Loss of warranty information at parts stores?

Part of this is my fault in putting faith in computers and their operators and not keeping paper receipts. Most of the time the cheap paper receipts fade by the time I need them anyway but I am thinking I should start scanning them and keeping a digital file. I figured the parts store systems would keep this information safe but I see examples of why this is a bad idea daily in my line of work. This includes yesterday at an automotive repair shop where an employee accidentally factory reset a computer, erasing all their Mitchell programs and such, resulting in data loss and other messes.

Anyway, I have some worn out parts that are due for warranty claims. I always buy the lifetime warranty version if it is available. Most of my parts are bought at AutoZone or Oreilly as that is who was really in town for years until NAPA recently arrived. Some are now over 10 years old. I recently had two sets of parts needing to be warrantied. I am pretty sure one set of parts came from AutoZone and they found ONE tie rod end but not the ball joints or control arms that I am pretty sure I bought at the same exact time.

Then I had a clutch set failure due to a failed slave cylinder. I thought this came from Oreilly but they have no record of it. I checked AutoZone for grins and they had no record either which I figured since I remembered it not being from there.

I know it is my fault for not keeping the paper receipts or digital copies but has this happened to anyone else and is there a parts lookup for parts older than 10 years at either of these stores? I will just chuck the parts in my next scrap load if I am out of options.

Lifetime warranty does not mean much anywhere. Bought a menards laser level lifetime free replacement, it stopped working, sorry we don’t have that model anymore!

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I have run into this a couple of times. O’Reillys has gone the same way as AutoZone; lousy receipts with Magic Disappearing Ink from the joke store.
An AZ employee even made a remark one time about making copies of all receipts as they will fade to oblivion pretty quickly.

I also discovered that any so-called online records do not likely exist.
In one case I had to pay for a special order part in advance (AutoZone) with a lifetime guarantee. That part failed 3 months later and as luck would have it the receipt could not be found.
No problem I thought. It will be in the computer somewhere. Nope. No record. Never happened.

I tend to think these things are not accidents. Current stock price at AZ around 2 grand and 800 higher than a year ago.

I was pretty shocked when I saw that my battery receipt from AZ had faded into nothingness. But, I was surprised when they were able to bring-up my info on their terminal just by typing in my name, and they made good on their battery warranty.

I’ve had the same experience- they’ve been able to pull up the purchase info in their computer. Unfortunately, the Duralast purge valve with the lifetime warranty only lasted a few months so I opted for AC Delco the second go round. No issues since. Had repeated failures with AZ lifetime warranty alternator’s years ago on my Jeep. They kept replacing them, but eventually you get tired of being stranded with a dead battery and installing alternators! I should’ve learned my lesson back then :joy:.

That is EXACTLY what happened to a colleague

He had an evap problem on his Chevy Tahoe and asked me for advice

I recommended replacing the purge valve

I specifically said do NOT buy store-brand parts

He bought autozone parts and they only lasted a short time

It got ugly, because he thought I was on the wrong track when I recommended he replace the purge valve

I told him my diagnosis and recommendations were sound and he should have bought high-quality parts to begin with, as I initially suggested

He went through 3 or 4 more autozone purge valves before finally giving up on them and buying AC Delco parts

After that, I stopped giving him advice

A similar thing happened at the shop with a Ford Taurus

A different colleague diagnosed a bad alternator and the shop got a NAPA brand part

It didn’t work, and neither did the 2nd and 3rd NAPA alternators

The 4th one worked, but by that time the supervisor was doubting my colleague’s diagnostic skills

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I just went with the AZ purge valve because it was in stock. The AC Delco, they had to order. After all of my backyard testing I was eager to see if my diagnosis was correct and get that CEL off! So, I went with the Duralast. Check engine light went off, but it was back a month or so later. Had to do my backyard tests again. Remember that whole definition of insanity thing? Yeah, I did that with the purge valve after my experience with their alternators! Lesson learned. Again :laughing:

The crazy thing is, I think the Delco was cheaper, if I recall correctly. Of course no warranty. But…less likely to NEED one!

Yes, the ink is definitely disappearing. I did get the parts returned to Oreilly. The deal there was the monkey behind the computer didn’t realize the part numbers were different back when I bought them. An older more experienced guy knew this and found the parts so I got my money back there. I am wondering if the same thing is going on at AutoZone so I won’t give up yet.

The stories about the failing parts reminds me of all the Wal-Mart batteries I went through several years back. It must have been a bad time for the Group 75 batteries there at the very least! I couldn’t even get them to last the warranty so kept getting new ones for free. Tests to my charging system showed it was good. Finally I got a good WM battery and it lasted the warranty and several years after that. I bought a new one at AutoZone next time around and it has been fine as well. The AZ is the Gold series as were all the duds and the good one from WM.

I never buy the cheap lines of anything at parts stores and have done OK. I wonder how many unsafe situations have been created by these garbage parts. I bought a used car with Wal-Mart Douglas tires. One of these tires about came apart on me while I was passing a semi and I just assumed it was a fluke. Then another one started to experience a failure and I backed it off on the speed real quick and limped it home. I took it to a tire shop to have ALL the tires changed and the guy was like “These are Douglas tires from Wal-Mart. They all do that.” I see these tires on parked cars and just cringe. I know people who have not had issues with them but I wouldn’t touch them after my experience. Apparently they can be hit or miss from what I have read and there was a particularly bad period.

I have a friend who feels this way about brake pads. I just buy a more expensive set at a parts store but it is the parts store brand. He always buys OEM and some other brand I can’t think of now. I have never had any problems using parts store brand pads.

I think the OEM batteries are just better for some reason. This is another thing people have talked about. The factory batteries always seem to last the longest. One is starting to die now after 7 years but that is good service if you ask me. A Motorcraft or AC Delco is probably better than the parts store brands. Someone had a similar experience with a MOPAR battery and one of my friends bought a Honda with a 12 year old battery or something insane. It was factory of course.

As I understand it, batteries are only made by a very few companies. Kind of hard to tell what you’re getting exactly. You don’t want to pay more just to get a different sticker on the side of it, but you don’t want to cheap out either. I’ve had decent luck with the Wal Mart top of the line “Everstart Max/Gold/Whatever they call it”. Also good luck with Napa Gold and Diehard Gold back when Sears carried those.

The only MOPAR battery I have experience with came in a new car and lasted 9 years before it needed the first jump start I changed it for a INTERSTATE battery. I have good luck with INTERSTATE battery’s over the years most lasting 8 to 10 years. I had one WM battery and will have no more.

I put an Interstate on my wife’s 2013 SUV, a Napa Gold on my 2005 truck, and a WM Everstart on the 2005 Buick. If you’ll notice, I spent money in direct proportion to how much I care about the vehicle in question! So far, so good on all of them though. Even the factory Toyota battery only lasted 5 or 6 years for us. Five years is about what I expect. Not sure if it’s the heat here or what, but I’m not terribly far from you.

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I have always heard that the heat was hard on battery’s but that has not been my experience here in Ga. or when I lived in Fla.

Then again I don’t cheap out on battery’s.

They aren’t. A lot of companies are doing business this way. Sad isn’t it. It’s refreshing when I find a company that doesn’t. Years ago I had a cover of an expensive light fixture cover break in our house that we had built some 20 years earlier. Without a receipt I went to store my builder bought the fixture from. I took a picture and showed it to the clerk and told him what happened. He asked if I knew the builder. Which I did. He looked up his records and found the receipt. And since I was the original owner they replaced the light fixture cover for FREE. I walked in willing to pay full price (about $200) for the cover. That store has had my light business ever since.

I agree 100%

I’ve seen several factory batteries last well over 7 years

On the other hand, I’ve rarely seen any aftermarket battery last that long

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Treat customers right and they will often return


Not car related, but I had an interesting warranty issue. I had a Canon camera that started taking erratic exposures. One shot would be good and the next not. At that time I was taking slides. I took the camera into Canon, and I brought a few slides to demonstrate the problem. When I picked up the camera a few weeks later I was prepared to pay for the service because it was out of warranty. But the service rep told me it was covered under warranty, because the date on the slides were before the warranty expired.

That light fixture story bye MikeinNH is a great example of the way it should be done. Kudos to that company.

The thing about the AZ premature part failure and missing receipt is that the transaction should be in the database receipt or not receipt. Even my bank statement showed the date/amount from my debit card.
And after stepping around the corner of the desk to eyeball the computer screen I noted there was hardly anything showing in my purchase history.

O’Reillys same way. I had a lifetime warranty serpentine belt going bad and they refused to warranty it as “Those belts no longer have a lifetime warranty”.
So what was guaranteed at the time of purchase no longer has a guarantee after a policy change.

I had the same experience at Sears, with a torque wrench. “I’m sorry, we no longer give a lifetime warranty”.
Is it any wonder that Sears sank further and further into oblivion?