Aftermarket part fitment - 0 for 2 at Napa today

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Apr 17, 2010
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Holly Springs, NC USA
This weekend's maintenance on the 2014 Soul involved an oil change, tire rotation, front brakes and replacing the cabin air filter. The oil change was uneventful as usual - grabbed an OCOD and some Valvoline 5w-30 off the shelf. I wish I could say the same about everything else. I went to NAPA to get front pads, hardware, and rotors along with the cabin air filter. The Napa Gold cabin air filter didn't fit properly. It measured the same as the OE filter I removed, but was assembled differently - the edges were glued to the pleats on the Napa filter while the OE uses a process similar to the one Champ uses on their Ecore oil filters to attach the end caps. There was excess glue on the Napa filter that squeezed out during manufacturing that stops the filter from sliding in to the tray smoothly. I'll admit it is a tight fit with the OE filter as well... but air filters are supposed to fit tight and the aftermarket suppliers should account for this. I ordered the ProSelect version and will see if that fits better. Not sure if it is a design issue or just a manufacturing defect. The glue job was worse on one side than the other, so I'm thinking it was just poor quality control. I also had issues with the brakes, specifically the hardware that shipped in the box. The pads and rotors fit perfectly, but the hardware was sized incorrectly - looks like it was made for a larger caliper. Thankfully rust isn't an issue down here and I was able to clean and re-use the OE hardware (which looks and works perfectly), at least for now. It will be interesting to find out if it was a case of the wrong part being in the box, or just an outright sizing issue from the supplier. Does anyone have any inside information on how aftermarket suppliers confirm compatibility of parts? Do they actually test fit parts to all cars they spec the part number for? Or do they base sizing and design using the OE part specification. Obviously all the stores base their parts catalogs on data given to them by their suppliers. I guess I could go back to buying OE parts... but that means waiting / parts or going out of my way during the week when I'm in a larger city for work since there aren't any Hyundai or Kia dealers down here. On the other hand, the guys at the local NAPA seem nice and I would much rather support a local business. Hopefully this is an isolated incident.
 
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Rio Rancho, NM
I've tested approximately five different aftermarket air filters for my Montero. OEM has always been superior and cheaper in some cases. I have found better deals on ebay from OEM Mitsu stealers. OEM is supreme for my application. Try ebay if you can wait a couple days. I have a stash of air/oil filters etc. Oh, a family member has a 2003 Ford F150 and the Ford OEM filter is superior too. Good luck! Respectfully, Pajero!
 
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I try not to use NAPA for many things any more. They seem to sell garbage products now and their top of the line stuff isn't better priced than OEM many times. Everything seems to be weird NAPA brands, too. Their oil filter bypass pressure is good for Subaru but OEM filters are cheaper. Unless you buy the super duper cheap ones. I've had better luck at other auto parts stores finding brand names instead of whatever it is NAPA carries now. Even oil filters...NAPA only carries the house brand as far as I can tell. I've been using Amazon a lot more if I know what product number I need.
 
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I got a chinese cabin air filter from walmart for my 02 camry-- the pleats were different, NBD, but the holder is square and I legit couldn't figure out if I was cocked 90 degrees or not. The novelty of replacing these is still fresh, and quality, variable-to-awful.
 
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Originally Posted By: HowAboutThis
I try not to use NAPA for many things any more. They seem to sell garbage products now and their top of the line stuff isn't better priced than OEM many times. Everything seems to be weird NAPA brands, too. Their oil filter bypass pressure is good for Subaru but OEM filters are cheaper. Unless you buy the super duper cheap ones. I've had better luck at other auto parts stores finding brand names instead of whatever it is NAPA carries now. Even oil filters...NAPA only carries the house brand as far as I can tell. I've been using Amazon a lot more if I know what product number I need.
I dont use NAPA either.
 
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I started a topic on this maybe thats why DENSO advertises first time fit my topic something I have never seen an internet article on - how do buyers for autozone or say napa judge the quality level of unknown chinese goods, that they are considering buying. I would think they get proposals from companies, hey we can sell you alternators for $4 less than you are now paying- does some young MBA buyer go to his boss and based on price (ONLY) recommend- lets buy form this company ? even if the vendor they buy from now is fine? and is there any follow on Quality checks or testing once they start buying from a specific vendor? to catch the substitutions some manufacturers make - different parts, cheaper parts, weaker parts, etc? a simple example would be phillips head screws with the cross slots being too shallow
 
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My limited experience has led me to believe that there is a catalog of cheaper parts a NAPA store can select from. This catalog is subject to the economic tides we're all aware of. I also believe a NAPA store can put their noses to the grindstone and get whatever they want. The air conditioning compressor I got for my sister's Jeep at our NAPA is still going strong after 8 years+. I wish I could remember its brand.
 
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Apr 15, 2017
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San Rafael, CA
Around here the local Napa store in town charges quite a bit more than we do for everything. Most parts are $5-50 higher than our prices. I get it, franchised vs corporate owned, but I don't get how people would pay more for the same stuff that's all Dorman or Cardone junk anyway... There is a Carquest in town too and while the store is a tiny dump their ability to get OEM parts fast is unmatched due to being owned by Advance/Worldpac.
 
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Nov 20, 2006
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I usually reuse the original if its in good shape, its stainless so it doesn't rot and only requires a cleaning. The stuff that comes with the pads rarely fits properly, if no OE is available and the originals are hosed I use them knowing they will probably need to be coerced to fit.
 
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All of NAPAs items are name brand items available elsewhere (sometimes for less).NAPA always puts their own brand on its items for name recognition,to hide the actual mamufacturer,and for later return issues (try to return a NAPA part at an Advance Auto store? Nope).Brakes are Brake Parts Inc,NAPA Bearings/seals are SKF,Echlin is Standard Motor products,NAPA filters are WIX,Balkamp is largely Dorman,NAPA Belts/Hose is Gates,NAPA Radiators are Spectra Premium,Calipers are Cardone,CV shafts are Cardone,NAPA Small engine/marine is Sierra/Standard Motor Products,NAPA oil is Valvoline,Evercraft is imported from same sources as Performance Tool/Wilmar,it goes on and on.NAPA only does its own rebuilt starters/alternators.. So whatever goes wrong in a NAPA box,could go wrong elsewhere.
 
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Jan 29, 2012
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Canada
Buying auto parts in general these days is confusing because of all the rebranding/reboxing. I do prefer RockAuto these days. Even though 20% of the stuff there are just rebrands, atleast you get a big enough selection to make a judgement call by researching the brands, comparing images, etc... Napa's premium vs economy parts comparison is almost meaningless because you have no idea who actually made it. It's just a price point metric based on where they sourced it. Typically, the premium stuff should be sourced from higher tier suppliers, but I have also seen some parts where the premium and economy is the exact same part, but just at different price points because of the sub-supplier they got it from. Two different sub suppliers might get the part from the exact same manufacturer, but one supplier might mark up the part more than the other for the sake of filling a certain price point category in their inventory of reboxed parts. An example would be ball joints for Japanese vehicles. Both Napa Premium and Moog will often get these from Sankei 555 who is the actual manufacturer and market + price these higher in the premium category. If you look through the "economy" listings, sometimes you see the picture of the exact part with the 555 stamping but for much cheaper under an off brand. I know I've compared some AC Delco "Advantage" vs "Professional" ball joints and despite the 2x price on the "Professional", both parts looked identical. For mission critical parts, or stuff that is hard to replace I don't even bother taking the chance anymore and will just get something OEM even if it costs a bit more. The great thing about RockAuto is that they do carry alot of parts from OEM suppliers like Motorcraft, Mopar, etc...
 
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I found out just last week that NAPA is now using Mevotech as their supplier of so called premium parts. They are garbage and not worth the price of scrap metal. Avoid these parts if at all possible. They were Spicer then Moog and now this, things are going downhill fast at NAPA.
 
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007

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Clermont, Fl
I used to believe NAPA GOLD products were the best. Now I hear the company was bought out and all the part suppliers have changed. Has anyone else heard this?
 
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Jun 27, 2007
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Near Mobile
Got a starter for my Miata from the local Napa a few years ago. They gave me the wrong part and didn't want to take it back, because they said it was the right part but my mechanic didn't know how to instal it. I asked for the number of their national site so I could get it straightened out and the manager unhappily gave my money back. I haven't been back since.
 

jim302

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Holly Springs, NC USA
Originally Posted By: 007
I used to believe NAPA GOLD products were the best. Now I hear the company was bought out and all the part suppliers have changed. Has anyone else heard this?
The parent company of NAPA hasn't changed to my knowledge. It is still owned by Genuine Parts Company, as it has been since 1925. It is unfortunate to hear that others have seen decreases in quality though, as NAPA always felt like they were a step up from the other chain stores when it comes to part quality. Staff and service were largely dependent on the individual owner... around here their staff has always been good and seemed like they enjoyed and were knowledgeable about working with cars rather than just being there to collect a paycheck. CarQuest is the one that was bough out (by Advance Auto Parts), and some of their suppliers did change which were likely related to the ownership change rather than just the normal course of business. Some CQ stores remain, but many converted to Advance and some closed. Advance now uses CarQuest for their house brand parts.
 
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Originally Posted By: 007
I used to believe NAPA GOLD products were the best. Now I hear the company was bought out and all the part suppliers have changed. Has anyone else heard this?
I haven't heard that but IMO the problem stems from trying to compete with these corporate chain store scrap dealers. When a retailer gets in bed with a company like Mevotech, its a fast slide downhill. The consumers are hurting themselves in their never ending quest for cheap prices and % off coupons along with complaining about dealer prices, it wont be long before the only quality part available is from the dealers parts bin. Then they got what they ordered.
 
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Minnesota
I've had similar experiences over the past couple of years with both NAPA and Advance. I'll typically only purchase OEM parts now even if they are quite a bit more expensive. Generally, i'm only replacing something once in a vehicles life so why bother with the hassle. I use OEM oil filters and air filters etc too, they always fit right the first time and are hardly more expensive than aftermarket. Some suspension parts I will go outside of OEM if they have a better design. IE, on our Toyota Sienna, the OEM sway bar links have no wrench nut to grab onto. They only have a [censored] hex socket in the end of the stud that runs through the bar. Once rusted the hex always strips out and you have to cut them off (which is what I did). I went with MOOG as they are greasable and have a wrench nut for tightening/loosening.
 
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