Sourcing Spare Parts and Accessories for Imported Cars in Kenya: Tips and Trusted Suppliers

To keep your imported car in Kenya running smoothly and performing at its best for a long time, it’s important to find high-quality spare parts and accessories. However, it can be quite challenging to find the right car parts. Sometimes, the parts you need may be difficult to find, or you might come across fake spare parts and accessories that don’t work well. In your search for the right parts as a car owner, you might encounter some of these challenges that require assistance. Put an end to your worries! In this article, we offer helpful advice and cite credible suppliers to make it easier for car owners to handle the challenges of finding spare car parts.

Automotive spare parts market in Kenya

In Kenya, the automotive spare parts market is a significant one due to the large number of vehicles on the road, with around 80% of the vehicles being second-hand. As a result of this large fleet of vehicles, spare parts are in high demand to maintain and repair them. Kenya has a diverse market for automotive spare parts, catering to both new and used vehicles.

Key factors influencing the availability and variety of spare parts

The following factors influence the availability and variety of spare parts in the Kenyan market:

  1. Import Dependency:  As a result of Kenya’s dependence on imports for automotive spare parts, the availability and pricing of spare parts are subject to international trade dynamics and exchange rate fluctuations.
  2. Regulations and Standards: The Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Bureau of Standards enforce government regulations that ensure only genuine and quality spare parts enter the market. By adhering to these regulations, spare parts remain of high quality.
  3. Market Demand: Popular vehicle models have a wider range of spare parts available than less popular models due to the high demand.
  4. Distribution Networks: Having well-established distribution channels can ensure that spare parts reach consumers across Kenya promptly, as well as the efficiency of distribution networks.
  5. Counterfeit Parts: Having counterfeit or substandard spare parts on the market may affect consumer choices and trust in the quality of available products. Consumers may have difficulty distinguishing genuine parts from counterfeit parts.

Common challenges faced by car owners in sourcing parts locally

Car owners in Kenya often encounter several difficulties when obtaining automotive spare parts locally:

  1. Availability: Repairs and maintenance may be delayed if specific, rare, or specialized spare parts are not easily found in local markets.
  2. Authenticity: With fake spare parts on the market, it might be difficult to verify the authenticity and quality of spare parts. When buying replacement parts for their cars, owners should exercise caution to prevent utilizing substandard parts.
  3. Cost: The cost of genuine spare parts, especially for imported vehicles, can be relatively high due to import duties and taxes. This cost factor can influence car owners’ decisions when choosing between genuine and aftermarket parts.
  4. Variety: While popular vehicle models may have a wide variety of spare parts available, less common or older models may experience fewer options for replacement components.
  5. Distribution Challenges: In some cases, logistical issues or inefficiencies in distribution networks can lead to delays or difficulties in obtaining required spare parts promptly.
  6. Technical Expertise: Car owners who prefer DIY repairs may encounter challenges if they lack technical knowledge or access to professional guidance when obtaining and replacing spare parts.
  7. Compatibility: Ensuring that purchased spare parts are compatible with specific vehicle models can be a concern, particularly for older vehicles where part compatibility may be more complex.

How to Identify the Specific Parts Needed for an Imported Car

Identifying the specific parts you need for an imported car is one of the most important steps in making sure you get the right parts. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Understand Your Vehicle: Start by familiarizing yourself with your vehicle’s make, model, and year. This information is essential in narrowing down the parts that are compatible with your car.
  2. Consult the Car Manual: The car manual provided by the manufacturer contains detailed information about the various components of your vehicle. It can help you identify specific part numbers and descriptions.
  3. Utilize VIN Decoding: The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code assigned to each vehicle, which can provide valuable information about its manufacturing details, including the specific parts used in its assembly. You can use online VIN decoding tools provided by organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to decode your VIN and determine the original parts used in your car.
  4. Inspect the Existing Parts: If you are replacing a worn-out or damaged part, examining the existing component can give you clues about its specifications and help you find a suitable replacement.
  5. Seek Professional Assistance: If you are unsure about identifying the required parts, consulting with a mechanic or contacting authorized service centres for your vehicle brand can provide expert guidance on selecting the right components.

By following these steps, you can effectively identify the specific parts needed for an imported car and ensure that you purchase compatible and high-quality replacements.

2 1 - How to Source and Ship Vehicle Spare Parts from the UK

Tips for Verifying Authenticity and Quality of Parts:

Ensuring that you purchase genuine and high-quality parts is essential for maintaining the optimal performance and safety of your vehicle. Here are some tips for verifying the authenticity and quality of automotive parts:


  1. Purchase from Authorized Dealers: Buying parts from authorized dealerships or reputable suppliers ensures that you are getting genuine components manufactured by approved sources.
  2. Check Part Numbers: Compare part numbers provided by manufacturers with those on the components to verify their authenticity. Mismatched or altered part numbers may indicate counterfeit products.
  3. Inspect Packaging and Labels: Genuine parts often come in branded packaging with holographic labels or security features to prevent counterfeiting. Check for these indicators when purchasing parts.
  4. Look for Certifications: Genuine automotive parts may bear certifications or markings from regulatory bodies or industry standards organizations, indicating compliance with quality and safety requirements.
  5. Consider Price vs Quality: While lower prices may be tempting, excessively cheap parts could be counterfeit or of inferior quality. Balance cost considerations with ensuring authenticity and reliability.

Importing Spare Parts and Accessories

When importing spare parts and accessories into Kenya, there are specific processes and regulations that importers need to adhere to. The following overview outlines the key steps and considerations for importing parts into the country:

  1. Documentation Requirements: Importers must ensure they have all the necessary documentation in place before importing spare parts and accessories into Kenya. This includes:
    • the Import Declaration Forms (IDF),
    • a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) from the Pre-Shipment Verification of Conformity (PVoC) agent for regulated products,
    • an Import Standardization Mark (ISM) when applicable
    • Valid pro forma invoices from the exporting firm.
  1. Customs Clearance: To clear spare parts through customs in Kenya, importers are required to engage the services of a clearing agent who will process the import documentation electronically on the Simba 2005 system. The customs clearance process involves declaring the goods and paying any applicable duties and taxes.
  2. Duties and Taxes: Importers should be aware of the duty rates applicable to spare parts and accessories as per the East African Community (EAC) Common External Tariff. Effective November 7, 2019, the Import Declaration Fees (IDF) and Railway Development Levy (RDL) rates were increased, but preferential rates are available for approved manufacturers and importers under certain schemes.
  3. Pre-shipment Inspection: All exports destined for Kenya are subject to pre-shipment inspection through the PVoC program. This is a mandatory requirement to ensure that imported products meet Kenyan standards and regulations.
  4. Bulk Orders and Consolidating Shipments: Importers considering bulk orders or consolidating shipments of spare parts should plan accordingly to streamline the customs clearance process. Consolidating shipments can help reduce costs associated with individual imports.
  5. Special Considerations: For specific types of spare parts or accessories that may require additional permits or licenses due to health, environmental, or security concerns, importers must ensure compliance with relevant regulations.

Evaluate Supplier Reliability and Customer Reviews

When it comes to evaluating suppliers, one crucial aspect is assessing their reliability and reputation. This involves understanding how dependable a supplier is in terms of delivering products or services on time, meeting quality standards consistently, and being responsive to any issues or concerns that may arise during the business relationship.

Tips for engaging with suppliers, asking questions, and requesting product information

When interacting with suppliers to gather information and assess their suitability for your business needs:

  1. Clear Communication: Communicate your requirements, expectations, and any specific criteria you are looking for in a supplier.
  2. Ask Relevant Questions: Inquire about their processes, capabilities, quality control measures, lead times, pricing structures, and any other factors critical to your decision-making process.
  3. Request Samples or Demonstrations: Where applicable, request samples of products or demonstrations of services to evaluate firsthand.
  4. Seek References: Ask for references from other clients or businesses they have worked with to get additional insights into their performance.


Your vehicle’s durability, safety, and best performance can only be ensured if you find quality replacement spare parts and accessories. Putting all of these recommendations into practice will ensure a successful and smooth sourcing experience. It might take some time to find the right spare parts, but the effort is well worth it in the end. Contact  UK RoadRunner for further assistance if you are experiencing difficulty in finding the appropriate spare parts.

Read Also: The Right Shipping Methods for Vehicles from the UK

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