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There comes a time when you need to purchase Toyota RAV4 parts, whether it’s because something broke or you want to add more functionality. The trouble with ordering parts is that you could be led astray. As a mechanic, I have seen many people order a part only to discover that it’s not what they thought.
In this guide, we help you find the best place to order RAV4 parts, whether you want OEM or aftermarket. We also show you where to find out what parts you need and how to have them installed.
Whether the RAV4’s “maintenance required” message appeared or you start to feel a transmission jerk you may begin worrying and wondering what part you may need to fix the problem. Or maybe you just want to upgrade and add a modification to your RAV4 like a roof rack.
Either way, you will probably need to buy and research parts for your RAV4 and you may be wondering where the best place to do so is. In this guide, we offer an extensive selection of places to buy in-store and online and give a detailed breakdown of each.
Best Places to Buy
To determine where to buy Toyota RAV4 parts, we must first figure out what type of parts you are looking for, whether OEM or aftermarket. It’s also vital to consider if you want to purchase Toyota parts online or in-store.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are made by the automaker. These parts are designed to work with the RAV4 just as they would from the factory. The dealership will almost always recommend replacing parts with OEM options when available.
Here are a few pros and cons to consider about OEM parts.
- Guaranteed compatibility with your vehicle because it’s the same part Toyota uses
- Often more reliable than aftermarket parts
- High-quality construction
- Warranty usually included
- Cost more than most aftermarket parts
- Difficult to get on older vehicles
- Subject to low stock or special orders
1. Toyota Parts Center Online
This online parts center gives you access to genuine Toyota parts and accessories meant to fit your vehicle. Search easily for the parts by your RAV4 model year, driveline, and trim level.
Because this is Toyota’s parts center, you know that all of the components are OEM, coming straight from the factory. These are the same parts that were originally installed on your RAV4.
Through this avenue, you can often find parts that are cheaper than if you order them through your local dealership, but they are still going to be more expensive than most aftermarket parts.
Here’s what a few users think of purchasing through Toyota Parts Center Online.
A Reddit poster, user Shanester951 says, “The best prices though is to go online and use the part number to search, then find www.toyota.parts.com, and search the local dealers. Usually, the prices are pretty low. I price match quite a bit to dealers usually selling them for 10-20% above cost, which is better than most [of the] employees’ cost.”
In another Reddit post, user daidai1414 says, “Sometimes it takes a while for the online dealer tool (including the official Toyota parts site) to load the latest model year. I feel like they’ve lagged a bit, even for ’22. Your best bet is contacting a dealer parts dept. directly or accessing a repair manual if there’s a part you can’t find.”
Overall, user reviews seem positive, but there have been some issues with using the website.
2. Local Toyota Dealership
Visit your local Toyota dealership or order online if the location has that capability. You still get OEM parts this way, but it gives you a local option. If you are already out and about, it’s simple to pick up the parts during your travels.
Most dealerships are extremely helpful in figuring out what part you need if you aren’t sure. Call the parts department and tell them what you’re looking for to get guidance. There’s also a chat option on many dealer websites if you prefer that route. If you need the part installed, you can schedule service at the same time.
Keep in mind that this will likely be your most expensive option. As a mechanic, I always recommend going with the dealer if the part is essential to normal operation. For example, if you are looking to have a critical engine part installed, you can’t go wrong with an OEM part put on by a Toyota dealership.
Let’s see what one online user thinks about this option.
On Toyota Nation Forum, user Joncogar posted, “I buy OEM Toyota on the Toyota website and pay at the website and have it shipped to my local dealer. This usually is a discount over dealer listing, no shipping [charges] and one or two day delivery. Works for me.”
3. OEM Genuine Parts
This online parts platform also sells OEM Toyota parts and accessories. The site is owned by Revolution Parts but is connected with Certified Toyota dealerships nationwide, bringing together the Parts Departments to offer OEM parts for all Toyota models.
Easily search the online platform by RAV4 model year, trim level, or punch in the VIN for better customization. According to the website, some parts are 35% off MSRP, so it’s smart to explore your options.
The only disadvantage seem to be waiting for shipping, which is a pain if you need the part right away and the part may not be in stock at the time of the order. If you aren’t in a hurry, the savings may be worth the small hassle.
While there aren’t many reviews online specifically for buying Toyota parts, many consumers recommend this website for other cars. We suggest giving it a look to see how much you can save.
On the aftermarket front, you have even more options available. However, with that availability also comes the need for discernment. Here are some pros and cons of buying aftermarket Toyota parts.
- Usually less expensive than OEM
- More availability and options
- Can be purchased at most auto parts stores (online and in-person)
- Quality varies by brand
- Not always a warranty offered
RockAuto contains a massive inventory of parts. While some OEM parts are available, the site mainly focuses on aftermarket equipment. More than 300 manufacturers supply parts that ship to you for warehouse prices.
While the website is dated, it’s still easy to use. There are also some warranties available, so be sure to search the products carefully. You should see some of the top brands offered, such as Bosch, Bilstein, and more.
On Quora, one user posted, “I have used them for parts for years. Even my mechanics have been getting their parts from them. I see RockAuto boxes and magnets [at] every shop I go into lately. Good selection of parts at decent prices.
That user goes on to say, “Everyone makes mistakes in shipping the wrong part every now and then (mismarked inventory, stock guy put part in wrong bin, etc.) This has happened to me ONLY ONE TIME in the last 21 years I have used them. No Problem, they sent out the correct part and I returned the wrong one at their expense.”
Another user posted on Reddit saying, “Rock Auto is literally the best and cheapest place to get parts. Have been using them a long time and highly recommend.”
The majority of reviews found online are positive, so it’s worth trying if you want an aftermarket part. Our content director, Jonathan, has used RockAuto before and had a great experience.
Amazon is a giant online platform that sells everything from toys to groceries. That’s why it should also be considered when looking for OEM or aftermarket Toyota parts.
The huge selection makes it a top choice if you have trouble finding a part. There are also third-party sellers allowed to list items, which offers more of a selection. If you have a Prime membership, you are also entitled to free shipping on qualified items.
If you purchase car parts on this platform, be sure to read reviews carefully. If you don’t buy from a trusted source, you may be disappointed, and there may be no way to get your money back.
Here are a few other opinions to consider.
User imothers on Reddit posted, “Amazon is OK, but you have to do your own homework to know if the part is right for your car on not. The site has some ability to say if it will fit or not, but this is not their main area of expertise. Also, you pretty much have to know the part number to find anything.”
Another Reddit thread shows user PlungedUnicycle saying, ” Don’t buy any car parts on Amazon. Lots of fakes and cheap junk. If you’re not experienced buying parts I would [use] rockauto.com…for a fair price.”
Personally, I use Amazon a lot to buy auto parts that I need, but extensive research is needed. I have to ensure I order the correct part number and get it from a reliable seller. For that reason, it’s not always the best option for novices.
At eBay, you can also find a little bit of everything, including aftermarket Toyota parts. This large online community offers one of the largest selections available. You can even find used parts at a fraction of the cost.
However, you run into the same risks as you do buying from sellers on Amazon. If the seller isn’t legit, you may not get the right part or one at all.
Reddit user BlackholeZ32 posted, “eBay can be a good place to find parts, but as several people have mentioned, you have to know what you are looking for.”
If you do your homework, you may find a great bargain on eBay that is worth your effort to take the risk.
If you aren’t in a hurry, buying auto parts online can offer a lot of convenience. It’s easy to compare prices without making any phone calls. Plus, you can see customer reviews. You also gain access to a large inventory of parts, both OEM and aftermarket.
However, you need to think about the potential for counterfeit items and the shipping time involved.
Let’s look at a few of the best places to purchase auto parts online.
1. Toyota Parts Center Online
As discussed earlier, this online Toyota auto parts retailer supplies OEM components directly from the manufacturer. You don’t have to worry about the quality you receive, as you know it will be a compatible fit.
RockAuto continues to be one of the most recommended online retailers for auto parts. The website is clunky, but a little effort allows you to find a huge selection of parts. Read above if you are looking for more information about this site.
This online platform provides new car parts and accessories. It’s easy to search the website to find the Toyota parts you need. Prices are usually much lower than those at the dealership.
Carparts also offers the option to add installation with a local service center. Most of the parts also come with a warranty, but you need to wait for shipping, which can take a little longer.
On a Reddit forum, THEDOPEWRAPPER posted, “Can confirm this site is LEGIT. My buddy re-did his whole front end thanks to them. I’m planning on doing the same. Priced out everything at $304.56 with shipping and handling.”
On the same thread, Jenson1997 posted an opposite review saying, “Just had a ‘guaranteed to fit’ window switch. She didn’t come close to fitting.”
It seems reviews flow one way or the other. It’s worth checking out if you are willing to take the gamble.
If you need a part immediately or want to talk to someone in person, your best option is to buy parts in-store. You support local businesses, and you don’t need to worry about shipping. You also get to look at the part.
The trouble is that inventories are often limited, and comparing prices between physical retailers is difficult.
1. Local Toyota Dealership
We briefly touched on this option earlier, showing you that the local dealership is a good fit if you need an OEM part and you want it to be right. You can also have the service center install it for you. However, you must expect to pay a little more than you would at other locations.
2. Auto Parts Stores
Most communities have an auto parts store, whether it is an AutoZone, Advance Auto, NAPA, or O’Reilly. Nearly all common parts can be found in stock, especially for routine maintenance. If the parts aren’t in stock, the store clerk can order them for you. Many locations also price-match other stores.
3. Scrap Yards
The final option is to go to a scrap yard. You can find cheap used parts this way, but you may have to remove them yourself. Also, there’s often no guarantee that some parts will work, so you take a gamble.
Finding Parts Diagrams
It’s not always easy figuring out what parts need to be ordered. That’s where a parts diagram comes in handy. A parts diagram is a pictorial image that shows you where each part is located. You can find these diagrams for every major car system.
Occasionally, you can find diagrams at autoparts.toyota.com to reference. There’s also the option to use Partsouq.com. However, we usually recommend investing in a factory service manual if you plan to do a lot of your own work or call the parts department at your local dealership to have them look at the diagram for you. Many parts associates will reference the part number you need if you ask them.
Getting Parts Installed
You have several options to choose from when it’s time to install the parts. Let’s look at three choices you can make while also evaluating the pros and cons of each.
Taking your RAV4 to the dealership is the best option if you want the vehicle worked on by certified technicians. These mechanics have been specially trained to work on Toyota vehicles. Plus, they warranty their work, and most parts used are OEM.
You will need an appointment for more service jobs, and it could take some time before they return the vehicle to you. Additionally, this is one of the most expensive ways to get work done on your RAV4.
While your local mechanic may have some credentials, they aren’t probably trained specifically on Toyota vehicles. Yet, many of them are just as equipped to handle the repairs. Scheduling tends to be less cumbersome, and you may start to establish a working relationship with your mechanic.
While you save money using local mechanics, many of the parts used are aftermarket. Some mechanics will use OEM if requested, so that’s an option.
If you are mechanically inclined, you can do your own work and skip the labor charge. With online resources and YouTube, it’s easier than ever to work on your RAV4. Plus, you save a lot of time because you don’t need to schedule an appointment.
We only caution against this avenue if you aren’t sure what you are doing. Small mistakes can lead to costly, time-consuming repairs.
Frequently Asked Questions
RAV4 Parts Purchasing Made Easy
With so many options available, it’s simple to get exactly what you want. Whether you are looking for new Toyota RAV4 parts or you are comfortable using pre-owned equipment, the internet provides a wealth of information for you to consider.
If you aren’t sure what you are doing, it’s always best to default to the dealership. Otherwise, get out there and start investigating other options to see if you can score a better deal.