Gold Founding Member
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: the Seasonally Frozen Wastelands
Re: What has happened with NAPA
Hundreds of years ago, when I worked for a living, I bought all my normal replacement parts at NAPA because they were the only parts house that had Sunday opening--and most of my wrenching was done on Sunday. Worked out nice, as NAPA was only a mile or so from where I lived, and right on the "Main Drag" so it was very easy to get to.
NAPA was my parts-house of choice for decades. Still is for stuff I'm buying locally--typically OEM replacements I have to have "Now" or "Tomorrow". Hot-roddy stuff or stuff I'm buying in advance of a project get ordered from Summit, Amazon, Jegs, etc.
NAPA has also been in decline for the entire time I've been doing business with them. Unfortunately, the decline has been throughout the industry. NOBODY in the parts business is trustworthy any more, because they're all selling the same junk from the same manufacturers, but perhaps boxed with different-colored logos and different part numbers.
Reboxing (buying in bulk from an outside supplier, then putting the product in a custom-logo package) is both exceedingly common, and the slippery slope that will kill this industry.
And don't think things are different at the Stealership. My Lumina needed an outside mirror due to collision damage. Original mirror was made in Canada, and had beautiful finish except for some stone chips after 14 years. Replacement Genuine GM in a sealed box--Made in China, the finish went from gloss black to matte grey in six months. Jucking Funk and three times the price of aftermarket.
The best thing NAPA ever did for me? They let me "behind the counter". I was roaming the stockroom looking for bulk battery cable, and saw a bunch of parts books (ACTUAL PAPER CATALOGS) sitting on the shelf. They let me have one of each. The "Illustrated Parts Guides" are a treasure-trove of useful information. There's a photo of each part, a listing of what vehicles they fit, and often some specs about the thing, like what temperature or pressure turns the switch on, or range-of-motion, or whatever that make sourcing parts for a hot-rod project much easier. Also helps to determine the part number of crap that has been hanging around bare on the garage shelf for seven years
I tried to get similar catalogs out of CarQuest. The manager said he'd get some for me, but never did.
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