How do Car Quest parts compare as to quality and price, to others such as Napa, Advance, etc.?

I am trying out a new car repair place. They use Car Quest parts. Just need to know in general.


Have been using a mechanic for about five years that uses them almost exclusively. No issues with any of them.

So, is jayhawkroy from Kansas?

The CQ franchise did not last long around here; just a couple of years. The parts are no better or no worse than anything else out there. They were cheaper than NAPA and in line with everyone else.

Keep in mind that many parts houses may have their parts manufactured by the same company and in the same plant even. They just package them differently and send them off to various warehouses which supply the parts house they’re affiliated with.

The CQ manager here was skimming off the top to keep himself and some of his buddies in free or dirt cheap parts for their race cars. Something like a 100 grand worth last I heard… :wink:

Going along with Ok4450s comments - if you look at the part numbers at NAPA for a “NAPA” part and at Autozone/PepBoys/Advance Auto/etc, you’ll often find that the part numbers are almost perfect matches for the store brand versions of a given part - showing that they’re from the same supplier.

For example - a balljoint for a 1998 Camry:

NAPA: Master Ride Chassis 104218
Autozone: Duralast 104218
Advance Auto : TRW 104218

So you can see that they’re all actually buying them from the same source, though Autozone and NAPA are relabeling them as store brand parts. They could all be made by TRW, or TRW might have bought them from a supplier - but there’s no reason to believe that the quality is any different on those parts.

Since we are at the topic of aftermarket parts, I want to mention that the last 3 parts I have bought from Kragen (Now O’Reilly) have been so poor that either would not fit or failed right off the bat. I got replacements from either Napa or Rockauto and everything was fine. It might have been luck, but I have stopped wasting my time. One example was putting a new radiator in a Caravan just to find out the transmission cooler fittings do not seal.

Is the North East the only place that have Independent Car Part chains. We have a few here…Each one has about 50 stores in the area…Great parts…Knowledgeable Staff…And prices are cheaper then Dealer…maybe (but not always) more expensive then ADAP and the other discount parts stores…But their parts seem to be much higher quality.

@Simplifying: Yes, I live just west of the KC Metro. Also a native Kansan, quite by accident since I was born when my family was living in Ogden, KS.

I hate to see the demise of the independent parts stores and their replacement by a goliath chain store.
Thirty years ago every parts house in town was an independent with older, knowledgeable parts counter help. Every single one has gone bye-bye and have been replaced by AutoZone, 2 O’Reilly stores, and NAPA. Around here, that’s your choices.

Half a dozen years ago AZ appeared to be getting their act together with a number of older competent parts guys. Over the last couple of years they’re relapsed back to the young acne-faced kids who make you wonder if they’re skipping high school for the day or if they were bored to death with the educational process and quit for good.
My daughter (whom I’ve taught a bit about cars to and she even does some services on her own car) dropped by AZ some months back looking for some dye to narrow down a tiny oil leak on one of her cars that was difficult to figure out.
Two of the guys at AZ actually talked down to her when she asked for engine oil dye and both told her there was no such thing as engine oil dye.
*There’s dye for air conditioners but there ain’t no such thing for motors", they say. :wink:

The NAPA store here is great as is one of the O’Reilly stores but the other O’Reilly store is a ship of fools.

NAPA, Car Quest, Big A, All Pro/Bumper to Bumper all tend to use good name brand parts. O’Reilly also uses some good parts.

Advance and Auto Zone use some name brands but they also have plenty of “salt water salvage”.

We’ve had the national chains in NH for 25+ years…and they haven’t driven the independents out yet. Some of the small single stores yes…but not the larger 15+ store chains.

They also offer services to local mechanics that the national chains don’t offer…They have a fleet of trucks/cars to deliver parts to the local mechanics. They give them a discount (usually around 20%) on all parts. For a one man garage that can make a HUGE difference. They don’t have to hire someone to go get parts for them. They just call up one of the parts store and it’s delivered to them…usually within an hour.

At least as far as starters are concerned, we haven’t had good luck with them at our shop. The last 4 we’ve gotten from them (2 for one car and 1 for two others) have been bad.

I’ve purchased alternators and HVAC blowers at both CarQuest and NAPA with no problems. I did have a problem with a starter that I purchased and had installed at Western Auto when it was run by Sears. When the engine had been driven, the starter would bind up and barely crank the engine. I had purchased the top of the line starter motor from Western Auto. When I took it back, Western Auto claimed not to be able to duplicate the problem. I finally took the car to an independent shop near my house where I had nver traded before. The car was hot and starter barely cranked the engine. The technician measured the current draw with the ignition connected and the ignition disconnected. He wrote down the current draw on a piece of paper, signed his name and told me to take it back to Western Auto. He wouldn’t take any money for his time. Western Auto, when they saw the note, replaced the starter and the indpendent shop gained a new customer. I’ve been with them now for 17 years. I think this independent obtains parts through NAPA.

In fairness, what kind of help can be expected for $9 an hour. I used to buy Champion (after Crown Auto), and seemed ok but bought out by Oreilly and I will only buy stuff that is name brand from them such as Monroe. For most serious parts I go to NAPA but had trouble with their alternators. Bought new and went through about three in two years. Finally discarded the lifetime warrenty and will only use Delco now. Lots of times now I’ll just go OEM from the dealer or Rockauto.

In fairness, what kind of help can be expected for $9 an hour.

More people should think more about that. I often go out of my way to use locally owned independent places for everything (harder to do all the time). I do it for lots of reasons but one is that you often get real expertise/wisdom.

But, of course, it costs more b/c the mom & pops can’t compete with the cheap big box places that are cheap, at least in part, because they shave the labor costs down all along the way.

I know people who will call me foolish for spending more when I could obviously get the same stuff for less - right before they whine about the fact that they can never get anyone at Big Box Corp. who actually knows their butt from their elbow.

Many years ago I went to PepBoys to get a float for a carb…The clerk had no idea what I was talking about.

One of the 2 O’Reilly stores here is actually very good although they’re not indicative of the stores as a whole.
This one has a large warehouse addition, complete paint mixing section, and even a full service automotive machine shop. The store used to be a large independent but O’R. bought them out a long time ago.

The plus is that most of the long time employees at the independent remained with O’R. after the takeover and when a part is asked for they generally produce the right one without going into a glassy-eyed trance.

Parts as good as others.
A major difference can be found within the same ‘brand’ from one town to the next. Each are independently owned and the people/business difference is evidenced in the other posts.
In most parts places you’ll find a choice of parts, you get to pick when buying, and that can seem like a quality difference if not comparing same for same.

There’s one good aspect of a ‘‘car repair place’’ having a dedicated parts supplier, no matter who that is.
The ease of warranty work.

Many times you’ll try to get warranty on a part you bought and get grilled about ‘‘improper installation’’, ‘‘abuse’’, etc. PLUS getting labor paid to your installer is near impossible.

The dedicated ageement between supplier and installer makes this oh-so much easier.