High prices at local parts stores

Does anyone else see a developing situation with local parts suppliers struggling for profits and charging full list price or more on stock parts? It is more obvious to me when buying parts for lawn equipment but now that it is so easily recognized there I pay attention and notice that car parts are also raising prices on their critical in stock parts. I guess I can’t blame any of them taking advantage of every opportunity they have in the struggle against on line bargain sources.

I don’t think it so much as a profit thing as reflection on the Tariffs that consumers ending up paying for no matter what some moron says.

To keep it car related the 1/24 die cast models I order have really jumped in price .

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not sure, just tried to order an oil pump thru my normal peeps- $161.
Online, the same oil pump is $104…


Are they usually closer to online prices?

They have a lot of brick and mortar stores to pay for and all the associated taxes for those stores .Online they have 1 big wharehouse to pay for .

in my case, they are usually within $10 or so dollars. Enough to buy local to have it today. This is the biggest difference I have seen. Perhaps its just a fluke? I haven’t done enough testing to see.

I’ve noticed the parts store price used to be closer to the online price, even just a year or two ago. Since then it has gradually gone up compared to the online price. Doesn’t pertain to every item, more so to less-commonly purchased items. For example a set of ignition points ($25) I purchased for my truck recently was considerably more expensive than online versions (less than $5). The point set from the parts store by visual inspection appeared to be very good quality, so I paid up w/no complaints. The brand was “Blue” something, forget the exact name. As long as I get good quality parts I’ll continue to use the local parts shop even though they are higher priced. It’s a big benefit from my diy’er point of view to have a health inde parts store nearby. I buy stuff like grease, gear oil, degreasing cleaners, wax, etc from the local parts store that I could buy exactly the same thing at Walmart for less for the same reason. A healthy local parts store with knowledgeable and helpful staff store is an invaluable asset.

If we don’t give the local brick and mortar parts stores enough business to make a profit they will close and we won’t have a source for parts we need immediately. And I intend to give the local guys some business but the $27 Troy-Bilt carburetor from Amazon with 3 day delivery compared to $120 from the local supplier puts a pinch in my loyalty. I can wait 3 days to trim the weeds.And I hope a new ignition module for my truck isn’t marked up that much if/when I need one.

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I am all for supporting locally-owned businesses, even when the price is somewhat higher than other alternatives. I see no reason to pay grossly inflated prices to pad the bottom line of large nationwide companies such as AutoZone, O’Reilly’s, Pep Boys, etc. When I can buy a widget online for 40 to 50 percent less, which is the same or better quality than what the store sells, I am not going to shed a tear for these companies. It’s not my job to pay for their expensive rent and other overhead expenses.

In the city where I live, there is a locally-owned auto parts dealer, which has a large central location/warehouse and 7 or 8 additional storefront locations. Their standard retail pricing is always cheaper than AutoZone/O’Reilly’s, and they only sell brand-name parts (though they do have their own house brand of oil, coolant, transmission fluid, and oil/air filters). They also have excellent commercial pricing, which is only slightly more expensive than buying the parts on RockAuto.

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I used to buy parts for all my powered lawn tools, and snowblower at a local sales and repair shop but stopped when they charged me $12.03 for a fiber gasket for the bottom of the float bowl on my snowblower. It was only 2/4 the size of a dime. Now when you go there they have almost nothing in stock. If I have to wait for the part, I might just as well order it myself and have it shipped to me.

I used to browse auto parts stores any time I went there to buy a part to see if there was anything I wanted to buy, but no more. They have raised prices so you think you are getting a deal when they offer you a discount for buying online and picking up in the store. All that neans is you are overpaying if you buy in the store, I just discovered Office Max is doing the same thing.

If you find the part online at the website of the same store chain you have in your neighborhood, either order it online for store pickup or print out the online page and bring it to the store. They will usually match it.

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Our local Advance Auto store refused to match their online price for Bosch Icon wiper blades.

It’s been a while since I have bought a car part other than filters and have seen no change in those. Trying to get a jump on Spring, I bought a fuel filter for my lawn mower last night and was surprised when it cost $10 at Ace. Normally I think they are about $5. Didn’t have the air filter so got that at the farm store for $16 which is about what I’ve always paid before. So prolly just depends on the store or maybe the point of manufacture is changing.

Good topic. Watch for a Car Talk story by our Craig F. He has been buying car parts for decades and is about to post a story at the site on the topic specifically related to pricing.

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I want the local stores to stay in business. I want to be able to walk in, and walk out with my part and I am willing to pay for that convenience. I know it costs money to keep that part on the shelf waiting for me to walk in and buy it. I get that. I’ll pay for that. I really WANT that!

If, however, the store dings me 25%, 50% or more over the online price of a part NOT in stock that the counter guy tells me will be in a 2 days… I’m gonna drive straight home and order it online. That happens more and more. Local shops will suffer if they keep that up.

I’ve owned a lot of cars that required parts be trucked in from the warehouse… Corvette (yeah, Chevy but not really) Merkur XR4Ti, Saab 99… and my local shop was so good to me I could call in and tell the counter guy what I was working on that weekend on Wednesday and he’d have the parts I needed for me Friday. But that is almost impossible to find anymore.


Buy it on their site with “pick up in store…” option.
You will always find 20-30% off coupons for Advanced Auto on sites like “RetailMeNot”, apply it when purchasing online.
Once you submit your order, drive to the store and get it.
You do not even need to print the online receipt - just show a confirmation email on your smart phone and that’s enough.
I’ve been “online shopping” like that for quite some time now.
It’s not exactly down to Rock Auto prices, but gets close enough and I have a luxury of immediate availability and easy returns.

Keep in mind that many of the online auto parts are cheapo fakes. See https://www.worldtrademarkreview.com/anti-counterfeiting/counterfeit-automotive-parts-increasingly-putting-consumer-safety-risk



I work IT for a living and see the end result when a high dollar Apple computer or phone gets fried by a $10 replacement cheap Chinese power adapter more often than you would think. The person said the factory part was simply “too expensive” but now they are paying big time with a replacement computer.

I talk to mechanic shops about this and they see a customer attempt to do a repair with some cheap part bought online, then have to bring it in to a shop when the part doesn’t work or fails. As with me, they might have cost themselves even more money because the part failed and did other damage. This is another reason many shops refuse to install parts brought in by the customer. The part may obviously be bad right out of the box or if it fails down the road, the shop will get the blame.

At least with a parts store, you know it is probably some decent part, even if made overseas. It might not be OEM quality but it won’t be absolutely terrible either.

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That’s why I only use Rockauto or the online arm of an established store for online purchases.

I don’t buy any critical parts from places like Advanced Auto. The quality of their parts are iffy at best.

What I HATE about these stores…is they say they carry a part like NGK plugs. Some years ago I went there to get plugs for my wife’s 96 Accord. They didn’t stock them. The only plugs they had in stock for the Accord was from Autolite. If they didn’t stock NGK plugs for the #2 best selling car at the time, then what vehicles do they stock NGK plugs for? They just wanted to get you in the door to sell you a cheap plug which is much more profitable for them.

I think the main difference in on-line prices have come down recently is the cost of delivery has decreased. Amazon started their own shipping and that is saving them a lot of money. And there are more carriers now so the competition is getting good.

This is exactly the point where online shopping with them makes sense.
You see their exact stock at the store and you reserve items from this stock, so it is no “suprise” when you show up to pick it up.
Also, if they do not have it on hands, it takes one business day to get whatever you want to get, at least in my area it is always next day.

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