Piston Slap: Finding Suzuki parts at the end of days?


Michael writes:

What do you do when there are no real dealers anymore? I bought a 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara (Premium, automatic transmission) but Suzuki has abandoned the U.S. [automotive] market. There’s no chance for a goodwill gesture like you previously mentioned.

At 77,500 miles my Grand Vitara needs a rear differential, and the part cannot be found. The last place I called was an old dealer which said none have been in the states for seven years … but the seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty just ran out two years ago?

It seems Suzuki has stopped making any parts for my car. The shop also looked for a used one, and there are none.

Sajeev answers: 

I’d like to think I know a thing or two about end-of-days, unobtainium parts hunting for vehicles that no longer have factory or aftermarket support. I wouldn’t be surprised if Suzuki shipped its cache of replacement warranty parts out of the U.S., as this was never a large market for its cars. Presumably, this allows the international markets to soak the parts into their inventory, where they are truly needed?

Facebook | Suzuki Grand Vitara Forever

That notion has merit, but the used differential quandary your mechanic experienced is perplexing. So let’s address this issue in a place-by-place analysis of where you need to look for Suzuki parts for the foreseeable future.

  1. Suzuki Auto has a website that shows there are still some dealerships around the country. I would call another dealer (dealers?) using this website and seek confirmation on the differential’s availability.
  2. Use the Row52 website (or app) to monitor when a comparable Grand Vitara lands in a junkyard across the nation … looks like there are a few good candidates on there right now! The problem will be finding a location close to you, or close to someone you trust to pull the part for you. This is when becoming an active member on Suzuki forums and Facebook groups becomes invaluable.
  3. Check with LKQ on a regular basis for the same reason as #2. It looks like they have a differential for a manual transmission example in stock! What are the odds you can use that one and your current differential to make one good part?
  4. Buy a differential from eBay. Used parts for globally-sourced vehicles are usually available there when searching internationally. Some vendors will work hard to ensure it will interchange with yours, all you need to do is find an auction and ask them for help.
  5. Differentials aside, RockAuto has a ton of relevant parts, and will likely be your go-to search destination in the future.

I admit that most of this information targets a long-term answer to your short-term question. I also know this is a metric ton of work just for one part: This is one of the main reasons why people prefer to buy new vehicles and let someone else deal with parts availability issues on a used vehicle.

For the differential, option #3 is the easiest answer, provided you can wait for LKQ to get the right spec of Grand Vitara in inventory. Or just buy whatever LKQ currently has and Frankenstein a good part from its part and what’s currently on your vehicle? Or maybe option #4 and hunt for a trustworthy vendor in a foreign land? What say you, Hagerty Community?

Have a question you’d like answered on Piston Slap? Send your queries to pistonslap@hagerty.com, and give us as much detail as possible so we can help! Keep in mind this is a weekly column; if you need an expedited answer, please tell me in your email.

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    hot rod it. Options:

    a) get a differential builder to rebuild it. It will be almost race spec and cost lots most likely.

    b) get a custom differential swapped in. They are made to order. Expect to pay premium as you will likely be the first Suzuki Grand Vitara application

    c) Domestic vehicle with same differential width. Parts of driveshaft likely need changed to do this. Welding of brackets required. Hubs likely won’t be same bolt pattern as original wheels… etc.

    Keeping original isn’t always possible (or desired). Keeping on the road can be more about $ and commitment than sanity.

    Car-part.com has several scattered across the country.
    Ask the yard to look it over for signs of leaking seals and anything else like play in the input.
    Change out the fluid and seals and you should be hood to go

    My only Suzuki experience was with my daughter’s stick-shift Samari. Runs fine but at 80,000 miles, she broke the FIREWALL! Yes- a stress crack started near one of the many piercings of the tinfoil firewall, and migrated down until attempting to push in the clutch-which I can do with my hand- causes so much flex the tranny can’t be shifted. A terrible looking bodge of 1/8″ sculptored sheet steel bolted & tack-welded works for now.

    Suzuki still makes parts, not available to get them at your country, just import from Europe or directly from Japan.

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