What to Know When Buying Commercial Truck Parts

What to Know When Buying Commercial Truck Parts

If your commercial truck begins to show signs of poor performance, it could be time to invest in a replacement part. Regular maintenance and repairs are crucial for trucks to maintain efficiency. But selecting the right replacement part can be challenging if you've never had to before or don't know what part needs to be replaced.

Learn how to buy heavy-duty truck parts for replacements, from whether you should choose new or used options to common myths about truck parts.

How to Choose the Right Part for Your Truck

Most commercial trucks will need a replacement part at some point. Whether because of excess usage, regular wear, or an accident, you often need to find a new part to continue driving. You can find a wide range of both heavy-duty truck parts and commercial truck parts. But if you've never selected replacement parts, you might be unsure of where to start.

Choosing the right replacement component depends on your truck's features and your budget. Here are some factors to consider when you buy commercial truck parts:

  • Compatibility: The most important factor in your search for a new piece is compatibility. There are many manufacturers available all across the globe, and they all produce different part types. To get started with your search, research your truck's manufacturing specifics. You can look up what other part types or brands are compatible with your truck. When in doubt, you can always ask your supplier or parts provider for assistance.
  • Research: It's also a good idea to research various part types and brands. You can find out which nearby vendors supply high-quality parts and what options would suit your vehicle the best. Research is especially helpful when your truck breaks down or stops functioning correctly. You can learn whether the breakdown was caused by a part malfunction or a larger system failure. A mechanic or vehicle technician could help you find the root of the problem and the best heavy-duty truck parts for the solution.
  • Required maintenance: As you browse available parts, be sure to research the level of maintenance required. You want the parts to last as long as possible, so it's crucial to understand the nessecary maintenance they need to perform correctly. If the parts need significant maintenance, consider whether you can provide it.
  • New or used: Lastly, you can choose between new or used parts for your truck. Both options have pros and cons, so consider your needs and the state of your vehicle.

Commercial Truck Parts

Knowing which parts are the most important and what they do will make your search much easier. There are only a few differences between commercial trucks and semi-trucks in terms of the parts they use. There are many different parts for commercial trucks that you can choose from:

  • Engine: The engine is the heart of every vehicle. Being such an important part, you need to know exactly what to look for when getting a new one. Your engine needs to suit the needs of your truck. For example, a truck used for long-haul transportation will need a stronger engine than a truck that does local deliveries. The performance and power of your engine are determined by its torque, fuel efficiency, horsepower, and emissions. Make sure these factors will meet your needs.
  • Chassis: The framework supporting your truck's components is called the chassis. Your chassis needs to be strong enough to haul your desired payload capacity. You need to pay attention to the weight distribution, frame material, overall strength, and suspension system of a chassis. These four attributes will help you make the right choice.
  • Transmission: A truck's transmission moves the power from the engine to the wheels. Your transmission can be manual or automatic. You need to consider the power your transmission gives you as well as the ease of shifting, number of gears, and fuel efficiency. When you drive all day, these factors can make a really big difference.
  • Cargo area: You need to consider your cargo area when transporting goods. Take the loading capacity, dimensions, and accessibility into account to find the best option for you. Consider the features of your cargo area, like side doors, lift gates, and tie-down points.
  • Tires: Tires play a crucial role in the safety and performance of your truck. The tires you choose need to be well-suited for their intended use. Load rating, durability, and traction are the three main things to focus on when looking for the right tires. Depending on your route and the time of year you are driving in, you might need specialized tires like all-terrain and winter tires. If you need specialized tires, then the tread depth is another important aspect of a tire you must look into.
  • Braking system: Your truck's braking system needs to be efficient and reliable. Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) are vital safety features. The key attributes to look for in a braking system are stopping power, responsiveness, and maintenance requirements.
  • Cab: Safety and comfort should be the biggest priorities when looking for a new cab. Being the driver's compartment, a spacious and ergonomic design would be the best. It should have easy-to-reach controls, good visibility, and adjustable seats at the very least. Other useful features include air conditioning, storage space, and an audio system.


  • Safety features: The essential safety features your truck must have are seat belts, airbags, lane departure warnings, blind-spot monitoring, and collision mitigation systems. The more additional safety options you have, the better. These add-ons should improve your truck's driver and road safety.

The Difference Between New and Used Truck Parts

When buying commercial parts for your truck, one of the biggest considerations is deciding between new and used options. Both are strong choices for your truck, each with its pros and cons.

Here are some of their key differences:

  • Selection: You're sure to find a wide selection of both new and used truck parts. However, used parts often have a larger selection of replaceable parts. Most auto shops carry many types of used parts, ready for immediate purchase. You can find used parts for a wide range of truck models and needs.
  • Cost: One of the most notable differences is the price. Used parts are typically less expensive than new ones, making them a great option for those on a budget. The part's quality is usually the decisive factor.
  • Warranty: The vendor usually includes extended warranty coverage when you buy new truck parts. If the new part breaks, you may receive a new one at no extra cost. Used parts don't always include warranties. If they do, there could be limited warranties that only offer replacements within a certain time limit.
  • Life span: New parts usually last longer than used ones because you're getting them at the beginning of their life span.

Overall, the choice between new and used truck parts typically depends on your preferences and budget. A parts provider can guide you toward the right choice if you're not sure.

Common Myths About Truck Parts

You might run into a few misconceptions during your search for truck parts. It's important to differentiate between myths and the truth so you can make the best financial and practical decision.

These are some common myths to avoid:

  • It's easy to select parts on your own: It's tempting to try to find a replacement part entirely on your own, but everyone can benefit from extra advice. When you work with a supplier or trusted technician, you can ensure you'll pick the right part and prevent further complications. Technicians can offer advice about manufacturer options and help you find compatible selections for your truck. 
  • The more expensive, the better: Many people think an expensive part will always be the better option, but this isn't always true. A higher cost can indicate higher quality, but if the part isn't compatible or durable enough, the cost doesn't make a difference. In the same way, some drivers choose the cheapest option so they can get back on the road quicker. However, opting for the lowest quality option could force you to replace the part again in just months. Overall, quality and compatibility are key considerations.
  • All parts are the same: It's important to remember that no parts are the same. You might encounter two parts that have physical similarities but could have subtle differences in quality and compatibility. For instance, two parts with similar appearances might be separately intended for a pickup truck and a commercial truck. If you were seeking a part for your commercial truck and accidentally bought the one for a pickup, it wouldn't be compatible. Many truck operators seek custom-made parts to avoid these issues.

Shop for Truck Parts With Thompson Truck Source

Shop for Truck Parts With Thompson Truck Source

Finding the right replacement part is crucial for your truck's performance. If you're looking for commercial truck parts in Alabama or northwest Florida, consider Thompson Truck Source today.

At Thompson Truck Source, we understand the importance of high-quality replacements. We offer premier service and products, allowing your trucks to get back on the road faster. From quick maintenance to a complete system overhaul, we can help your truck stay in its best shape.

When you choose Thompson Truck Source, you receive benefits like:

  • Dedicated customer service: We commit to our customer service, helping you through the entire replacement process. We can help you diagnose your truck's issue and recommend the best replacement parts, answering every question along the way.
  • Wide selection of parts: From air conditioners to filters, Thompson Truck Source carries a wide range of replacement parts. Our high-quality parts come from leading manufacturers and can help you reduce costs and increase efficiency.
  • Expert technicians: Our team consists of expert technicians with many years of experience in the field. Their knowledge can help you make the best decision for your truck's replacement part.

If you're ready to get started with Thompson Truck Source and our semi-truck parts in Alabama and northwest Florida, contact us today.