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Advance,CARQUEST, NAPA and the rest: You need a wakeup call!

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Oddly coincidental, I was speaking to a customer of mine who happens to be a parts driver for NAPA. Out of curiosity I asked how many dealership accounts they had and he delivers to. Apparently as far as he has seen a lot of dealerships use aftermarket NAPA parts especially brakes. He also said they use the cheapest of the cheap brake parts. Go figure.

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We have been having the same issues on multiple make autos and trucks! I have found the groove on the rear rotors does not seem to be deep enough to accommodate the backing plate. We only buy premium rotors and still have this issue. After the 3rd DO OVER (waste of time trying to find issue) we now have to source from the OE. I have completely stopped using two well named aftermarkets, just because I cannot afford to keep doing the jobs over again!! Hope someone is reading this Forum..


Thanks Jim Quinn (JQ Auto)

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Thank you Joe,

Is there any bigger "bully pulpit" than this forum where we can voice our industry pain to actually get us heard?

I suspect that manufacturers are listening to the shareholders and the bean-counters but not us. It's the proverbial "Risk Management" that replaced all common sense in today's society imo. We all saw it started small with just a comeback here and there, then it kept increasing and became "industry standard". We complained and complained and kept buying parts, not like we have a choice right? I guarantee you, that every parts manufacturer has the exactly dialed number at what point they see customer (us) defection, how soon they get a replacement and what affect it has on the bottom line. How it effects our bottom line, safety and the well been of our customer is their least concern. Please let us know if you are aware of any trade publications or any other forums where we can voice our discontent with the industry and finally get through them. If they push us out of business, and they sure doing a good job at that, they will have only dealers to sell their crappy parts to.

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Sometimes there are no substitute for oem parts. Just last week I had a customer with a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500HD that complained about the front end wandering. After an inspection I found all ball joints worn out, front axle u-joints bad and a wheel bearing assembly loose. He said he just had all these parts replaced a year ago at another shop. During teardown I did confirm all these parts were replaced with sub par parts. I always use oem parts for u-joints and ball joints for heavy duty trucks. For some reason the oem parts just seem to last longer. The parts were twice the price of even the best aftermarketparts like Moog but I guarantee the customer won't need to rebuild the front end for quite sometime. I've seen cheap parts fail time and time again way before they should. Sometimes there are no substitute for oem parts.

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I appreciate all the posts from everyone, and keep them coming. Again, I want to emphasize, we should NOT make this an opportunity to bash any aftermarket parts company.  Our part suppliers do a great job everyday servicing us and for the most part help us thrive in this very tough marketplace.


I speak for many shop owners when I say we fear that the quality of parts is a big issue today. This dialogue is an effort to hopefully reach the right people and maybe we can start to solve this problem. I know it won't be easy, but someone must start.


This is an industry issue. And as I stated before, if the consumer perceives that aftermarket parts are not the same quality as OE, we are headed for trouble. The dealers will pounce on that perception and use that perception against us.


Lastly, we the shop owners need to be honest with ourselves too. Is part of the problem the fact that too often we ask for lower prices?   Has this gotten out of hand, and are we partly to blame?


If we are ever to solve this problem, we need to ask the tough questions for all invloved.

Awesome reply! As a nation our desire for cheaper has effected every aspect of daily life. Its almost as if most are preprogrammed to look for a lower price and complain if they cant find it. We've pushed the market to cheaper parts not because of our desire for higher margins so much as improving our customer relations. Im sure plenty of shops read the "three ways to improve gpm" and aggressively went for all three options. Raise prices, lower cogs and lower expenses. It sounds great but its not looking at the industry wide picture. Often I find myself telling the commercial pro at advance to not discount it more...he deserves a bonus for his hard work. I dont mind paying for quality support and parts and while the price can sting if its something like a come back, I try to avoid asking them to "help me out". We need to try this in every aspect of daily life in my opinion. Im so tired of every virtually everyone I see complaining about the price of virtually everything!

On another note I spoke with a 30 year veteran of a ford dealer today who is looking for a career change, and he says most of tge dealer market in this area is following. His main complaint? Poor quality parts, unrealistic labor times, vehicles which are of poor quality and difficult to diagnose. Is this where the quest for gpm landed them? Did they forget about their staff and the quality of service to lower prices and cost? If we focus to hard on profits its easy to loose sight of the fact our purpose is to serve our customers and correctly fix their vehicles! Maybe the same happened with the part manufacturers. Sorry for the ling off topic post lol


Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2



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      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
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      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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