Automotive

Auto parts - dealership vs. rockauto vs others

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  • Dec 9th, 2021 5:06 pm
[OP]
Member
Oct 27, 2012
381 posts
343 upvotes
Shwa

Auto parts - dealership vs. rockauto vs others

Im looking at changing the spark plugs, and wire set for my silverado.

Just regular OEM AC Delco stuff.

Spark plugs
Dealership - $ 21.55 ea + tax
APC (Auto Parts Centre) $14.09 + tax
Rockauto - $7.82 + tax & shipping

Wire Set
Dealership - $228.07
APC - $73.08
Rockauto - $80.71

Why is there such a huge price difference between the dealership and auto parts stores If it's OEM AC Delco brand stuff? Do the parts stores get inferior products?
18 replies
Deal Guru
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Mar 13, 2004
12843 posts
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Ontario
Parts in the USA are much cheaper then up here in Canada. Also Rockauto buys in big bulk i would imagine so they likely get a bigger discount. The dealer & parts store here need to pay for Shipping/tax/pay their employees etc & still make a profit. I would buy from RockAuto and with the money saved use it for other maintenance items like, filters/PCV Valve/fuel filter/rotor/cap etc

jookid wrote: Im looking at changing the spark plugs, and wire set for my silverado.

Just regular OEM AC Delco stuff.

Spark plugs
Dealership - $ 21.55 ea + tax
APC (Auto Parts Centre) $14.09 + tax
Rockauto - $7.82 + tax & shipping

Wire Set
Dealership - $228.07
APC - $73.08
Rockauto - $80.71

Why is there such a huge price difference between the dealership and auto parts stores If it's OEM AC Delco brand stuff? Do the parts stores get inferior products?
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
6715 posts
2449 upvotes
BC
The subtle difference between O.E. (Original Equipment) and O.E.M. (Original Equipment Manufacturer) might be a factor.

While AC Delco is an OEM for GM, the parts they provide to the factory and the dealership parts dept. could be a bit higher quality from what goes out to jobbers (wholesale parts distributors) and retail auto parts places.

Not always the case, but how are you going to tell? Talk to an experienced professional mechanic.
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 2, 2006
6331 posts
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Toronto, ON
jookid wrote: Im looking at changing the spark plugs, and wire set for my silverado.

Just regular OEM AC Delco stuff.

Spark plugs
Dealership - $ 21.55 ea + tax
APC (Auto Parts Centre) $14.09 + tax
Rockauto - $7.82 + tax & shipping

Wire Set
Dealership - $228.07
APC - $73.08
Rockauto - $80.71

Why is there such a huge price difference between the dealership and auto parts stores If it's OEM AC Delco brand stuff? Do the parts stores get inferior products?
Go with rockauto unless you plan on going to the US to pick stuff up. Rock auto with their pre-paid duties Fedex is a good deal. Apply a 5% coupon code and it's slightly cheaper. Look at the savings you're going to get. $15per plug + $150 for the wires. That's a great deal. And AC Delco and similar are good quality parts.
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Deal Fanatic
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Jan 6, 2011
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GTA
For small order batch, is it cheaper to re-route to Oregon (than to Canadian addresses)? instead of crossing at Niagara Fall? 7% differential but shipping could more than offset that.
Sr. Member
Mar 22, 2004
667 posts
462 upvotes
London, ON
How are you getting parts/pricing at APC? Looks like you need to have an account with them? Do they only deal with shops?
Deal Addict
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Nov 2, 2008
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Just buy on RA. They have buying power, unlike most of Canadian retailers.

*I'd advise making the purchase worth it by stocking up on air/cabin/oil filters for 4-5$ lol (from the same warehouse to keep shipping down).

I use RA for preventative items and put in an order for a few vehicles at a time, otherwise I use the local parts store.
ncnmra wrote: How are you getting parts/pricing at APC? Looks like you need to have an account with them? Do they only deal with shops?
You can make friends with the counter guy... I get Toyota/Lexus parts at cost/jobber rates since I was friendly with the staff.
[OP]
Member
Oct 27, 2012
381 posts
343 upvotes
Shwa
ncnmra wrote: How are you getting parts/pricing at APC? Looks like you need to have an account with them? Do they only deal with shops?
I just called them up.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
17804 posts
8629 upvotes
The dealer will have different levels of pricing. An individually typically pays the retail price, or close to it. A shop will pay much less (then bill out it's customer at retail price).

That's why a dealer will always seem significantly more expensive - you are paying full retail.
Sr. Member
Feb 27, 2007
571 posts
383 upvotes
Just go with APC; from your price list it looks like they're within $5-7 of Rockauto before shipping and taxes/duties.

For the small amount extra it will be more than worth it to not have to deal with sending something back if there's an issue, and that's not calculating in the duty and shipping that might make the Rockauto part more.
Sr. Member
Jul 26, 2010
925 posts
88 upvotes
eastern Ontario
LongLiveRFD wrote: For small order batch, is it cheaper to re-route to Oregon (than to Canadian addresses)? instead of crossing at Niagara Fall? 7% differential but shipping could more than offset that.
I once compared shipping to my door about 30 minutes from Ogdensburg or shipping to Ogdensburg. It was only $20 difference.I figured it was worth $20 to stay at home.
Sr. Member
Jul 26, 2010
925 posts
88 upvotes
eastern Ontario
Shipping can be real quirky from Rockauto. I just ordered rear brakes and rotors. Shipping was $53 cdn. The I found some spark plugs from same warehouse. Added set for corolla and the boots. Shipping still 53. Then I added some spark plugs for my small engine work. I added 10 plugs. Shipping jumped to 93. Reduced from 10 to 1 and shipping was again 53. So adding in a plug at a time 7 stayed at 53 and 8 jumped to 93. So I bought 7.
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Jan 6, 2011
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38racing wrote: I once compared shipping to my door about 30 minutes from Ogdensburg or shipping to Ogdensburg. It was only $20 difference.I figured it was worth $20 to stay at home.
Just added similar parts as OP (shipped from 2 locations) and checked the total paments:
1. Shipping direct to home or shop address in Canada: CAD$28.12+13% custom tax
2. Shipping to reshipper in NY Niagara Falls: CAD$16.60+8% tax, Of course, add Canadian custom tax, reshipper fees.
3. Shipping to reshipper in OR Portland: CAD$15.32+0% sales tax, plus custom tax and increased reshipper fees.

So yes, it seems shipping a small spark plug job directly is cheaper, assuming you don't get dinged by surprise custom duties or taxes. It's also likely Canadian custom would add State sales tax as part of the 13% tax base. However, the shipping charges could still change the outcome due to bulk or weight, or ship from even more locations.
Deal Addict
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Nov 7, 2016
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Ontario
38racing wrote: Shipping can be real quirky from Rockauto. I just ordered rear brakes and rotors. Shipping was $53 cdn. The I found some spark plugs from same warehouse. Added set for corolla and the boots. Shipping still 53. Then I added some spark plugs for my small engine work. I added 10 plugs. Shipping jumped to 93. Reduced from 10 to 1 and shipping was again 53. So adding in a plug at a time 7 stayed at 53 and 8 jumped to 93. So I bought 7.
Sometimes it better at RockAuto to break up orders into smaller ones...
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Nov 2, 2005
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38racing wrote: I once compared shipping to my door about 30 minutes from Ogdensburg or shipping to Ogdensburg. It was only $20 difference.I figured it was worth $20 to stay at home.
It depends on the item/weight. Shipping for full front and rear brake kit for my vehicle is $155 to my home or $55 to Ogdensburg. Given the current situation I just ended up buying locally.
38racing wrote: Shipping can be real quirky from Rockauto. I just ordered rear brakes and rotors. Shipping was $53 cdn. The I found some spark plugs from same warehouse. Added set for corolla and the boots. Shipping still 53. Then I added some spark plugs for my small engine work. I added 10 plugs. Shipping jumped to 93. Reduced from 10 to 1 and shipping was again 53. So adding in a plug at a time 7 stayed at 53 and 8 jumped to 93. So I bought 7.
You need to watch if they're shipping from multiple locations. They maybe only had 7 plugs in stock at the warehouse the other stuff was coming from. Add that 8th plug and you end up shipping from 2 warehouses and the cost almost doubles. If you're not too picky on brands they have tools to help you minimize the shipping cost.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 17, 2007
6038 posts
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Mort Réal
Always been happy with Rock Auto, been using them for 1+ decade. But my last order was a complete wreck.
They listed the wrong part for my car model, which I only realized once the car was sitting on the stands, the old part taken off, and the new one didn't fit.
On top of that, because they said shipped me the "correct" part number, they tried to argue that it was my fault, not theirs. I had to really argue back & forward with them for a week to get them to approve a refund, and even then, they only offered a return, not an exchange for the correct part that would fit. So I would have to re-order and pay again for the shipping to get the correct part (which, as those of you who order from them know, is disproportianally high when you order just one part as opposed to a big combined order).

Also, the refund was for the wrong amount, I asked them to correct it, and basically they just stopped replying to me. It's only a few dollars so I pretty much gave up at this point. They have lost my business :(

Very dishearthening (+unexpected too based on past experience) and, too bad it appears they cannot be trusted anymore. They were my go to so such a long time.
I can't afford to buy cheap stuff. Therefore, I'm thirsty for deals on durable goods.
Deal Addict
Sep 12, 2004
1565 posts
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Ajax
WHO wrote: Always been happy with Rock Auto, been using them for 1+ decade. But my last order was a complete wreck.
They listed the wrong part for my car model, which I only realized once the car was sitting on the stands, the old part taken off, and the new one didn't fit.
On top of that, because they said shipped me the "correct" part number, they tried to argue that it was my fault, not theirs. I had to really argue back & forward with them for a week to get them to approve a refund, and even then, they only offered a return, not an exchange for the correct part that would fit. So I would have to re-order and pay again for the shipping to get the correct part (which, as those of you who order from them know, is disproportianally high when you order just one part as opposed to a big combined order).

Also, the refund was for the wrong amount, I asked them to correct it, and basically they just stopped replying to me. It's only a few dollars so I pretty much gave up at this point. They have lost my business :(

Very dishearthening (+unexpected too based on past experience) and, too bad it appears they cannot be trusted anymore. They were my go to so such a long time.
So where are you planning to buy the parts from going forward that can match rockauto's price?
Deal Addict
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Aug 30, 2020
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Rockauto been garbage for a long time. Use their catalog to search for part #, then buy them on amazon. Free shipping over $35, better prices, and better return policy.
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Feb 17, 2007
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Efx wrote: So where are you planning to buy the parts from going forward that can match rockauto's price?
Shop around, I guess local parts stores or partsavatar.ca and the like, or, alas, Amazon...

For parts that are outrageously cheaper and are universal fit (wipers, oil filters, etc) I guess once could flip a coin and order through Rock Auto, You would have to be absolutely convinced there will be no issue besause, evidently, even if the mistake comes from them, they will not come through for you.
I can't afford to buy cheap stuff. Therefore, I'm thirsty for deals on durable goods.

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