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Am I the only lucky one or is there an increase in the number of "Dealer Only" type replacement parts? Cases in point: Some time back I needed wiper blades for my Eldorado so I waltz into Autozone and, you guessed it, it's a dealer only item. You gotta be kidding me, how complicated is a wiper refill anyway? So I rumble over to the Caddy dealer. They're delighted to see me, and by cosmic coincidence they have them in stock at $20 for each refill!!!! Ouch, but I take it like a man and hope not to repeat that too soon. Little did I know that was just a warm up. About 2 months ago I thought I had a rear shock on the way out, so I figured I'd investigate the replacement situation just in case. After calling several places and hearing the same story, I resign myself to the fact that it's a dealer only part. So I call the happy folks at Caddy parts. The parts guy feels bad for me and says he'll let 'em go for $500 each!!!!!! Suddenly I don't need that rear shock anymore. I am thrilled at my good fortune. Today, after three weeks of clunk and rattle I determined that the bushing in the rear traction link on my Exploder is shot. I need wiper blades too, so I march off to Autozone. After studying the screen, my astute parts person utters the magic words. "Dealer Only". So I'm off to my neighborhood Ford dealer. Well it seems like Ford just can't be bothered with lowly bushings anymore, so I have to buy the whole stinking link for $22. That's 2 feet of iron to get a $.75 bushing. Is there a pattern here? Could this be how they convince you it's cheaper to buy a new car than fix that old hunk driving you're around in? If they push me hard enough, I'll take my cars to Cuba. They can fix anything there. ;)
Frank
 

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Aftermarket parts companies are in business to make money. They are not going to make copies of parts that don't sell well. How often does a caddy driver do their own repairs?
 

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If you haven't had the pleasure, visit a Jaguar dealership sometime. I absolutely loved every model Jaguar I've ever owned, however, parts from the dealer are astronomical. I recently needed the throttle cable which runs from the traction control motor to the throttle body. I could see that it could be replaced; besides, SOMEBODY had to assemble it in the first place. Dealer said "nope, whole assembly only, two cables and the traction control unit for $1,500". The fine folks at Motorcars LTD got me the cable for $55 after about two minutes of research. Same thing with oxygen sensors, $500 from the dealer, $90 on the internet. Their typical clientele drops off the vehicle and says "fix it and call me when its done" so they make a profit where there's an opportunity.
 

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Aaron, it might not be prudent to make blanket statements like that - maybe some Autozone stores stink, but certainly not all of them. At MY autozone there ARE some really stupid kids working there, but there is also a guy named Rolando who is an absolute wizard with 5.0 engines. If he doesn't know the answer to your question, he'll whip out his cell phone and call his buddies to find out what THEY know. Return a part? No problem. Tell you a place to get an expensive part used? No problem. Suggest a cheaper alternative to what you asked for? No problem.

I wish ALL parts guys were this good.

All the best,
Tag
 

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Aaron,

I agree with Shodan. Maybe you just have had some bad luck at your store. That can definitely happen and has happened to me. There are 3 or 4 within striking distance of me and they've all been good. Occasional bad experience but generally very good with good prices and good in-store and next-day availability. I use their web site all the time too for prices and availability.
 

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Frank, I think they call that the cost of Luxury...You should see the cost of "dealer only" parts on my 88 BMW M6... Holy Crap... they once quoted me over $700 for a new radiator! And its an "old" car..
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ken,
Well I could almost see it for the shocks, as they are part of an active suspension system with computer controlled damping rates and all that hoohah. So a part like that is maybe a little too specialized for the aftermarket producers and general parts outlets. But wipers aren't that tough. The bushing for the Explorer is what got me wondering about this. Like I said though, I could just be lucky.
Frank
 

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I have never seen a good autozone, advance auto etc. Seems as if I need to know spanish to work with half the people that work there if I go in to get parts.
 

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The BMW dealership parts counter guy simply said for his parts we, as customers, need to remember what their name stands for: "Bring My Wallet" Ouch!
 

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well boys (with foreign cars) i have struck gold, and with my fortune i intend to share it. WWW.DRIVEWIRE.COM is THE place to buy parts for your cars. 80% of the time its cheaper than any auto parts stores and i have found parts for cars i never thought they would still make them for. If they dont have it on the website, try emailing them, cause there is a long list of stuff they dont have on there. I found brembos from my honda that were cheaper than generic at checker. this is the best place for foreign autoparts
 

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Aaron, watch the blanket statements. They take from your credibility.


My Autozone is terrific. You learn who knows their stuff and who doesn't. I'm a big advocate of building a 'relationship' with an auto parts store manager early in the build.


On the topic though, I agree that there are too many dealer only parts these days. I went to replace the wipers for our '03 Passat and found that to be the case.

Instead, I studied the arm design for a minute, bought a Bosch wiper that I could make work, drilled two holes the right size, and I'm in!

I win the wiper blade round... :D

-R
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you Randy. Finally a validation. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Autozone's web site. If you don't think the store guy is smart enough for you, you can look them up yourself then just give them the part number. Usually works out pretty well.
Frank
 

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I have never seen a good autozone, advance auto etc. Seems as if I need to know spanish to work with half the people that work there if I go in to get parts.
Aaron,

Im the store manager of a Kragen auto. Come on down to Cali and I will get you what you need.
 

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"On the topic though, I agree that there are too many dealer only parts these days. I went to replace the wipers for our '03 Passat and found that to be the case. "

My moms 02 passat wipers came off the wal mart shelf?

I take back my generic auto parts comment...all the auto parts stores that are large chains in my area suck, including napa. I go to a small place that is just a single mom and pop store, they can get you anything in less than a day, great prices, and super knowledable staff.
 

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I remember my grandfather telling me about caddy parts when he needed a new alternator for his cadilac. If he told them it was for a Cadillac, the price was twice as much as the Chevy (same alternator).
 

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It's getting worse all the time. As cars get more complex, the OEM's are able to keep more of their stuff "proprietary" and lock out the aftermarket.

BTW - Aaron, I prefer to rely on my own skill and judgement when buying auto parts, not the kid's behind the counter.
 
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