms.

It is best to always have your VIN handy when you are looking for parts. You can generally find your VIN number on any paperwork associated with your vehicle. The best places to look are your title, registration, or insurance card.

If you take the proper steps to get all the information about your vehicle before you make your purchase you will end up with the correct parts for your car every time. Always double check to make sure there isn’t a production split or VIN-split before you complete your order because it can save you time, money, and energy. That is what we are all about—making it EASY for you to Buy Auto Parts.

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