Not everyone works in the auto parts industry. A regular customer who has never been in the automotive industry or is new to owning a car and buying parts for it, isn’t going to know these things about auto parts stores.
Auto parts stores are in business to sell parts, accessories, tools, fluids and more. They can also offer you free services and recommend a garage or dealership. They will sometimes have different discounts from store-to-store, but you should ask if there is any available and what they are.
Most auto parts stores I know offer a list of free services. This is a few of the ones that they may have…
- Free battery/alternator testing
- Free battery installation (if accessible – some batteries may be located under a rear seat)
- Free battery charging
- Free code reads – check engine light(Generalized)
- Free wiper blade installation (newer cars may have to go to the dealer for them)
- Free headlight/bulb replacement (if accessible – new cars may have to go to the dealer)
- Order online and pick up at the store(check to make sure the part is actually there. If it says one – they will have to physically check for it.)
There may be more at different stores, so call and check with them before you go to make sure they offer any of these free services. Your time is valuable too.
NAPA to my knowledge accepts military and AAA discounts. They may offer Military as well. Bring your IDs with you to prove this. They may have manufacturers rebates you will need to send in with the receipt.
Advanced Auto Parts – If you go online and sign up, they can send you a coupon for say $20 off your next purchase – usually if you order the parts online. They also give military discounts. They may have manufacturers rebates you will need to send in with the receipt.
Auto Zone – If you spend more than $20 they can give you a rewards card. Once you earn at least $100 ( 5 x $20 ), you get that towards a large purchase. They give military discounts. They may have manufacturers rebates you will need to send in with the receipt.
O’Reilly’s Auto Parts – Offer coupons and promotional ads online/in store.(Make sure it says In Store or Online or In Store/Online to use them properly.) Military discount available. They may have manufacturers rebates you will need to send in with the receipt. They also have a rewards program.
Pep Boys offers online flyers with discount coupons and promo codes (online), as well as products and service. Check to see if they offer any Military or other discounts. Some locations have a garage for oil changes, tires, and other services. You can call your local store for more details.
Most stores will price match off of their own site as it may be cheaper online (you can look it up on your phone to see if it’s lower). Has to be the same part, same warranty, sometimes the same company, BUT not price matching a low end part(cheaper) for a high end(more expensive) part.
They DO NOT price match with eBay or one of those places. Usually it’s a store within a certain mile perimeter (not further away than 20 miles for example).
If you remove a part from the car that needs replacing, if it hasn’t worn off, there is usually a number on it. That is the actual part number of the product that came with the car if it’s the first time replacing it.
You can ask the auto parts employee to check the part number(cross reference) to see if it’s something they have in stock. If the car is old enough, the number may be superseded (replaced with another one) and they may then have to look the car part up by year, make and model or call the dealership parts dept to get the new number. They may need the VIN number to do that (you can look it up on your insurance card).
Build A Relationship
If you go into the parts store all the time, you will eventually find someone who is truly helpful and knows the car, product, warranty and more. You enjoy conversing with the person who truly wants to help you get the job done right.
When I worked in the auto parts business, and I didn’t have accessibility to the store site(a long time ago) I would go home, research the product, find a site with a phone number and contact information, print it out and bring it in to the customer.
I enjoyed helping people when no one else seemed to be able to help. You, the customer, are the MOST important part of that business.
I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it. Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.