We don’t have to tell you that cars are a common fixture in America. Nearly every adult in the country owns one, making it so there are approximately 250 million on the road.
While cars are great given that they get us to where we need to go, they can also prove to be a headache when they’re not working as they should. Things like odd noises or trouble starting are almost certain to land you in an auto parts store looking for solutions.
The question is, which is the best auto parts store online or in your area that you can do business with?
If you’re weighing where to award your business when it comes to your automotive needs, keep reading as our team shares some helpful observations and questions you can ask yourself to steer your decision.
Consider What’s Local
There are a lot of best auto parts store contenders both online and off. Our recommendation is if you have a great brick-and-mortar store in your community, give them your preference over online competitors.
The main reason for that is the convenience being able to pop into a store the day you need a part provides versus waiting for an item to come in the mail. Also, supporting local businesses in an age where eCommerce giants are eating up competition is never a bad thing.
Bottom line, when seeking an auto parts store, make a shortlist of shops in your area and start your search there.
Do You Need a Specialty Store?
A run of the mill auto parts store will cover the needs of 8 out of 10 people. The leftover 20% or so may need special help.
Specialty auto shops carry hard to find, niche parts for luxury cars, sports cars, or cutting-edge electric vehicles (Teslas for example). If your car isn’t something you can find on a regular car lot, you may need to focus your auto parts shop search on specialty purveyors rather than more generalist shops in your area.
What Are People Saying?
As you develop a shortlist of auto shops that may be worth visiting, rather than popping into every single one, save yourself time and see what former customers have to say about your prospects. This can be done by going through online review boards.
Chances are, an auto shop you’re considering has more than a few reviews on sites like Yelp or Google. See what the consensus is and avoid shops that receive consistently bad feedback.
Is Shopping Online the Way to Go?
Sometimes, shopping online makes sense. This is usually true if urgency isn’t a factor and if you can find a shop with shipping rates aren’t exorbitant.
Make no mistake that shipping on heavy auto parts can drive up the cost of your transaction significantly. Ensure that discounts online retailers give on parts make it so added shipping costs don’t create a cost-prohibitive buying experience.
What Does a Store’s Daily Inventory Look Like?
Whether you’re browsing the best auto parts store or the worst one, you’ll at least occasionally run into the dreaded, “We don’t have that part but we can order it.”
Sure, auto part shops can’t be expected to carry every conceivable part that customers need. Still, in today’s day in age, if a local shop needs to order a part for you, you’re probably better off ordering it yourself.
That’s why it’s important to pick a shop that seems to have a good inventory on-hand at all times. A well-stocked inventory will save you the frustration having to wait around for parts to be delivered.
How Helpful Are Service Reps?
In our book, service matters when choosing who to award business to. If you’re getting odd vibes from the shops you’re considering or find that reps don’t know as much about cars as you’d like, move on.
There are too many qualified, passionate parts salespeople out there for you to waste your time with a business that doesn’t share those qualities.
Does the Store Do OEM, Aftermarket, or Both?
Most auto parts stores will do both OEM parts and aftermarket parts. For the uninitiated, an OEM part is one that’s made directly by a car’s manufacturer. That means that an OEM tailpipe you might buy for an NC Miata would be made by Mazda.
Aftermarket parts are made by third-parties that essentially copy OEM designs and sell parts at a lower price.
You can find quality OEM and aftermarket parts. Still, some buyers have a preference so make sure that the shop you’re considering caters to yours.
What Does Your Gut Say?
You may run through this whole list of best auto parts store considerations only to find that two or three of your options fit the bill. At that point, the best thing you can do to make your final decision is to go with your gut.
Remember, no matter which auto parts shop you choose to do business with, if they let you down in the future, nothing is keeping you from moving onto your second or third choice.
The Best Auto Parts Store in Your Area Is Waiting and Ready for Your Business
There are ample businesses out there that are passionate about cars and ready to help you get your vehicle working its best.
Take the time to find that best auto parts store in your area and believe us when we say that you’ll be happy about having put forth the effort!
We wish you and your vehicle well and welcome you to check out more of the newest content on our lifestyle blog.