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Can Rock Auto parts be trusted to be OEM quality?


mike6024
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(I'll delete this post after I get some input because it's obviously not an antique car issue)

 

I wanted to get a small replacement part for the fuel injection system for my 2002 Toyota. It's called an IAC, Idle Air Control Valve, which contains a solenoid, and a metal door that opens to allow air in so it will idle. Like the idle air screw for a carburetor. The IAC also has connections for coolant so it monitors temperature. So you get temperature dependent idle air into the fuel injection system.

 

Obviously i wanted to get a new part from the dealer and swap it out. Dealer parts can be trusted. They wanted $444.65 for this tiny part. Plus 9.5% sales tax would put it close to $500.

 

Rock Auto has many versions of this part, but most are out of stock. They do have this one for $67.

 

And Ebay has one even cheaper at $22.

 

 

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RockAuto sells replacement parts with a huge range of quality.

You can get very high quality parts from the likes of Bosch, AC Delco and Denso.

But you can also get parts with questionable quality from the many off-brand manufacturers they carry.

 

While Ultra-Power isn't known for having top tier quality, but in a lot of cases they are not considered junk, either.

Just remember in most cases, not all but most, the quality of the part is in direct correlation to the price and definitely the warranty offered.

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Somewhat relevant yes. I have a 77 restored and a 79 I am restoring. I dont use RA a lot, but the few times I did get parts from them I was happy.  I also got some parts for my dd and again never any complaints. I dont buy thousands of dollars worth of parts but for once i awhile they have been fine.

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Rock Auto doesn't have any name brand versions of the part I am seeking. Just these. I imagine the dealer is selling Denso. And if Rock Auto did have Denso it would be cheaper, maybe $200 or $250 instead of $444.

That's one of the things that annoys me, I would expect Rock Auto to have a name brand guaranteed OEM quality version of this part.

 

 

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The one thing to watch out for with RA is shipping times.

Shipping times represented at checkout are only estimates that RA says come from the shipping companies not RA.

Not long ago I ordered a radiator for a modern DD and I chose a slightly more expensive part because of the supposedly shorter shipping ETA.

Once the order was placed and I got actual tracking information, the part was to be delivered more than a week after the date shown during the ordering process.

Because of this, I sourced another part locally since the vehicle was needed for DD duties and couldn't be down for over a week waiting on parts.

RA did not refund the shipping costs of the part that was sent back to them immediately and they said they have zero control over discrepancies between actual shipping times and those presented at checkout.

 

If you really need something in a hurry I say source it locally.

If you can afford to wait maybe a week longer than you are promised during the purchase process then go with RA because in most cases RA has lower prices than elsewhere.  Most cases, but not all.

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4 minutes ago, mike6024 said:

Rock Auto doesn't have any name brand versions of the part I am seeking. Just these. I imagine the dealer is selling Denso. And if Rock Auto did have Denso it would be cheaper, maybe $200 or $250 instead of $444.

That's one of the things that annoys me, I would expect Rock Auto to have a name brand guaranteed OEM quality version of this part.

 

 

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In your case, I would go with the Standard Motors or even Beck/Arnley brand over the Ultra-Power.

One good thing about RA is they usually have more than one photo of the actual part.

A careful look at the parts usually reveals differences in casting and finish quality. 

 

Edited by zepher (see edit history)
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Please dont delete. 
  My experience with rock auto has been 100 % good. I have used them for some years. Great coverage of many makes, fair prices, good sales and closeouts. They often a part in several price points, from the well known brands (not always the best) to lower price stuff. I always get the top tier, guided by my  experience with the companies and my experiences. But in my opinion rock auto rocks. And…their shipping  times and cust svc has been good for me.

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I removed and cleaned the old part and the truck is running now. Before it would not run, just start and die immediately, because apparently it was stuck closed.

 

However something seems wrong, the idle is too low sometimes and it seems to idle rough, at least some times. So even though I am driving it again, I think this part needs to be replaced.

 

After I cleaned and re-installed it, I started it and went for a test drive. The idle seemed too low, and then the "check engine light" came on. I stopped and did some shopping in a grocery store. Came out and it seemed to start and run fine and the "check engine" light was off.

 

So it seems to one of those things that is not working quite right.

 

I just think the dealer price on the part is crazy high, that's all.

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Why do people think that a Moog suspension part from RA is somehow of lower quality than a Moog part purchased somewhere else. Same thing for Wix, AC Delco, Champion, Standard Motor Products, etc, etc. I don't buy no-name parts from any source (though NAPA isn't exactly transparent in their sources). And let's be honest here, virtually none of the "brand name" parts are made in the US any more anyway.

 

I check prices (with shipping and sales tax) at RA, Amazon, and local stores and buy from the cheapest unless delivery time is critical. And frankly, I've been screwed on promised delivery dates by all of them (including NAPA just today).

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16 minutes ago, Studeous said:

Please dont delete. 
  My experience with rock auto has been 100 % good. I have used them for some years. Great coverage of many makes, fair prices, good sales and closeouts. They often a part in several price points, from the well known brands (not always the best) to lower price stuff. I always get the top tier, guided by my  experience with the companies and my experiences. But in my opinion rock auto rocks. And…their shipping  times and cust svc has been good for me.

 

I'll add to this that I probably average one box from RA a week. In the last 15 years, I've had exactly two issues with incorrect parts. The first was a case where the wrong part was packaged in the correct box. They told me to keep that one and immediately shipped a new one. The second was a case where the item they sent had a part number one digit off from what I had ordered. Clearly the order picker just made a mistake. They sent me a return label and the correct part was shipped as soon as they had confirmation that I had dropped the incorrect one at FedEx.

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I was told, on the Toyota Forum, to go to Rock Auto and get the Denso IAC, exact same part as the dealer sells but much cheaper. This person had bought a Denso IAC from Rock Auto, but obviously it is not available now, and I was seeing brand names that don't mean anything to me.

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I buy from RA on occasion, usually when I get a stupid high quote from another source.   When the fuel pump failed on my 02 TBird the prices were stupid high and OEM was scarce.   I bought a complete OEM assembly from RA and it came in the original Ford box with the correct part # etched into it.   I saved about 50%.    Same story on the power window lift mechanism.    The stuff I have bought from RA has been good quality for the price I paid.

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8 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

... virtually none of the "brand name" parts are made in the US any more anyway..

+ 1

.. and very likely that the actual part is made by same manufacturer/factory (likely in C***a or T****n), regardless of who's ("brand name" or not) box it is in.

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My biggest complaint with RockAuto is their shipping policy/costs. If you put 2 items in your shopping cart and they come from different warehouses you will pay 2 separate shipping charges. One for each warehouse.   The little freight truck icon you see beside some items in their listings signals that part will come from the same warehouse as an item you already have in your cart. Watching for that freight truck icon is important if you don't want to pay extra shipping costs.

 

The other thing I don't like about RockAuto is I have never been able to talk to a human about a problem.

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I have used Rock Auto a few times and have been pleased. I was grazing on their site one day and discovered they had 4 different versions of wheel cylinders for my 1954 Ford Sunliner. The economy rebuilt cylinders were $2.50 each and the 'best value' new Raybestos cylinders were $4.00 each. I splurged and bought the Raybestos brand cylinders, saying to  myself, "This can't be true..."  When the parts arrived, they were genuine Raybestos castings in Raybestos boxes. Just like anything else, be aware of what you are buying.

 

Frank

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I have had nothing but positive experience with RA.  Even had a rep from there call me real time with a question after I had filed online to return a part.  I think it is a plus that they disclose the supplier of each part.  You can always google the supplier's name to see where they are from, and get some background  You may find some general information, but also links to some user feedback on various different discussion forums.  Try it with Beck-Arnley, for example.

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Something everyone should be aware of about Rock Auto is that after 30 days you can not return a part for any reason, even if it's bad. I was installing a new exhaust system on my car. I stockpiled several "U" bends and straight pipe plus two Walker mufflers. It took a while to get down to the mufflers and when I opened the boxes I noticed that the mufflers were different, even though the part numbers were the same. I called Walker and they admitted that they had a problem with one of the mufflers and I should return it to where I purchased it. Well, I purchased them from Rock Auto and they absolutely refused to accept a return. I even asked the Walker people to call Rock Auto and explain that it was their fault, but Rock Auto would not budge.

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3 hours ago, Paul Dobbin said:

I like them too.  At least for the cars that are new enough to have them list the parts.

They list spark plugs (Champion) for 20's Willys Overlands. 😉

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Being that your car is a 2002 getting your parts from a Toyota dealer is going to be expensive.  Generally they charge more for parts that are ten years old and older in an escalating fashion.  At the prices that you have been quoted I would go for the lower  priced item and figure you haven't lost much if it goes bad.

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1 hour ago, Trulyvintage said:

Nowadays only the box is different.

The box determines the price you pay.

Just about everything comes from a handful of manufacturers.

 

Jim

 

 

Also the warranty. I paid a premium for NAPA's highest-grade brake drums, and they were the same imported parts as the lower priced drums (and just a out-of-round). The price difference just covered their cost for the longer warranty.

 

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I used to buy Napa Lifetime parts for my

trucks I tow with - then I found the small town NAPA dealers didn’t carry them.

 

I would end up having to return my lifetime warrantied parts and buy a one year warranty part - so I stopped buying parts at Napa.

 

Jim

Edited by Trulyvintage (see edit history)
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When I had my '65 Mustang (WORST POS I ever owned) the speedometer failed so I ordered a new one from one of the most well known suppliers of Mustang parts.

The speedo arrived and the box had a fancy, iridescent, label on it proudly proclaiming it to be authorized by FMC.

After installing it (another pos I might add) I backed the car out of the shed and upon moving forward the speedometer jumped to something over 40 MPH (I forget exactly how stupid it was) and stayed there.

I called the company where a fairly crabby lady answered and reluctantly sent me another one.

THIS time, when I got on the road, it hunted all over the place........ 🤬

I called RA and asked the person who answered what their experience rate was with the speedmeter THEY sell to which he replied 100% satisfied so I ordered it and went through the whole stinking process A G A I N.

The only difference this time is it worked!

Needless to say the previous vendor was not happy. 

Well DUH.......neither was I!

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I use RA occasionally. When I do ido it selectively with an eye on shipping costs and the possibility that I might have to return a part. I don't like to have to return parts! Case in point, I ordered some front suspension parts for one of my cars. When I got the parts the part numbers were the same by some of them had zerk fittings and some were sealed. I wanted the car back on the road and I didn't want to go through the hassle of returning them. If I had sourced them locally, you bet I would have returned them, as it was I just installed what I had.

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I have always preferred to deal face to face and with at least local stores. However, in recent years that has simply become pointless. O'Reilly has it in their computer, but not on THEIR shelf. They tell me they can have it tomorrow. The next day they are still trying to locate the several their computer says they have? But somehow nobody has them. I check RA and they can have it to me in three or four days for HALF the cost!

So, yes, after a few 'can't find them' go arounds with the local dealers, I have gone to buying modern DD (daily driver) parts from RA. 

Had one rough one somewhat over a year ago, but it wasn't RA's fault. After not being able to get a required smog check done for a few months because all local smog shops shut down for the virus, my DD Toyota developed an ignition issue just as the shops began to open up again! After checking the local store and running into that same problem again, I ordered from RA. Unfortunately, The USPS in their infinite incompetence decided to send my needed parts from Ohio on a two week tour of the Eastern Seaboard! It was great fun (NOT!) following the daily tracking information as my package went from state to state to state and all the way back around again while I carefully limped my four cylinder DD on necessary errands running on 2 1/2 cylinders! (40mph maximum on the local freeway!) (Which is unavoidable from my house!)

 

So far, I have not needed to return anything. However having heard horror stories of that? I figure a few times saving 50 percent off the local store's price I can afford to forget it if/when I do get a wrong part (as long as it isn't a really expensive part?).

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59 minutes ago, junkyardjeff said:

The only thing I do not like about RA so far  is if you purchase multiple parts they could come from different warehouses and each item will have a separate shipping cost.

 

Who cares? What matters is the TOTAL delivered price for everything, including sales tax and your time and gas money if you buy locally (plus the multiple trips to the local store when their computer lies and the part really ISN'T on the shelf like they said it was...). The math isn't difficult. Buy from the source with the lowest total cost.

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Mike6024,

 

I have purchased many items from Rock Auto. No problems with quality. However, you can purchase various levels of quality depending upon beater-level or super reliability.

 

When it comes to computer-controlled parts, though, I've found it best to purchase OEM parts. They interface properly with the car's computer.

 

With your Toyota, purchase Denso parts. That's what Toyota installs on their cars. Denso parts can usually be found on sites such as Rock Auto.

 

Here's an alternative: There's a Toyota dealership in the Austin, Texas that offers great online discounts.  Go to  https://parts.autonationtoyotasouthaustin.com

 

They have your part for sale for $258. Genuine OEM. I own 6 Toyotas and often find I can buy OEM for the same price as AutoZone or Rock Auto generic.

 

If you like your Camry and want to keep it, I'd buy an OEM/Denso part.

 

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Edited by RansomEli (see edit history)
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Just one caution about RA, well, actually ANY parts source. The on-line catalogs are frequently incorrect. I've got dozens of documented errors on listings for Oldsmobile parts. Frequently this comes straight from the manufacturer's application data, which RA just duplicates. This problem isn't unique to RA by a long shot - one very well known Oldsmobile repro parts vendor has incorrect application info in their catalogs. In other cases, the parts manufacturers have consolidated part numbers to save inventory costs. Again, this isn't RA's fault. One recent example is Carter mechanical fuel pumps. In 1966, Olds had two P/Ns for 442s, one at 6 psi for 4bbls and one at 8 psi for the tri-carb. Carter lists the same P/N for both applications. Clearly one will be wrong. I find that the most reliable way to ensure I get correct parts is to search the factory parts book first, then use google to search that P/N. Sometimes I'll even get NOS parts for sale in the search results. RA lists factory part numbers in the INFO page for each of their items, which you can also search. Allowing for manufacturer part number consolidation, this frequently is the most reliable way to get the correct part from any source.

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And while we are talking about parts for more modern cars, be on the lookout for fake NGK spark plugs sold in various places online.

Most of these reports of fake plugs are from a few years ago but I doubt they have stopped counterfeiting the parts.

This site is not the only place you can find information about the fake parts but this site just happens to have some good pictures to go along with their writeup. 

 

https://www.driven2automotive.com/blog/warning-beware-of-updated-fake-ngk-iridium-ix-spark-plugs-how-to-spot-them-august-2017/

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Here is Rock Auto explained in a well written answer from Quora:

 
RockAuto is a very small company. There are a handful or very smart people in a central office in the Midwest. They have people who know the auto parts business and they have great IT people. They have people with great negotiating skills. They have no inventory, no warehouse, no retail parts counter. They do have an excellent catalog system and e-store, one of the best in the business.
 

So where do their parts come from? From independent warehouse distributors all over the U.S. and in other countries. These WDs have been supplying independent retail and wholesale jobber stores for many years and were doing just fine before RockAuto came along. RockAuto sent people to negotiate with these strong WDs to supply parts, pack them and ship them. These WDs became fulfillment centers for RockAuto, in addition to their traditional business.

 

Because Rockauto has many WDs to fulfill their orders, they facilitate competition among them for the best price. If you are at X price for clutch kits, another WD will adjust their clutch pricing scheme to X-.2% for customer: RockAuto, and the clutch business will shift to them. The first WD notices his Clutch sales through RockAuto have dropped off, so he changes his pricing to X-.5%, and the clutch orders start coming back in on the printer. It’s like a silent auction for the business on each category.

 

There are other factors, such as shipping costs. You don’t want a Seattle WD with a slightly better pricing shipping to Bangor Maine, so shipping is factored in. When you have a list of parts that may come from different WDs it gets complicated.

 

This is all handled automatically by RockAuto’s system. It is a constant process across all product lines, so the end-user gets a very good price.

 

What makes this work is the WD still has that traditional business in his local market, so all his overhead is already covered. RockAuto business is in addition to that, so they can work with a much lower profit margin.

 

Also, every WD has parts that have slowed down and are not moving. Typically they would be able to return those to the manufacturer once a year, usually at a discount and paying freight. By flagging those for deep discounts through RockAuto, they can eliminate dead inventory much more easily and at less expense. Those discontinued parts are usually offered at or below wholesale cost, so they are a great deal if you need them, or expect to need them in the future.

 

In addition, RockAuto makes it all easy for the WD. They provide boxes, packing filler, label printer, PC for incoming orders etc. This PC interfaces with the WD’s inventory system and is connected with the RockAuto system, so it runs itself. All the WD has to do is provide a couple of people to pull the orders, pack them and set them on a pallet for pickup. RockAuto arranges shipping, so there is a pallet for UPS, one for USPS, one for FedEx etc. In return, the WD gets a BIG boost in sales, which also helps them buy better. It’s a nice deal for the WD, and the end-user gets the best possible price.

 

RockAuto has a unique business model, and its a very very good one. Their execution is just as good. If they sold company stock, I would buy it.

 

 

Rex Burkheimer , 40 years experience in automotive parts. Gearhead, racer, DIY.
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8 hours ago, m-mman said:

By flagging those for deep discounts through RockAuto, they can eliminate dead inventory much more easily and at less expense. Those discontinued parts are usually offered at or below wholesale cost, so they are a great deal if you need them, or expect to need them in the future.

I cleaned up on Chevette parts a few years ago when this happened. Some Corvair parts also, except the ones left in the system are usually shared by other GM makes.

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13 hours ago, RansomEli said:

When it comes to computer-controlled parts, though, I've found it best to purchase OEM parts.

 

Yes I am definitely inclined to agree. But the $444.65 price from the dealer really put me off, like they were taking their customers for suckers. And Denso was unavailable otherwise, not on Rock Auto or parts stores. And the other parts I was finding had names I did not recognize, and I was wanting them to say, "built to meet or exceed OEM specifications" but they did not say that. The IAC is a sophisticated part, with a small metal valve actuated by a solenoid, and apparently a temperature sensor.

 

Apparently the Denso is harder to find because my vehicle is 20 years old. I find that had to believe. There are so many on the road. And many Toyota 4 cylinder models use the same IAC. So why is RA not selling a Denso for $200?

 

On the Toyota Forum this is the response I got:

 

Mike6024 said: 
I see you can buy them for $25 or less on Ebay. So why is the dealer telling me $444.65?

Because the Ebay one probaly has <25% chance to work out of the box and last more than a week and the OE one has >99% chance to work and last the rest of the life of the vehicle.

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  • 1 month later...

Been w RockAuto long enough to remember them shipping me lots of different suppliers parts in one larger box. One price shipping as I recall. RA was a bargain to begin with, but as we antiquers know time tells all.

Recently, my last multiple order a handful of suppliers shipping fees are now being pass on to the customers? The idea that RA can manipulate shipping fees (unknown at purchase) for profit bothers me.

and

Early on with RA you could ask inquisitive questions and the RA phone rep would look things up. By eliminating that source and relying on a sales rep's info has been RA's basic failure for us common users. As it was such a business loss for RA, thru incorrect suppliers applications/uses, that now returns are refused RA shipping. 

That's right gentlemen, bad part, wrong part, non-fitting part.  You eat the shipping fees on their mistakes.

 

Sure I'll use RA if there is no other choice, but with the internet giving me 10,000 options, well, I'm in the drivers seat.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, mister2tim said:

The idea that RA can manipulate shipping fees (unknown at purchase) for profit bothers me

 

How do you figure that? When I create an order, RA shows me the shipping price. They also show me which items are available from the same warehouse if I choose to select them. I always see a total price that includes shipping before I complete the order or input my payment info. I always shop this vs. Amazon (who does NOT tell you total price with tax) vs. local stores. I buy wherever the total price is lowest. I also do NOT trust RA's online catalog. I verify part numbers before I ever log in.  I fail to see how RA is "manipulating shipping fees for profit".

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