Home » It’s Wrenching Wednesday, So Let’s Hear It For Dealership Parts Counters

It’s Wrenching Wednesday, So Let’s Hear It For Dealership Parts Counters

Wrenching Wednesday Dealership Parts Counters Ts2
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67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
5 months ago

My experience is that often you can make a better deal at the oem parts department than from a retailer,but it depends greatly on what make the car is. The bigger difference is whether you can actually get the parts you need from a retail store or if the oem is your only shot. Subaru and Toyota for instance have real shitty aftermarket support on spares,which the oem knows and thus take whatever fucking money they feel like. VW,GM and the like usually have better aftermarket support and also more competitive oem prices.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
5 months ago

I’ve bought some small parts (brake lines, hardware, that kind of thing) for my 911 from the nearest Porsche dealer because the price was basically the same as Pelican, it gave me another reason to drive the car, and I could get a (free) cappuccino and croissant from the cafe at the dealer. Win-win.

Ben
Ben
5 months ago

I don’t have a lot of love for my local parts departments. The Stellantis one overcharges for oil and filters by 2-3x (if this sounds familiar it’s because I complain about it constantly), to the point where I’ve started to bring my own. The Toyota one is hit or miss. The first time I went in there was to get transmission fluid stuff. The fluid itself was reasonably priced, but the washer was like $6 (which is extortionate). I later went in looking for a replacement part for something that’s a pretty well known failure on my generation of Prius. Not only did the guy have no idea what I was looking for, he insisted that the wrong part (which cost twice as much as the right part) was what I wanted. I eventually gave up, left, and ordered the correct part for the correct price from a dealer that sells online.

I badly want to like my local places because I enjoy instant gratification, but they make it so hard.

World24
World24
5 months ago

Parts counters: the place where the people who try to sell you parts get blamed for either ownership’s idiotic ideas that they have to enforce (or lose their jobs), or have to say the OE’s idiotic pricing that’s comes from a random whim rather than the actual idea of basing pricing on supply vs demand ($140 MSRP for a 2005-2011 Dakota front camber adjustment BOLT that no one buys is a great example).

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
5 months ago

Something similar happened recently for just a common 12V battery, the way GM selected this design is for the positive and negative cables to connect on the side of it, not on top as usual. Between $200-$300 at the regular parts store (Autozone for example). It was $140 for an OEM battery at the dealer, same warranty.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
5 months ago

I’ve mentioned this before, but since this is dealer parts we’re discussing, here it is again.
When our ’75 VW Rabbit was two years old, I accompanied dad to the local VW dealer for some part. After disclosing what was needed, we hung out at the counter awaiting the part. I overheard someone behind the wall tell another, “Hey, they’ve got a ’75 Rabbit, and it’s still running!”.

Dangerous_Daveo
Dangerous_Daveo
5 months ago

Back in the day, Nissan help with parts for my Cefiro was awesome. The fact they knew what it was, and the work around to find the matching parts was tops, and yeah, pricing better than rebuilds in some cases.

Paul B
Paul B
5 months ago

Shout to to one of the local dealers and Mike, who speaks English with a French accent and French with an English accent.

Super fast to find the part in the system and will let the little parts go out at his cost.

Also says a FFS when a part has a stupid price.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
5 months ago

Dealer parts counters are an absolute roll of the dice. Some are good, some are awful, but most are in between. Some of my best experiences have been with Lexus/Toyota parts, and some of the worst have been with Lexus/Toyota. I just replaced the CV boots on my 20 year old Lexus, as both sides had decided to split simultaneously. Not needing high-angle boots, OEM are regarded as the universal best. Local Lexus dealer: ~$250. Local Toyota dealer: $270. Lexus dealer next state over: $120 + $12 for next-day shipping. Similar situation on a replacement key (for the known weak plastic Toyota/Lexus casings). Aftermarket: $150, plus I’d have to pay someone to cut it and program it into the vehicle. Online Lexus/Toyota dealer: $280, plus cutting and programming. Local Lexus dealer: “Yeah, those keys are the worst. Let me cut you a new one, and I’ll be out in five minutes to program it for you, all on the house.”

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
5 months ago

Replacement rotor housing and some other bits only really have one source (Mazda), so it all comes down to whether any particular dealer is having a sale at a particular time that encompasses them.

Dennis Birtcher
Dennis Birtcher
5 months ago

Since most of the cars I’ve owned have been even older than me, I haven’t had too many reasons to deal with the parts counter, but I do have one story:

The passenger power window in my mother’s Explorer had stopped working except when the driver’s door was slightly ajar. The internet wasn’t as helpful as it is today, so I went to the local dealer and asked for a wiring diagram. No questions, no charge, just printed one off and handed it to me. Good guys.

Tbird
Tbird
5 months ago

I currently have online sources for Acura and Toyota OEM dealer parts. They have been cheaper or had better availability than local the few times I’ve checked. I buy verified OEM equivalent coolant, trans fluids and filters. Mostly use OEM for random trim pieces and such (newest car is a decade old) so there is always some little thing needing addressed. Generally buy quality aftermarket for mechanical parts.

Clark B
Clark B
5 months ago

I always get the oil and filters (plus new drain plug with washer) for my Sportwagen TDI at the dealership. I did some research on appropriate oils for that engine but there didn’t seem to be a lot, and in the end I figured I’d just use exactly what VW specified. It’s their own brand of oil, as it turns out. For my previous water-cooled, gas powered VWs they’d just sell you Castrol at a markup.

I also get my wipers at the dealer, they’re a specific type and it’s just easier going to the dealer rather than trying to find what you want at an auto parts store or online.

I wonder if there’s still any air-cooled parts they sell at the dealership. Probably not, but maybe I’ll ask next time I’m there in the Beetle.

Related story, when I was in college my now ex’s Passat had a bad turn signal relay, which was housed in the emergency flasher button on the dashboard. I bought one from the parts department and it didn’t work. So I went to a junkyard, grabbed one, and it worked just fine! When I went to return the part they said they can’t do returns on electronics. I had come prepared for this. I took the parts guy out to the car where I already had the switch pulled out of the dashboard. Showed him the original that didn’t work, the part I had bought that didn’t work, and the junkyard one that did. They made an exception for me that day and refunded my ~$30. To be clear I wasn’t a dick about it or anything, but I figured they’d want to know if some of the parts they had in stock were duds. They always treated me well at that dealership, whether we were looking at buying a car, buying parts, or just wanting to take something on the lot out for a spin.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
5 months ago

“…common like a Camaro or obscure like a Peugeot…”

There’s considerably more range left in that scale of obscurity.

PJ
PJ
5 months ago

As a parts guy, please don’t call us for part numbers so you can buy online. If you want to buy online, use that website for application. Don’t use us as a library. Nothing pisses me off more then when someone calls up and says “I need a part number for…” You want to buy online? I get it. It’s not my job to help you do that though.

A. Barth
A. Barth
5 months ago

Several years ago I was looking for a longish list of NLA/discontinued/unobtainium parts for an old Yamaha. Out of curiosity I went to the website of the dealer I used when I was a yute (i.e. pre-internet). The dealership itself has been around since the late Jurassic and they have a warehouse, so I thought they might still have some old stuff around. Their site offered a full parts listing for my bike, which was a good sign.

Lots of sites have the same parts listings, though, so I proceeded with cautious optimism. Oddly enough, the site let me place all of the items I wanted into my shopping cart; normally if the part is not in stock, you can’t do that. Giddily I added all the things and checked out. Woohoo!

I got an email from a dealership parts person a couple days later: he apologized profusely that they had exactly none of items in stock and I’d be getting a full refund. I said not to worry, it was a long shot from the beginning, and that I appreciated the follow-up.

A day or so later I received another email. After our exchange, the parts person had gotten on the dealer-only network and checked all Yamaha dealers in several states for the parts I wanted, then sent me a list of who had what and where. 😀

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
5 months ago

Some local dealers are great for parts. Others aren’t. I’ll happily patronize the locals for stuff that just can’t wait or aftermarket is total trash.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
5 months ago

Here’s a cheat code for getting Mazda parts: https://www.zoomzoomnationparts.com/. Most things if you order online are cheaper than they can quote you at the counter, if something isn’t listed by navigating the interface you can type in the part number from the service / parts manual. I’ve even gone there in person as I couldn’t find what I needed on their website and the guy brought the part over to me to type in the part number on their site and once it showed up in his computer he handed it to me for 40% off.

For Subaru’s I used to use https://www.subaruparts.com/ but haven’t had a Subaru for about 15 years so don’t know if they’re still a significant discount or not like they used to be back then.

Lastly for Toyota / Lexus parts the best I’ve found is https://parts.olathetoyota.com/, but it’s not that much of a discount.

Finally to find service manuals / parts diagrams you can often get lucky here: https://jdmfsm.info/Auto/

If anybody knows any more, please share them here for others

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
5 months ago

For my 2018 Crosstrek the only place to get wipers is the dealer. It is a custom size only for that car and year. The aftermarket gave up trying to make one. At $30, same as going to the local parts store.

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
5 months ago

When my work had a few Topkicks the local GM dealer was fantastic at getting random parts for them, and quickly. The GM dealer we normally buy pickups from was pretty much useless for them. Their fleet manager is great, their service department is decent but their parts people were bad.

I tend to go to the local NAPA for my own stuff as I get trade pricing and they staff have all worked there for a long time and know their stuff front and back.

Tbird
Tbird
5 months ago
Reply to  IanGTCS

I really like NAPA for brakes in particular. Often cheaper to order online and pickup at store.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
5 months ago

Parts counter guys are either awesome or total choads. No in between. Generally, the older guys are into cars and have their own projects.

The guy at my local Dodge parts counter has a vast wealth of knowledge, particularly when it comes to cross-referencing between different years and models. I have a 68 Charger and a 2003 Dakota. Both are old enough that I am continually surprised that I can go in there and buy some parts directly from the dealer. This guy keeps the old parts books and can find, translate the old factory numbers to the new numbers online and locate the part. They also know which aftermarket parts are crap and can point you to something better.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
5 months ago

I got nothing.
By and large, I’ve learned that you should replace with OEM bits wherever appropriate. However I’ve never found an in-person dealership that had a better price unless it was the only place I could find a price. (Please note, there are many dealerships that are selling stuff online. Those guys usually knock Rock Auto, Amazon, and the rest out of the park.)

Clark B
Clark B
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

I’ve had good luck buying parts from dealerships selling on Amazon, of all places. Not really any mechanical parts, but for things like floor mats or other accessories you could purchase from the dealer.

Tbird
Tbird
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

It seems each brand has at least one dealer online selling volume parts at a cost below my locals. I have few bookmarked right now.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
5 months ago

KIa headlight assemblies (There was even a TSB for the inner plugs melting)
Dealer- $520 a piece (passenger side was the TSB)
RA- $450 for both

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
5 months ago

I like to maintain good relationships with parts and service managers at all the local dealerships. Makes my habit of refreshing my stable smoother. Plus, they are usually people who just like cars anyway. Conversations over coffee while waiting for a part can also lead to information on available things I might not otherwise find out about too.

Life is good. Talk to people. You never know where you might find a new friend.

Chronometric
Chronometric
5 months ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

I drove my Corvair to the Chevrolet dealer to get one of the few parts still available through GM. Not a single person there had ever heard of a Corvair.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
5 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

In 1987 I went to the Ford dealer in Cottage Grove, OR, to ask for a tail light lens for my 1959 Ford sedan, a one-year-only item. They had one, still packed in a FoMoCo box that looked like it was from the early 1970s and priced accordingly. Having had that much success, I asked whether they could order another one for me. To their credit they tried, but they could not.

Tbird
Tbird
5 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

I’m sure your aware of Clark’s and California Corvair.

Chronometric
Chronometric
5 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

While restoring my Corvair I listed Cal Clark as a dependent on my taxes.

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
5 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

That made me snort laugh.

Chronometric
Chronometric
5 months ago

Today I RockAutod (yes that’s a verb) a new master cylinder for the Miata. The original only lasted 34 years and 200,000 miles, including hundreds of track days.

They would make a great site sponsor.

Last edited 5 months ago by Chronometric
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