Rock Auto: Getting live help?

Is there any way to get help locating parts from a live human on Rock Auto? I went looking and had no luck finding something using their listing of parts, after identifying my vehicle, and then the category. So I tried to find “contact us”…no luck.

Is that how they have lower prices? They don’t have customer service?

I found the item quickly and easily on Amazon, but not on Rock Auto. I’m assuming Rock Auto would have better quality, so want to compare before I go for the unreasonably cheap Amazon knock-off. A Toyota dealer quoted me somewhere over $200, Amazon has it for $17. I’d prefer somewhere between the two, figuring Rock Auto might be better quality than the Amazon knock off.

Part of the problem is nomenclature: I would call this thing a “door latch”, meaning that it’s what holds the door shut, making a connection between the back edge of the door, and the door jamb.

Amazon agreed with me: when I typed in door latch and named my car, I instantly got a picture of what I need, it’s unmistakable.

The Toyota dealer parts department insisted on calling this a lock, despite that there’s no way to put a key into the part I’m looking for.

Using Rock Auto, the closest I could get was the thing into which one inserts the key. That’s not what I need.

So is there live support on Rock Auto? If there is, I couldn’t find it.

I don’t know I’ve never had to talk to anyone there. I think you look under the “body parts” category, or use the seach box for lock or striker. They do have limited body parts though. I wouldn’t buy any car parts from Amazon though and $17? Why not a junl yard?

I think you look under the “body parts” category, or use the seach box for lock or striker.

Yep, that’s what I did. All I could find was the previously mentioned key - lock. I suspect that they DO have what I want, I just couldn’t find it, it’s my first time searching Rock Auto, which is why I am hoping they have some kind of customer support.

Today after I had investigated the problem, I went to a body shop and the very kind owner tried to solve the problem with a lubricant with no real success. So he suggested I check Rock Auto.

Why not a junl yard?

Nearest junkyard is PicknPull, about 45 minutes away, not to mention the time it would take me to find and then remove the latch, without knowing if it’s any better than than the one I already have. My time plus $20 in gas is also a factor. So having one sent to my mailbox would be very cost-effective.

That’s why I’d rather buy a new one, but not eager to buy this from Amazon, thus my post.

Door latches are commonly replaced when the power lock actuator fails. For your old van, the lock actuator is available separately so there is little demand for new latches. I did not see a new latch on Amazon for $17.

A lock does not necessarily require a key, but a lock cylinder does.

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There were several entries for this door latch.

$17 door latch on Amazon

That is the power lock actuator, the latch is not in the pictures.

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That is the power lock actuator, the latch in not in pictures.

Well then the problem is nomenclature, like I said at the start.

THIS is the part which is not functional. I had my eyes and my hands on it this afternoon.

As I started to troubleshoot the problem, I noticed that the piece of the latch which pivots to grab the fixed anchor on the door jamb seemed to have had some rubbery coating on it. But now, there was a bit of rubber just sort of flopping around, and what I could see was mostly bare exposed metal.

I hoped that some lubrication might improve the situation and tried that, but suspected that bits of that rubber might be interfering with the free movement of the latch. The body shop owner said the same thing before I mentioned my observation. He said that this is a common problem on these cars.

I suppose if I could get the latch out, pick out any bits of old rubber, then lube it, I might get more use from the latch. But I’d rather just replace the whole thing rather than re-install a latch with a bazillion door slams in its lifetime. It’s going to have many more before I dispose of this good old car.

Here’s that part from Rock. $23-$90 for Dorman.

1999 TOYOTA SIENNA 3.0L V6 Door Lock Actuator | RockAuto

I’ve never used RockAuto, but do they not allow a search by manufacturer part number? That seems like the best way to get the correct part.

Would it not be simpler to just check with a body shop to see if they can get the actual part ?

A body shop can order a door latch from a Toyota dealer, why go through a middleman?


I tried and had no luck. It had to do with a return of a radiator hose whose dimensions were different from the measurements in the product description. I ended up sending it back with another part that I did get a return authorization for. But never got any refund for the misdescribed hose.

Thanks @Bing, that’s what I was looking for. I just was too inexperienced with Rock Auto’s search process.

Well, mostly it’s because the Toyota dealer had quoted a price that was more than TEN TIMES higher than Amazon. The helpful body shop owner suggested I check Rock Auto.

One good outcome of this is having made the connection with this small business - I have a very good feel for his operation, and have another unrelated issue that I’d bring to him soon.

@shanonia: thanks for that perspective, guess I need to be cautious in dealing with RA.

I’ve only had two problems with them over the years, a v8 wire set instead of a v6, and a defective Gm water pump, according to the dealer. I didn’t bother for $25 and threw it away. They deal with warehouses around the country. I like them for oem parts at prices that are good. If you need help hit the help button at the top of the page but you don’t even get a real body from hardly anyone anymore.

I’m beginning to suspect that the main problem is that a bit of the rubber coating which has worn off, is now impeding the proper return of the hook that grabs the piece on the door jamb. I’ll investigate further on Sunday. I can get by until then.

Thanks to all for responses.

I expect their business model is something like that. I purchase parts by mail for my 50 year old truck at times, but I’ve never purchased anything from Rock Auto myself, prefer my local parts store; but I expect it’s not that they don’t have customer service, just nobody you can call on the phone. The idea I guess is their prices are low enough that as long as the customers can send parts they don’t like back for a refund, and that doesn’t happen too often, it remains a successful business model. RockAuto does appear to be quite successful.

Years ago, my parts supplier told me if I wanted wholesale prices, I had to look up the parts myself. Back then the parts catalogs took up 6 feet of counter space. Online catalogs are so much easier.