How to Order Heavy Equipment Parts and Supplies

It is hoped the following will help save time and money. There is not always a substitute for experience and technical expertise, but some hints may help.


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    Refer to your manual. Note that there are many different types of heavy equipment, and many different manufacturers, but most, if not all, are provided with a basic service manual or owner's manual. Often this is the best place to start.
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    Identify the manufacturer and model number and year. Regardless of where you begin looking for parts, you will need to be able to identify the manufacturer, the model year, and the model number. Having the serial number can often be critical to assuring you get the correct part the first time. Usually the manufacturer's name is on the machine, as well as the model name, example: Case (manufacturer) 580K (model) Backhoe (type of equipment). The serial number is usually on a data plate affixed to the frame or on the cab. Armed with this minimum of information, you should be able to locate a dealer or find an online after market source for a service manual with a parts identification guide and break down. These type manuals contain a great deal of technical information, and usually cost between 50 and 100 dollars, but to identify the exact part it should be considered money well spent.
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    Find the supplier. When you identify the part name, and hopefully model number, a search of the phone book yellow pages, or an internet search engine should connect you with a supplier. From personal experience, manufacturer dealer outlets offer the most complete line of parts, but usually they are more expensive than "after market" replacement parts which often meet or exceed OEM (original equipment manufacturer) specifications.
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    Account for shipping costs. If you choose to deal with an internet supplier or catalog type sales business, always take shipping into consideration. A bulldozer muffler, hub assembly, or even battery can weigh over one hundred pounds, so shipping can actually run the price up and make local dealer parts a better bargain.
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    Check more than one source, and look for special offers and deals. Scheduled service parts such as lubricants, filters, and other parts may be offered at discounts in quantity, and shipping costs are often waived on large enough orders.
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    Maintain sufficient records. If a particular bearing or belt wears out and has to be replaced, write down the part number, price, and installation date, in the event it breaks again, and particularly during the warranty period.


  • Consider having certain jobs done locally at service shops. Usually a hydraulic cylinder can be repacked or repaired as good as new for less than the cost of shipping a new OEM unit. The same often goes for starter motors and alternators, even clutches and some other drive train components can be rebuilt at local shops.
  • Have as much information as you can before going online or to the telephone. Nothing is less fun than going out to locate an additional piece of information, such as a serial number of an after market attachment, after you are connected with a prospective source.
  • Be prepared for "sticker shock"..heavy equipment parts carry a heavy price tag. A car air filter may cost 15 bucks at a discount store, a Caterpillar air filter may cost over one hundred dollars.
  • Ask about warranties on the product. Consider if a few more dollars is worth the peace of mind knowing the seller stands behind the product.
  • Be as sure as you can be that the part you order is the part you need, replacing a charging system component will not cure a bad battery, and changing a 2000 dollar fuel injector won't fix a stopped up fuel filter.


  • Buying a used part is often a shot in the dark. Used parts that cannot be adequately tested are a gamble with labor of installation only to find they do not work. Many used parts dealers offer no guarantee on the products they sell.
  • While many aftermarket parts meet OEM specifications, not all parts are created equal. Some parts have questionable fit and finish, heat treating, or tolerances and may not only not last as long as OEM parts, but may actually cause damage to other components.
  • If your product has any warranty remaining, be careful installing aftermarket parts. They may void the warranty. The same can be true for non-OEM oils.

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Categories: Purchasing