Truck Parts Are in the Eye of the Beholder

In the performance parts industry, people tend to use the words parts and accessories interchangeably, while others see a difference. So what’s the difference, for example, between truck parts and truck accessories if many of them serve the same basic function? It depends on who you ask.

Because the words parts and accessories each encompass a large number of products that overlap and can therefore be categorized as either, people tend to the use the words interchangeably without any regard to the difference. In reality, when dealing with the performance parts industry, the word only overlaps in certain instances, and even then opinions will vary as to which factors apply. Truck parts and truck accessories each have their own list of included products, which ‘meet in the middle’ depending on their intended use, as well as their categorization as an OEM or aftermarket product.

A truck parts advisor for example, may tell you that a truck part has a more generic definition, and includes everything from repair, maintenance, and restoration, to interior and exterior enhancement. Such products may include oil filters, air filters, shocks, spoilers, or headlamps, as they in effect, are part of the truck. So long as they are the original part of the truck, or even a replacement or repair product, it can be described as a part whereas an aftermarket part created to enhance the vehicle after the initial purchase tends to fall into the accessory category.

In the meantime, the same parts advisor may tell you that the word accessory is synonymous with the word part when referring to a product in general, but the specific make and use of the product will determine which category it falls into.

Car covers, sun shields, make-specific paraphernalia and such products that serve mainly to enhance a car or truck (such as lift kits) would most likely be considered solely accessories. A sport utility rack could potentially fall into either.

Even oil filters, brake pads or rotors, or air filters could fall into either category. The standard, OEM version will typically be considered a truck part whereas a performance-based aftermarket version thereof will more likely be considered a Truck accessory (such as K&N oil filters, which take advantage of advanced filtration technology you won’t find in its standard OEM counterpart). A lift kit, which isn’t something that’s included with the truck but rather used as an enhancement will typically be classified as an accessory, though some will still call it a truck part.

The items that tend to be categorized specifically as accessories are aftermarket products made to enhance (whether it be performance or aesthetic). For example aftermarket air filters, high quality seat covers, and floor mats for trucks are typically considered truck accessories if they are not the original OEM part. The issue becomes even more clouded once you get into OEM-made accessories vs. aftermarket accessories or even aftermarket parts, but that’s a completely different article.

In the end, the difference between the two will always vary from person to person, even among truck enthusiasts and professionals within the repair or performance parts industry.

Truck Parts and Accessories

People who trucks know what workhorses such vehicles can be. Without trucks there would be no economy, no civilization and no advancements. It is really amazing how much of every person’s life is based on the transportation of goods. All the food found at grocery stores, all the furniture and appliances that we use everyday have all been transported on a truck at some point or another, which makes the reliability of these vehicles a huge factor in local and global economies. If every truck stopped functioning right now markets would slowly run out of food which would escalate into global crisis that could cause riots, even wars.

Trucks are built to be much stronger than regular vehicles. However, since they are used for work they see constant abuse. The measurement of a truck is based on the amount of abuse it and its parts can take before failure. One weak part can make an otherwise strong vehicle useless, which means the job cannot be finished. Regular maintenance can help a lot, it is especially good for recognizing problems before they get worse or completely fail. Among the first things to fail are rubber seals and gaskets which can lower the performance of your truck. These are easy to replace by a mechanic and many people can do it at home on their own.

Truck parts are easy to find for most models. The basic design of this vehicle option has not changed much since its first design. As a result, many parts are often interchangeable even though the outer appearance of the truck may have changed from model year to model year. Aftermarket parts are also very common, with exhausts, transmissions, superchargers, and many other additions to improve strength and performance. Grills and grill lights can protect the body of the truck, and provide additional light for the job site and any off road applications.

Depending on the type of truck that you have there are usually many certified mechanics that can work on its model. Remember also that the more you know about your own vehicle can also save on maintenance costs. Many parts, such as belts, fans and spark plugs can be easily changed by most people with very little training. Larger fixes, such as transmission work should be left to professionals because of the complexity of the mechanism and how integral the part is.

Simple things like keeping tire pressure correct as well as rotating the tires can increase the life of your truck and truck parts. Regular oil changes can be done at home in many cases, or can be completed by a professional while you wait. Another often overlooked regular maintenance is simply keeping the vehicle clean. Salt and other chemicals found in roads can ruin paint which protects the body from rust, but it can also get into key mechanical parts and corrode those even quicker because they are often not protected by paint. Once a piece begins rusting it is difficult to stop it from spreading to the rest of the car.

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