Great stories. There are many, many mechanics that can't troubleshoot their way out of a paper bag.
Very insightful post. I work for Napa Auto Parts and we see this kind of stuff every day. I am proud to work for a company that has just a little better quality control then some of the "other" after market suppliers. But I also agree with what you just said. Many times parts from other suppliers are the exact same part just re boxed and sold under their label. There are only so many manufacture's for a part and re boxing is how we get our share of the pie.I have never used a reman axle from Auto Zone. I have from other parts suppliers and have not had any problems.
What you need to understand about the parts business is that the parts companies buy products from manufacturers and sell them. Like a grocer. You find the same brand in all the stores, with slight difference in price or packaging. That house brand bread was actually made by Rainbow, just for example. Its the same blend, different package. The downside of Auto Zone is that they have a poor house brand across the board because the manufacturing specs are reduced in quality. Reduced quality equals reduced price. I do know that their electrical parts are poor.
Now, in comparison with OE parts: The auto manufacturers do not manufacture their parts. The engineers design the build for the part and contract it out to the actual manufacturer. Denso, Mitsubishi Electric, NGK, Bosch, Gates, to name a few, manufacture the parts then ship to the factory. Now, when you find that you can't get the part anywhere except the dealer, or get the one that actually works, it is because the Auto Manufacturer has locked up production and bought the rights to hold for a determined number of years, before that part can be offered in the aftermarket. That's why some aftermarket parts just don't work on a Subaru. They are not made to exact specification. Just close, not perfect. Until the production rights are released, the aftermarket can only make and sell inferior parts.
You ever get that part from the store down the street and the plug is slightly off? It wasn't an accident. That slight change allows them to sell it as a part that will fit, although incorrect. Same with the electronics, the resistance built within can be out by .001 and pass as a working part, but the PCM will see it different.
That's okay. They won't be anyone's customers for long..."Somewhere there is a person willing to make something a little worse and sell it for slightly less. Anyone who considers price ONLY, is this man's lawful prey."
one problem is, there are plenty of folks that will walk into a parts store and say; "I need the cheapest brake pads (or fan belt, or transmission fluid) you have." and if you don't have something to sell him, he'll go down the street and leave his money with your competitor.
I wish I had seen this before I took my son's 2002 in for a cat converter. I just got back with the car 10 minutes ago. It BETTER pass SI now that they did the work. They (Georgetown Subaru) told me it needed a few 20 mile cycles to reset the fault.Another customer comes from a lube shop that also does state inspections where a tech school student doing the inspection relayed to him that he needed a catalytic converter since his car failed inspection for a P0420. He came to me. I replaced the stuck open thermostat, $105, problem solved.
Weren't you buy the shop for an oil change on a 13 OB? Came back because the oil level light came on then went off? Pflugerville?I wish I had seen this before I took my son's 2002 in for a cat converter. I just got back with the car 10 minutes ago. It BETTER pass SI now that they did the work. They (Georgetown Subaru) told me it needed a few 20 mile cycles to reset the fault.
On the way home I realize he needs a new clutch and brake work.
Do you have your own shop? I'd like to contact you.