Advance Auto Parts

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Advance Auto Parts

Post by vwgirl on Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:23 pm

Owning 23 cars, I buy a LOT of parts. I buy parts from all of the local chains, I buy parts online from specialty places like GoWesty and The Thing Shop, I buy from local import shops... I spend lots of money every year on parts... So why is it I ever buy from a place like Advance Auto Parts? I have more trouble than success from them. I cannot remember the last competent person I spoke to at one of there stores that even knew what a Volkswagen bus was... even when I brought it up there to have a battery tested the guy asked "what kind of car is this?" Seriously? I know my bus is old, but with the following it's had I would think that most people... even more so someone in an automotive field... would have some type of clue as to what it is.

So what is today's rant? Defective parts and warranties. Of all the chains, Advance is the only one to my knowledge that does not have a national database that carries your information from store to store. So you are faced with either keeping the receipt, or remembering which store you purchased a particular item from... I would go with keeping a COPY of the receipt... because it seems like they don't feel like registering their warranties in their system, and certainly won't bother to look it up through transactions for you. Why a copy? because the paper they print out for you will fade within a year, especially if it is exposed to heat or sunlight... then you might as well not have it at all.

I've had several instances, with several stores over the past couple of months. The first was with a master cylinder I purchased last year. It was actually bad when I got it, but I never got around to returning it because it was out of the way and only $20. I no longer wanted to return it, I wanted to exchange it. I was offered to be refunded the $20 for the one I had and then purchase one for $100. WTF? What kind of lifetime warranty is that? I had a spare for my other car so I ended up using it... still haven't settled that matter.

The latest instance happened on the way back from Bug Jam. I had replaced my coil (in a pinch) with one from Advance on Windy Hill. I was heading out camping and mine cut out on me and they had it in stock for $25 or so. I grabbed it and went on my way. Everything was fine on that trip, on the way down to FL, and part of the way back. Part way back my bus started having a little issue that felt like it was cutting out for a second... something I thought had been corrected with the coil replacement. I checked everything in the engine compartment and it all looked good... except the coil was seeping fluid... So I called the Advance on University Ave in Gainesville FL to see about a replacement. I explained that I had purchased the coil about six weeks ago and needed a replacement. The Manager, Justin, replied that they would have to order it and that it would be $100 (funny how all warrantied parts seem to come up $100). I told him that he must have looked up the wrong part and to look again, he declined to do so and said he knew what he was doing, and he hung up on me! I called another store in the area and they too had to order it, but at least they had the right price. I told her my situation and she said if I bought the part elsewhere I could just return their defective one. So I went to Autozone who had what I needed in stock, changed it in the parking lot, and hit the interstate back home.

Today I grabbed the old coil and took it to the Advance on Powder Springs Rd. The girl there called the Windy Hill store and had them look by my name and number, but the store could not find record of my purchase, so she asked her manager, Lester, for assistance. I advised the manager of everything that happened and said I just wanted a refund. he said he could either exchange it for another coil or give me store credit. I told him I can give him the exact date and the approximate time (I knew it was before 11 and after Cool that I purchased it and they could look it up. I also commented that they DO NOT have it in stock to swap it out... Why would i want a store credit when they can't ever warranty or stock anything I need? He said that is all he could do.

So now I have this bad coil... I am going to have to spend my time finding the receipt that was just thrown in the bus because I was literally on my way out of town to go camping when I purchased it... and it should have been registered for the warranty in their system on the date that I purchased it in the first place. Basically I am inconvenienced because someone did not do their job right and no one cares to go back and fix it. Imagine if this were 6 months or a year down the road... I wouldn't have a clue where the receipt was... I think I am just going to stick to places that have got it together so I do not have this problem anymore... Autozone pulls up pages on me when I have to exchange something under warranty... from all of the many stores I have purchased from for more than a decade...

sorry for the long rant... but I would rather write it than dig for that receipt... i don't know that it is even worth $25 to look for it...

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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Grifspop on Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:40 pm

Seems like a manilla folder marked "VW Bus" would be a great place to toss your receipts when you got home, I know that I have one for each car, truck and motorcyle that I own
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by vwgirl on Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:46 pm

Grifspop wrote:Seems like a manilla folder marked "VW Bus" would be a great place to toss your receipts when you got home, I know that I have one for each car, truck and motorcyle that I own

actually I have a nice green book of all the receipts for this car (Bus wouldn't work anyway... would have to differentiate the other buses)... which also houses the original bill of sale and window sticker... but this was something that was done on the road... and i don't often empty out my bus... and as long as i buy the part elsewhere i never have a problem... The other cars all have a manilla folder... but again... the receipts these days are made to fade... so most of them are not legible.

I called the store where i bought it and the manager returned it... he said the other manager should have done so as well... so i had to take an extra hour out of my day to go return a $25 part... really not so much worth it... but at least I have one less extra part lying around... now if only I can get them to find a master cylinder for my T3 to warranty out...

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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Grifspop on Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:49 pm

BTW, I'm not trying to belittle you, I know how frustrating it is to replace parts that have already been replaced. I purchased a starter for a GMC Jimmy that I once owned, had to replace it 3 times under warranty.

I think that they put a lifetime warranty on parts because 70% of folks can't put their hands on the receipt when they need to.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Grifspop on Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:51 pm

I've noticed the receipts fade also, must be part of their evil master plan......
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by vwgirl on Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:26 pm

I'm just sayin... I don't have these issues from the other parts places... just advance...

I have been to this orielly's down the street twice... each time for a different car... the guy even remembered what my other car was...

I guess it's just a matter of the quality of people that are hired... some are just there for a paycheck... some are there because they actually know something about cars

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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Bugman114 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:57 pm

Sorry to hear that you've had soo many prroblems. i work at the advance auto in ellenwood, and i know how frustrating it can be with parts like that. Tho i've only been working there for almost a year. if i were you i would call the advance auto 1-800 number and complain about that particular store, and the other store who hung up on you. the company takes calls like that seriously, and if they find out that what you said was true, and they hung up on you they will most likely get fired.

And yes, it is wierd that our stores aren't connected. not sure why. i read in one of the newsletters that are distributed to the workers, they they do plan to implenemt that soon. the problem is, that the last time they changed the system (back in 2005 or 2006), all the warrenty info was lost, so if you do plan on buying something from advance, i would highly recommend you do keep a manila folder at home with all your reciepts, because if they do change the system, all your info will most likely be lost again. i have a folder at home specifically for this, and i have recipts dating all the way back to 2001 and they are still clear, and readable. i keep that folder inside the house, so i'm not sure what would happen if you kept them in a garage. i would think the heat and cold might fade them, but not sure.

You can return or exchange ANY part at ANY advance store, but you just have to know what store you bought it from, and if you forgot the phone number you had it under, they can search by the last name. ALL stores have a list of every advance auto store in georgia. all they do is call the store, get the long barcode # (found right above the barcode on the recipt), the guy at the counter types that in, and it pops up. if you go t an advace and they tell you they have no way of contacting another store, or that you can't exchange a part at another store, then they are lying. ask for a manager. if that doesn't work, call that 1-800 number. i can't remember what the number is, but its posted right next to the door, and its also supposed to be posted right in front of the registers.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Bugman114 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:01 pm

Oh, and i'm not like most of the people who work at parts stores. i know my stuff, lol. in fact, everyone i work with is always askin me questions about stuff, even the managers, lol. infact at most stores, the managers are usually the ones who know the least about cars, they just know the store or company system. when you apply to the store, they don't even ask if you know about cars or anything. most of the people that most parts stores hire, don't know squat about cars. A few of my co-workers who know a little bit about cars, learned that from working at the store for years, not from actually working on them, lol.

I actually just took my ASE test. i took the P2 parts test. i haven't gotten the results yet, but if i passed, i'll be the only person in the store who has actually passed the ASE test.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Grifspop on Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:16 pm

A lot of the parts stores rely on their computers, not the person behind the counter for knowledge of auto parts.

I went to Pep Boys with a friend of mine to buy a starter for his 1970 Monte Carlo.
So he says, "I need a starter for a '70 Monte Carlo with a 350"

The guy looks in the computer and says "is that a 6 cylinder or V-8?"

Scared us that the guy didn't know a chevy 350 was a V-8, but somehow we got the right part.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Bugman114 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:58 pm

the auto zone down the street is run by a bunch of tards. seriously, no one there knows shit about cars. i went there a while back with a friend, who needed to redo the front suspension on his car (nissan altima i think). we layed down the control arm with ball joint, all the bushings, and the sway bar on the counter. we said we need ALL of this for a 199X nissan altima (don't remember what the car was, he wrecked it a month later). the guy at the counter said "so what do you need?". i said "all of this, the control arm, with ball joint, the sway bar bushings, the struts, etc." as he looked up the struts, he said "what else?" he had no idea what everything was on the counter. we said "screw it" and went to advance (this was before i started working there.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by petervalle on Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:01 pm

Here we go! I am an Assitant Manager in an Advance Auto Parts near Savannah GA. I know your frustration and I am sorry you have to go through this. Let me start with telling you that to work there, you do not have to know anything about cars, as long as you can pass that stupid test, that asks you where do you put the coolant in the radiator. Bugman is correct, if you do not tell a sales person the exact name and part description, more than 90% of the employees would not know how to look it up. I am a Commercial Parts Salesman, and the way I work is, a customer would call me, "I need a starter for a 350". I do not have to ask model, make, year or even the color of the car, like everyone else. Employees should be better prepared.

Anyway, PLEASE CALL THE 1-800 NUMBER AND FILE A COMPLAIN. This managers, and employees will not work for the company long and you will save many, many people the same problems you are having.

Yes, the receipts are made to fade out. and the system will only keep them for 2 years, even if the part has a lifetime warranty. All the managers at my store and myself tell people to make regular copies of the receipts and keep them safe.
Now the sad part of the story....A store manager makes comission of every store sale. If I sell $20 more than the budget, I will get a commision. If you come in to return a $21 part, WELL>>>> I will not make the commision at the end of the week, because I have a negative day. If I give you a refund on a part that was purchased in another store, it would impact me as a negative shrink and it would hurt my sales.

Please do not think that all stores are the same, it is the employees at that store. If you are my customer and you need a part NOW!, I will buy it in Auto Zone for $40 and sell it to you for $20; taking a hit in my budget. I believe in helping everyone. I recently opened an account with summit racing. I am supposed to mark up parts 20% after the shipping is included. I do not do it because it is robery. I will stay during my lunch time to find a part for you and I have at least 3 more employees like that in my store.
Some people just take is as a business and just a J.O.B.
I will copy your post thread and I will e-mail it to the Division Manager. This will help future customers.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Bugman114 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:54 pm

AMEN brother!!!!

I have always have numerous customers come directly to me, for help with their cars, or projects. one time, when it was a slow day, i actually had a line of 4 people at my register, and no one else at the other registers. when my co-workers asked "i can help the next person" they said, they were waiting for me. i always take care of customers, and not give them the run around when it comes to warrenties, or exchanges, or whatever. a lot of people who don't remember my name, simply know me by "the guy with the bug".

Anyhoo, People like that just don't need to be working for advance, or any parts store.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by vwgirl on Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:56 pm

Thanks guys... I really just needed to vent... and I hope that you did catch that part where the guy at the Windy Hill store DID make it right.. His name was David.

I actually emailed advance about the guy Justin in FL... I got a response back saying it would be addressed and I should be hearing from someone... I actually called the 1800ADVANCE number today, from the parking lot of the store that would not take back my part... unfortunately it seems like the call centers are all over seas and the girl didn't understand me so i talked to a supervisor, who apologized and said he would transfer me to the voicemail of a regional manager... I left a message, with my phone number, I repeated it clearly, twice... but I haven't heard anything back on that yet.

I actually worked for Advance about 10 years ago... and back then too they said that they were going to get all of their stores online... I actually worked at the store in FL on University Ave that I had a problem with... There was a different manager back then, and everyone that worked there was a car person... I had also worked at Sears, Pep Boys, and Autozone... I knew my way around the automotive world and people sent any VW questions to me. I still keep in contact with a few people from those days... one of the managers from Advance went on to work at my fav Import auto store.

It is amazing what computers have done to us... Now granted when I was hired to work there I think the manager just wanted to see how much I knew because he got one of those mats that had a bunch of pictures of parts on it and asked me what every single one of them was... and was impressed that I got them all right... But then again, I have an automotive degree... And now I can vent here on the interwebs about my poor experience and we can all learn a little something while making me feel better...

I guess I need to go invest in a copy machine... cause I cannot tell you how many receipts I have that are blank now... luckily... I bought most of my warrantied parts when I worked at Autozone and I got them from them... they are still in the system... In fact I just had them merge all of my phone numbers in to one account Smile Not to mention that they actually list my mexi beetle in the system (although I have to fight them that it is really called a Sedan... which is what it says on the screen).

I am not saying that every person that works at any place is completely incompetent... I am just saying the work force in general seems to be trending in that direction. Computers have made it so that any warm body that can press a few buttons can do the job... I do miss having people that sell products they know something about... I am glad there are a few of you left!

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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by 71_georgia_beetle on Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:05 pm

I have not read a word because this thread is so long but it must be bad to make you guys write so much.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Goped406 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:08 pm

71_georgia_beetle wrote:I have not read a word because this thread is so long but it must be bad to make you guys write so much.

lol! same here
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by DiggerD on Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:34 pm

Here's the condensed version:

Advance auto = bad, Autozone = good................atleast thats what I got out of it. scratch
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by Bugman114 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:49 pm

No. not the point. its

advance auto=good or bad (depending on where you go)
And pretty much the same for all parts stores. i guarentee if you come over to my advance auto, and i'm there, you will NOT get the kind of service mentioned on the first post. Now if you go to the autozone next to my store, then you will get the horrible service mentioned on the first post.

Soo. i guess the whole point of this topic is. you basically have to shop around, and see what place has the best people, or what place has the people who care about a paycheck, or people who know their stuff, and go above and beyond. thats the service you get when you walk into my store. there are several customers in my area, who specifically wait for me. because they know they will be taken care of. and occasionally, i will give them a 5 or 10 % discount, depending on the part, especially if someone else has it cheaper. Wink . if we have a water pump for $20.99, and autozone has it for $19.99. i'll give it to them for $19.99 plus 5 or 10 % off.

That short enough for ya Wink
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by LungTube on Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:04 am

What is this water pump thing you speak of and why are they selling them at a auto part store? Laughing
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by meinvw on Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:50 am

Its not the stores, have had bad experiences at them all. 9 times outa 10 its the employes. At least in my case, can see where the customer is an idiot a good bit as well. But I am in my local stores just about once a day. Maybe 2-3 depending on what I am working on. I have switched to O'rileys here, not because of the chain, but the employees. There are 2 within walking distance of my house. The one N of me is just like most flaps, but the one S of me is great. I walk in they know my name, what I drive, and are extremly helpfull. I understand that they are looking up parts constantly from 1000 different vehicles, no way that any employee can know them all. Go to your dealership if you want specifics, but a flaps you need to know what your looking for when you go in.
may seem trivial but they are not a specialist on your car, if you do have a good experience or bad call the 800 number. it will trickle down. You have to understand where they are at and what they do. Like bugman, he works for a supplier that caters to whats needed. The newest Air-cooled vw is 25+ years old. How many models have come out since then?? Give thm a break, know what you need before you go in saying you know, that piece between the thingamajig and the whatchamacallit. On a vw yeah I know what it is, you ask me that about a toyota or honda and I will smack you.
Long story short, get to know your store, and know what your looking for. not knocking laurens experience, with the correct info and skills they should have been able to find or not find what she needed. but we are lucky at all if anyone carries any part for a 25-40yo vehicle. Try riding a bike, parts over 10yo are obsolete so look in a junkyard for something.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by vwgirl on Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:02 am

Hey now... my newest acvw just turned 11... and they were made years after that... but again, autozone is the only one that lists it.

I really like oreillys. We didn't have them in fl. We did have eastern imports though, and I bought from them enough that they would deliver to my house! I miss those guys

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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by 71_georgia_beetle on Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:22 am

Why would you want to pump water and where would you pump it to?
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by 39coupe on Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:22 am

I buy all my parts from NAPA with no issues on returns or anything. They don't have everything but no parts stores have much for the ACVW these days. But what NAPA has had I've been very pleased with the quality and actually haven't had to return a defective part yet.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by vwgirl on Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:28 pm

39coupe wrote:I buy all my parts from NAPA with no issues on returns or anything. They don't have everything but no parts stores have much for the ACVW these days. But what NAPA has had I've been very pleased with the quality and actually haven't had to return a defective part yet.

I use to use Napa a lot, but their prices are generally the highest, warranty isn't as good, and I have gotten quite a few bad parts from them too... but that's been ten years ago... I do buy oil filters and non warranty parts from them that I can't find elsewhere...

Really its good to shop around for good parts, prices and service

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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by laith on Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:59 pm

71_georgia_beetle wrote:Why would you want to pump water and where would you pump it to?

Don't you have a water pump for your Westy sink?
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

Post by 71_georgia_beetle on Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:05 pm

laith wrote:
71_georgia_beetle wrote:Why would you want to pump water and where would you pump it to?

Don't you have a water pump for your Westy sink?
Good point.
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Re: Advance Auto Parts

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