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AutoZone Moves Around the Corner from me

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Requests for you to install customer supplied parts will increase. Your parts prices and labor estimates will be compared from the information from the parts stores. The parts stores will even steer repair requests to shops.


It pays for all of us to be nice to the parts suppliers in our area.. B)

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The Autozone here is about 2 miles from my shop and are great to deal with. The store manager is one of the nicest men I have met and has given me banners to hang up in the shop, parts lists, stops by weekly to give me the store specials, refers me customers etc...


In my area Autozone is also the only game in town that will pay you the labor when you have to warranty out a part. They also have changed many of their parts brands to improve quality on alternators, starters, brake pads etc...

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I have an Oreilly's and Advance within a mile of the shop. The vast majority of the parts come from Oreillys. In fact, I am probably the biggest account in our town that Oreilly's has (pretty proud of that fact for being one of the youngest shops in the town). The guys at oreilly's send me a lot of business and a take every opportunity to return the favor.

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So who are these stores catering to? I can’t believe that there are that many Do it Yourselfers in the area. But I could be wrong.

Let's see, they aggressively market the free check engine light "diagnosis" (we all know that routine, diagnosis by shotgun). They have the "Loan a tool" program and now I see they offer free online repair information. So they sell the parts, loan the tools and provide the repair info for free. They are actively and aggressively working to eliminate the DFM profession, competent repair shops.


I had a customer with a 3.1L Grand Am set an appointment for an oxygen sensor because, "That's what the code said it needed." What code? "The code they read at the parts store." What code? "I don't remember, they said needed an oxygen sensor." So I started it up to pull it into the shop. It started HARD, blew black smoke and stumbled and misfired. I grabbed the scanner and checked data, O2 stuck above 950 mv, fuel trim -30, code was P0172 Fuel System Too Rich, well DUH! I asked him if he wanted me to put the O2 sensor in, or if he wanted me to fix the problem. He opted to let a professional actually diagnose and fix the car. So I put a fuel pressure regulator on the car, test drove it and verified the O2 switched fast and full scale and fuel trim was within -5 to 5. But they told him it needed an oxygen sensor.


My biggest problem with AZ is that if I were to buy a Duralast part I don't know whose part is in the box. Sure you cna say that about NAPA, CarQuest, etc. but if I order an ignition control module and it's a Wells product that may not even make it out of the driveway, or a wheel bearing that may be a Timken and will outlast the OE, how do you know? You don't know. And as long as it is a private label you don't know if they changed suppliers. And with their claim to fame being cheap, what is the incentive to keep the good part after they build their aftermarket professional customer base? I looked up a clutch for a Honda Prelude, there were two listed, one was $99.99, and the other was $199.99, both were Duralast and both offered 12 month warranty. What's the diff? I've also looked up parts and had AZ be more than the two "professional" parts store I primarily deal with. Example, Specta Premium radiator, I don't remember the specific vehicle. My cost from AZ was almost the list price from NAPA for the exact same part number.


As for Advance Auto Parts, no thank you. Shortly after I first opened I used them because of their lifetime parts warranty, trying to provide value to my customers. First failure was on a V-6 Mustang, I did four wheel brakes, pads, rotors and calipers. The new set of semi-met pads on the front wore a groove in the rotor, like an old LP record, and caused a horrible squealing noise. I was paid $25.00 to diagnose and replace the faulty brake pads AND the damaged rotor. The following year, same car rear axle, one of the brake pads delaminated and lost the friction material. The other three pads were at 90% or better and I was told that it must have been a defect with something else in the brakes. The whole set up was new the previous year from AAP! No warranty. No thank you. The last straw was an '03 Trailblazer alternator. 27 days after install the truck comes back on the hook, not charging, alternator is bad. So I got to test the system, replace the alternator again and pay the tow bill, for what, .5 hr at $25.00/hr. No thank you, NEVER again.

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