Owner-operators and independent diesel mechanics need to have first hand knowledge of where to obtain parts for any make and model of truck. Time is money on the road, and having to wait because you can't find parts can be very detrimental to one's income, as well as business reputation. In this article we'll take a look at how to find and buy parts for Freightliner trucks.
Develop a list of reliable parts resources to ensure that you will have the best chance of finding Freightliner parts when you need them. Start by gathering a list of dealers within the states that you normally run. If you run the same routes consistently, you can narrow your list down further by eliminating dealerships outside your routes. Use the "Freightliner Dealers by State" link in the Resource section of this article to start. You can also search for parts in Canada and Mexico, if you commonly travel into these two countries.
Use the Freightliner Strategic Supplier list (see Resource section for link) to research other vendors who carry Freightliner parts. This list of suppliers is approved by Freightliner, and their relationship with each supplier ensures that you can get the best prices and timely service that you need when searching for parts during a breakdown.
Conduct a search for Freightliner parts, using your favorite search engine, if you cannot locate vendors or dealerships that are located within your lanes of travel. This method is less reliable, as vendors not strategically aligned with Freightliner are under no obligation to uphold the manufacturer's policies with regards to pricing, service and timely shipment of parts.
Create a spreadsheet or basic text document on your computer to store your list of parts suppliers, if you have a PC or laptop that you use while you are in transit. If you don't have PC access, make a printed copy that you can store with your other reference materials in your truck.
Search for salvaged Freightliner parts by calling truck salvage yards in your area or by visiting websites such as Heavy Truck Parts, which provide a database of salvage yards where one can locate used Freightliner parts. Utilizing salvage yards is best for situations that do not require immediate attention, as it is a time consuming process. Save this option for times when your truck is off the road for normal maintenance and down time.
Use the services of truck stops that you frequent. Flying J, Love's and independent truck stops can provide you with information about local vendors and repair shops that can assist you in getting your Freightliner parts. Travel Centers of America, LLC (TA) are partnered with Daimler Trucks North America LLC, Freightliner's parent company, to provide parts and service for Freightliner and other makes. Even if you do your own repairs, having access to a TA center can help you get parts faster than having to order and wait for shipment.
Carry a sufficient cash or credit cushion with you to cover the expense of purchasing parts. For owner-operators, having a line of credit through a lender can help cover maintenance and repair costs. Setting up an emergency savings account is another way that you can make sure you have the money needed when you break down.