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How many of you guys and gals that wrench on you own vehicles, find it difficult to find parts when something needs repaired? It seems like every job I do on our daily's, takes a couple days to a couple weeks to complete due to not having readily available parts, and I have 4 auto parts stores in my little town. Maybe little town is the key here...

Keith
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The newest car I own is over 35 years old. No parts stores stock anything for vehicles that old. I just use RockAuto or Amazon or NAPAOnline (whichever is cheapest with delivery and tax) and the parts show up on my doorstep. I also keep a stock of critical spares (alternator and starter rebuild parts, for example, also oil filters) to minimize downtime.
 

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How many of you guys and gals that wrench on you own vehicles, find it difficult to find parts when something needs repaired? It seems like every job I do on our daily's, takes a couple days to a couple weeks to complete due to not having readily available parts, and I have 4 auto parts stores in my little town. Maybe little town is the key here...

Keith
MY local AutoZone or O'Reilly may stock the parts but they have to know what vehicle & specific year they are for which is a problem for my '18 &'32 street rods. Rock Auto solves that problem and to my door they are cheaper, sometimes a lot cheaper. Example: just got NGK spark plugs for my SBC at $1.74 each, $4.17 each at AutoZone. I do have a large NAPA warehouse which is my other go to.
 

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I simultaneously hate and love Rock Auto. It always has what I need at a decent price, then the shipping kills the savings and it takes up to a week to get stuff. If I order from Summit, it's on my doorstep the next day with free or really cheap shipping. Then if I have to warranty it, there is a gauntlet of questions that have to be answered correctly and I likely have to pay shipping again.

I actually tend to choose my daily driver partly based on parts availability. DD is currently an 06 Chevy van, so any parts store will have parts. My last DD was a 94 Mazda B4000 (ranger with mazda badges) and it was ok for some things, but good luck finding EGR parts which like to fail constantly.

I find that older cars (60s/70s) actually have pretty awesome parts availability... at least of the domestic (U.S.) sort. Seems like every FLAPS has alternators, water pumps, gaskets, etc. Those years were part of the big consolidation when car companies were making cars more like a different body on the same frame/chassis. The same alternator, thermostat gasket, wheel bearing, pinion seal, or PCV valve fits hundreds of different vehicles in that era.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The problem is when you want it fixed now. I guess those days are over. I don't have a lot of free time and I don't always know what parts I'm going to need. My hot rod, that's another story. I always know how its going to go. Can't be in a hurry working on hot rods.

Keith
 

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I at least for me just getting parts that are basic maintenance stuff like brake parts and some basic things like ignition related stuff and charging stuff, if a vehicle is even made around 2010 its hard to get parts in my area and they a lot of times can't get nothing in stock. My wife's Nissan suv which is a 2004, I have had to get stuff either from ebay or rock auto. Nobody else has stuff to get hardly for it. Before covid junk I did not have as hard of a time getting things but nowadays just even getting aftermarket stuff of certain things seems to either have a long waiting time or you can't get anything at all on certain parts.

I believe that there are sad times coming ahead and feel in due time even being able to buy aftermarket parts for hot rods will become a thing of the past if stuff keeps going the way it is.
 

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I have not had any problems getting parts at a local autozone. I was rebuilding a 1966 Ford rear axle assembly and was down to rebuilding the brakes, They actually had new brake wheel cylinders and brake shoes in stock. What issues I sometimes have, is that the counter person know nothing about cars or auto parts. They wouldn't know the difference between a lug nut or a con rod nut. Most of the time I look up the part I need on the website so that I actually have a part number before going to the store.
 

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That is how I do things, I write down the parts and they look it up and at times the person does not even know how to look up that part number to see if its in stock and ask the year and make of the vehicle etc. Its hard to tell them that its a custom vehicle and I can't give that info. There has been times because I have been there so much that I told them where to look up the part on there computer and what section its at and then pointed it out on the screen for them.

I think its not the persons fault itself but the corporation itself and feel they should have a teaching course on the basics section of an automobile and basic sections on parts and where basic parts fit at on there systems and how to look them up. They just take folks in who know nothing and there nothing wrong with that as you learn as you go along but they should have at least basic knowledge taught too you so you can perform you job better. When I used to work at my last retail job, I learned as much as I could beyond what was expected of me so I can better help customers and be a better more efficient employee and more productive and even learned others peoples job duties just so I can be of help when needed.
 

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I also have to think from a logistics standpoint. Newer cars have 10 times more physical parts in them. Back in the day you could keep 2 of nearly every part for every common car on your shelves. I would imagine now that you could only stock a tiny fraction of what is on the road these days.

Manufacturers also tend to hold on to rights longer. There for a while I almost always had to go to a dealer parts counter for VW stuff.
 

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Early 2000's I was building a 1962 Dodge Lancer with V8 , automatic , etc.. The area we lived in , only had an Auto Zone within 5 miles. I tried to buy 3/8 fuel hose , generic 3/8 fuel filter canister and 2 cheapy turbo mufflers. After I had told the "parts guy" about 3 times there was no application for a generic 3/8 inline fuel filter , the "manager" came over. The manager was helpful. The turbo mufflers were located and the store only stocked 1 muffler of each size 2" , 2 1/4 and 2 1/2 . I did not buy 1 muffler.

I went home and setup accounts at Jegs, Summit Racing and Speedway Motors. Online ordering was mostly new and developing as I recall. Not long after that I learned of Rock Auto. When Summit built the Sparks NV store , that really helped with delivery time for me.
 

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Yeah I had a similar experience last year when I went in to get some steel line at a Oreilly store and the guy at the counter said he did not know exactly what I was looking for and I just told him you guys sell steel line in certain lengths and he could not look it up and did not know about rubber fuel hose. So he took me back and said here is what we got and I started to look through the stuff and found the line I need and then the rubber fuel hose i needed.

I know its frustrating at times but I just work with them the best I can and do it with a smile and respect to them as they are at least trying and I am glad for the internet and ebay on rare things and am able to get stuff that I need but it sucks when its a emergency situation and you need something that day and it has to be ordered and takes a few days or a week to get it.
 

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To understand delays you need to understand how resellers work.

There is a part made in Mexico(1st reseller) that is then sold to a place in California. Re boxed/reworked by the (2nd reseller) with a "Made in America tag" especially if it is a "kit" and then sits until sold in there warehouse before being thrown into a Intermodal container that heads to the railyard in in Barstow, CA. That container stops at Memphis, TN terminal then makes it's way to Chicago, IL terminal. It is unloaded in Chicago and our (3rd reseller) may or not resticker it before it sits in there warehouse. Once sold it goes into a dry van truck headed for Summit Racing(4th reseller) in Tallmadge, OH. It gets unloaded at Summit racing and then sits in that warehouse until someone on Amazon(5th reseller) buys it then gets on a truck to go to a Amazon(6th stop) warehouse or a local Ups/Fed ex/Usps etc distribution hub(still 6th stop). Then it gets on the little truck that deliverers it on your front porch.

So we have 6 stops/warehouses and that is all over land. At each stop that product can get misplaced during receiving, picking, and shipping. The price often increases at each stop with the resellers always looking for ways to reduce cost and increase profit(like using rail). In the end a reseller wants to sell the product for a profit even though they often don't actually have the product in stock. They know they can order the product and have it that afternoon to go out that night(Chicago to summit) and "say" they have it in stock as it shows it is going out the same day. Or any of the above resellers may modify the product machining a spicier part into a "custom" yoke or make a "kit" by adding a few bolts, straps, and u joint along with the yoke.

Things take time and it is no secret that the end user ordering the thing off Amazon is willing to wait for that sexy free prime shipping(that is not always free),

Now some places like Rock Auto do an amazing job at being damn realistic with the shipping dates and shipping cost(which are higher as they are using less resellers and often need to transport via truck longer distances). If you order 5 things off rock auto they are going to tell you when you will get those 5 things and are very realistic about delays. Rock auto tells you when you will recieve that last product not the first product.

Then we have LMC truck. They use the sell it first methoud. They tell you when you will recieve the first product and that is the shipping date they list. So even though you ordered that break line, hose, calipers, and caliper clips for 4 items. You may get just the break hose the day you thought everything was showing up, a few days later you will get the second thing, and a week or two later get the final items. Now this is not LMC trucks issue they lied to you the final buyer because they were lied to themself by the previous reseller before them and the reseller before that reseller saying they had the thing on a shelf.

Due to an inventory error at one of the previous resellers or simply them knowing you expect LMC truck to do the thing where they ship you that first thing "on time" and final thing 2 weeks later. There are delays.

I am dealing this currently with a soft top. I had a nifty American company that said they had the finished product ready to ship with the manufacturing of the product "a few miles down the road". Right down the road turned out to be half way across the country. So what I thought would be 2 weeks of them pulling the thing off a shelf and shipping it turns out to be 8 weeks. 2 weeks to go in that 8 week period and frankly I think it will be closer to 9 weeks.

The soulution is simple. People that say they can delever when they deliver to me like Rock Auto I use. Places like LMC truck that will ship my order with only that first thing arriving on time I do not use.

As far as your parts stores(5th to 8th reseller) are concerned. If you actually call them up with their product number and ask them to get eyes on it. Most will actually confirm they have it in stock and hold the item for you till close(24hours in some cases).

This is something I should have done with the seller of my soft top who said they had the thing sitting on a shelf when in fact they did not and the thing needed to be made from scratch. If I confirmed it was actually in stock via a simple phone call I could have seen it was not in stock and bought the top through someone else having it installed 6-7 weeks earlier then it will actually be installed. In the end it is their fault but also partially my fault for not checking.

The best way to avoid delays is to avoid the resellers. That item that was at our second reseller who re stickered or re badged it. Well before they covered it up it probally had a sticker from Mexico and once it shows up at Summit it will get a new SUM number. If you can find that part number(sometimes it is cast in) you can order it directly from the place in California. Now the place in California is going to sell it to you higher then they will sell it to summit and your almost going to break even cost wise once you pay for the shipping from California. But what really matters here is your going from California to your door. The thing wont be recieved, put away, (potentially lost) picked, and shipped to one or two resellers before getting to your door it will go directly there.


Instead of taking 13 days it will take closer to 5 days in most cases. Oh and good chance because less hands are touching /putting that 1011335 part next to the 1001335 part you are less likely to receive the wrong part.

Now this requires more work on your part to find that part number at thet California reseller. Some part numbers can be found after a good amount of searching online to read a casting number. While others do a better job at hiding the part number and you may need the final product in your hand to get the part number for the next time you order it.

I don't blame the resellers here. If you can sell inventory for a profit without actually having inventory on a shelf requiring paying for warehouse space/workers then more power to you. They were lied to so they are lying to me potentially loosing a sale.
Just be realistic with the shipping times expecting delays from some resellers or you will have guys like me who have not ordered from LMC in over 6 years. I can often find the reseller before LMC truck or another place with the same part in stock to buy from receiving the parts actually on time.

Rock auto I will continue using adding to the magnetic "Built using rock auto parts" Car things on the side of my fridge well after both sides, the front, and maybe a few tool boxes are covered. Not because they are the cheapest. But because they deliver when they say they will.
 

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I just needed an alternator and power steering pump for my 2003 Toyota Tundra (4.7L V8... UZ engine). No local stores had the part, but I'm not to far away from Columbia SC (I checked stores in Batesburg-Leesville and Lexington SC first... I live between those two towns). B-L is rather small, but still has five parts stores -- Advance, AutoZone, O-Reillys, NAPA and CarQuest. Lexington is pretty large and has those plus one or two more. I checked for the parts on-line at Advance, AZ, and O'Reillys. None had the parts in local stores. The good thing about the on-line search is they will check other area stores. So I ended up driving 40 minutes to one of the Columbia Auto Zone locations that had both parts in stock, but only showed one each on-line. I called to verify they actually had them before I went -- sometimes the on-line inventory isn't right. Could have went without the groaning PS pump, but no alternator means no go! I just did make it home on battery alone. The computer comes in handy! I sometimes check Rock Auto, but I always check the local stores on-line also. As noted, sometimes with shipping you may as well pick it up local. If it's about the same )or RA is cheaper) and I'm not in a hurry having parts delivered to the door sure is convenient though!
 

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How many of you guys and gals that wrench on you own vehicles, find it difficult to find parts when something needs repaired? It seems like every job I do on our daily's, takes a couple days to a couple weeks to complete due to not having readily available parts, and I have 4 auto parts stores in my little town. Maybe little town is the key here...

Keith
Obviously.....every year that passes there is another model year of parts to keep in inventory and that is expensive. Like Steven Wright said, "You cant have everything, where ya gonna put it". All you can do is try to keep consumables handy. Even the common Motorcraft FL-1A filter is pricey when you can find it.
 

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How many of you guys and gals that wrench on you own vehicles, find it difficult to find parts when something needs repaired? It seems like every job I do on our daily's, takes a couple days to a couple weeks to complete due to not having readily available parts, and I have 4 auto parts stores in my little town. Maybe little town is the key here...

Keith
Size of the town has nothing to do with it at all. You could be falling over Parts Stores but they're not Parts Stores anymore.
When I first started years ago you had real Parts people behind the counter, knew cars and parts. Half the counter and below it were loaded with catalogs full of everything imaginable and full of their scribbled notes right behind them. This is made for that but will also fit this. They were a resource you could count on to get you out of a jamb or tell you who else had it.
They also had an inventory at their fingertips that they could work with. Hardware and misc. parts were kept in bins. Invite you back to gravel thru them to make something work.
Nowadays you have someone sitting there behind an almighty computer saying no I don't have it, that cars not listed or I don't show it, must be a Dealer item. But we have hand soap on sale.
 

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In my first two college years ('53-'54)I worked in an auto parts store mostly installing stuff and working the counter. The difference today is the catalogues were either by part manufacturers or by part name rather than by car which is the roadblock when trying to find parts for my street rods ('18 & '32) with parts from different cars and years. It is sad that sometimes I have to go to Home Depot or McMaster to find what used to be in a bin. Think of it, when was the last year cars used rubber fuel lines, no wonder it is harder to find.
 
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