Truck and bus parts are absolutely crucial to a well-functioning fleet. Keeping your vehicles in the best of working conditions is one of the top concerns for anyone managing a school bus fleet, and acquiring quality parts is a huge step toward making that happen. 

We’re here to make sure you can do that. We’ll go over the various aspects of finding school bus parts that you need to be mindful of during the process of getting a bus repaired. It’s a pretty much inevitable situation that no one wants to be in. So, arming yourself with as much information as possible can help make that process a little less stressful.

Then, we’ll take you through a few of the more common repairs and frequently necessary school bus parts out there. We’ll wrap up with a brief description of what we here at Central States Bus can do for you in terms of midwest bus parts. By the end, you should have everything you need to make sure you get the right parts at the right price the first time.

Things to look for

Here, we’re outlining a few of the things you should be looking for when shopping for school bus parts. If you’re an experienced mechanic, then you probably won’t have anything to learn here. However, if you’re another stakeholder looking for insight into the school bus parts market, then this is the post for you.

We’re listing out all the different factors you should take into consideration when you need to purchase truck and bus parts. From the organization selling you the part to how fast the part gets to you, we’ve got all aspects of the process laid out for you. Let’s jump in.

Reputable Seller

Trusting your truck and bus parts supplier is of paramount importance. You need to know that you’re getting quality parts that will hold up over many hours on the road. And especially if you’re less knowledgeable about school bus parts yourself, you’ll want to feel secure that the parts seller is telling you the truth about which options are the best for your fleet.

You can read reviews online and ask around for recommendations (and you can always start right here at Central States, of course). Definitely take any one-off negative reviews with a grain of salt (they do let just anybody leave them, after all). But if you see and hear multiple bad things about a specific midwest bus parts supplier, think twice before ordering from them.

Part of making sure your truck and bus parts seller is reputable is being able to trust their recommendations and expertise. If you ask for a certain kind of part, they should be able to honor that request or clearly explain to you why a different option would fit your needs better. They should really know their stuff. 

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

You probably already understand what an OEM is, but if this is your first time buying truck and bus parts for your fleet, it’s worth a quick refresher.

An OEM is a company that makes parts for a product sold by another company. We’ll focus on their role in the truck and bus parts industry, but know that this term is used in a variety of industries. When we’re talking specifically about buying replacement truck and bus parts, OEM parts are those that the original manufacturer made. The only difference between them and “genuine” parts is that they won’t have the other company’s logo on them. 

The third type of truck and bus parts you might find are aftermarket parts. When a third company, not the company that sold the bus or the OEM, buys the rights to make parts for that vehicle, the parts they manufacture are considered aftermarket parts. 

All three different kinds of parts can be a good choice; they just fill different needs. OEM parts tend to be more expensive than their aftermarket counterparts due to that reliability — you know it matches the old part exactly. Most of the time, those OEM parts will also come with a warranty, which you usually won’t get with an aftermarket alternative.

Central States supplies school bus parts both from OEMs and from non-OEM sources, depending on what your organization requires. 


When you’re looking for replacement school bus parts for your district’s fleet, keeping the costs reasonable is going to be top of mind. 

Here at Central States, we run monthly truck and bus parts specials to help you save money where it counts. We also offer bulk quantity discounts on select parts. Our goal is to help you get the right part at the right price the first time.

Like we discussed earlier, some parts come with warranties while others don’t. This will affect the price. As with most things, simply opting for the cheaper option isn’t always the best policy — lots of times, you get what you pay for.

Speed of Service

Time is of the essence when you’ve got buses out of commission. You don’t want your fleet to be held up waiting for truck and bus parts. When you choose Central States as your supplier of school bus parts, you’ll be up and running in a reasonable time frame. 

There are always going to be timing factors that are out of your control, of course, and some parts are a little trickier to come by than others. However, between our five warehouses, Central States keeps a wide variety of school bus parts on hand to supply to fleets. We’ll get you what you need as soon as we can.

Common Truck and Bus Part Needs

Now that you know what to look for when you’re dealing with a seller of truck and bus parts, let’s delve a little deeper into what you might need when you reach out to them. Of course, your specific needs will be much more specialized than the general problems we’ll outline, but they can still be a good place to start.


The brakes on any school bus see a lot of wear and tear over time, and it’s definitely a good idea to have them regularly inspected and serviced. After a while, though, they might need to be replaced, even if you’ve been looking after them well.

There are two kinds of breaks, air breaks and hydraulic models. The kind of maintenance and school bus parts required will obviously vary depending on what kind of brake system your bus has.


A major safety component, making sure school bus lights are visible is an important job for anyone managing a fleet. Brightness, connections, and wiring should all be checked with some regularity. And if there’s a problem, ordering midwest bus parts might be the only way to go.

School bus lights are especially important for early mornings and any after school activity services in the winter when it gets dark early. If you’re experiencing issues with lights in your fleet during that time of year, it’s extra important to get it fixed as quickly as possible. 


The last things you want for your school bus fleet are safety and compliance issues. As such, you need to keep horns in proper working order. They need to be loud enough that they can alert everyone in the area to a potential dangerous situation.

Some buses even have two horns. These are truck and bus parts that are typically fairly easy to swap out, and they’re not going to cause anyone to get stranded on the side of the road if they’re not in perfect condition. They’re still important, though. Make sure they’re loud and noticeable.


The exact laws and regulations governing the kinds of signs school buses need to have varies from state to state. Nevertheless, many of them are required to have certain signs visible. If one of them gets damaged or starts to fade with time, you’ll need a new one quickly. They’re important safety features that might be easy to forget about amidst all the functional school bus parts you need to keep track of.


When school buses sit unused over the summer, their batteries can start to lose charge and build up lead sulfate crystals. The battery is one of the most important school bus parts to regularly check, especially after a long period of inactivity.

If regular maintenance doesn’t do the trick, it’s time for a new battery.

Sometimes a dead battery is actually a symptom of a bigger issue, which leads us to the next common midwest bus part that often needs to be replaced…


A school bus’s alternator goes through a lot. It’s expected to perform under difficult conditions for long periods of time. So, it’s one of the important truck and bus parts to keep on top of. If your battery goes dead, that might be caused by alternator issues. The battery can sometimes try to work harder to compensate for an alternator not operating at its full capacity. 

Other signs that you need an alternator is if the battery light is showing, or if the interior lights don’t stay at full brightness like they should. If any of these signs are apparent in your fleet, you should definitely have the buses checked thoroughly by an expert. And if they determine you need a new part, take that next step.

Fire Extinguishers

In order to be compliant with national guidelines, all school buses need to have a fire extinguisher mounted near the driver’s seat. There also needs to be a sign making it clear where you can find the fire extinguisher in the case of an emergency. 

Drivers check these school bus parts every day before their route, and extinguishers need monthly inspections, annual maintenance, and periodic hydrostatic tests. Once an extinguisher no longer passes, it should be replaced. It could be a matter of life and death.

Much of the other safety equipment inside school buses falls into a similar category. They might not be part of the bus itself, but they’re super important additions.


Sometimes, the wheels on the bus are only inspected insofar as the tire pressure is checked. There’s a lot more to making sure they’re functioning properly, though. If there are vibrations or sounds coming from the wheels, there could be something wrong with the wheel hub. That’s one example of a school bus part that might need to be replaced. 

All aspects of the wheels are greatly important to the proper functioning of the bus. They’re definitely not something to be ignored. So, keep up with their inspections, maintenance, and cleaning, and if you need a replacement part, order it as soon as you can.

More than just replacements

Getting the right truck and bus parts is a lot more than just replacing parts that fail. Take school bus parts, for example. You can add on other features that the bus doesn’t come standard with. 

There are different video monitoring systems that you can use to upgrade your fleet, or you might want to add safety restraints. These different components you can add on after you purchase a bus can make the driver’s job easier, enhance the students’ experience, and increase the safety factor for everyone involved, depending on what kind of school bus parts you choose to upgrade your bus with.

Find the right truck and bus parts.

This process might seem a little daunting, but the school bus parts experts here at Central States Bus are happy to walk you through it. We have five whole warehouses where we house parts, so we’re often able to get you what you need in a timely fashion.

As a parting note on the importance of truck and bus parts, it is worth noting that lots of the issues we’ve discussed in this piece are preventable if you have your fleet regularly inspected and maintained.

We’d love to talk about what your fleet needs in terms of truck and bus parts. Just reach out to start that conversation.