Just a rant on auto parts stores

For the most part I quit shopping for auto parts at the brick and mortar stores due to high prices. I mostly shop for parts on rockauto. Today I was reminded again why I don’t support the local stores. The alternator went out on my wifes 17 Rav4 (about 150,000 miles). I price shopped online and local stores. The alternator is about $120 on rockauto and nearly $300 in the local stores. I reluctantly purchased in the local store as my wife is driving our secondary vehicle (F350 dually) and she is going to complain tonight about how rough the truck rides. Plus it will only get about 9 MPG. So ordering online and waiting for delivery, I will eat up most of the savings in much higher fuel cost.

It is one thing to charge a reasonable premium for the local stores but charging 200-500% premium is just insane. It is reasons like this why, the B&M stores are closing at record numbers. These B&M stores were on the ropes before covid and covid is going to be the death blow to many retail stores.

I have tried to get a computer chip key for my kids car for almost two weeks.
Ace Hardware is able to do it, but they only have one staff who is capable.
When I called the other day they told me that they had the blank in stock, but neglected to tell me that the person who could make them was not working that day.
So when my wife and son went in they told them that they couldn’t do it, so my wife made an appointment for today at 4.
When my son went in at 4 to get the key made, the guy that could make it is at lunch, and has been for about 2 hours because my son went there after school just in case he was in and could get it done sooner and he was at lunch then.

Same brand of part? And what about core charge?

I haven’t bought car parts in years. They’re just so much more reliable now days and I have no interest in replacing parts.

Comparing apples to apples. In addition to the prices noted above, there was additional core charges.

I enjoy working on vehicles as long as it is not something that I need done today. I have pretty decent personal shop in a 1500 sqft building. As soon as I build a new shop, I will get a lift or two. I don’t have the headroom in my current shop for a lift. My favorite wrenching is building engines. I recently purchased my own tire mounter and balancer. I got tired of going to a tire shop and waiting for them to screw something up. I go through a ton of tires so it will actually pay for itself in a few years. Plus it will be a major time saver. I live way out in the sticks so going to a tire shop is rather inconvenient. God forbid I get a flat on a weekend. There was a tire shop in my small town at reasonable prices. When they closed (the owner was appointed fire chief), the other mechanics in town quickly raised their rates. My 3 year old daughter has helped me many times change a tire. By the time she is big enough to use the jack, she will be able to do things that millennials will never know how to do.

I grew up working on cars then for years didn’t have a place to work on them. My most recent cars have been oddly reliable. It took 10 years before I have to change tires. The brakes never needed to be changed. Very strange.

Also around here, the quality of counter help at the retail parts stores is really bad. I buy lots of parts, all three of my vehicles have over 200k miles. There always needs to be a repair on a least on of them. Buy almost every thing online. I have never got a part that had to be special ordered from a parts store that was correct. Almost never have an issue online.