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Customer Validation Sucks

Ages ago when auto parts were actually made of metal and not 99% plastic, companies spent the time to validate and test.  Parts were designed then test for fit, form, function, and durability (longevity).  Now with the demanding, instant gratification driven culture we continue to support companies who put garbage in the box in exchange for speed to market.

Stop it.  Bad suppliers, bad.

Customers are not the ones who should validate products.  From what I have found companies that actually make something (ie own factories) get this and do it right… Federal Mogul, Borg Warner, Behr, SMP, Hayden. Those that push the garbage of the world tend to only want the cheapest product as fast as possible to make a sale. These are the ones we need to be wary of; as support leads to more demand for garbage (Dorman, shame on you). The fix-it-later after someone complains is bad business and pisses off techs.

So what can you as a consumer do?  Simple.  No more parts with lifetime warranties. These are usually junk and retailers give you another turd in the box in hopes it’s “better” the second time. Another idea is to avoid parts that are ridiculously under priced.  The cheapest part is typically the first one to fail. 

When in doubt read ratings and do your homework.  It just might save some frustration.
P. Heffcac


Private Labels follow up

So a while back I posted about the dangers of private labels in auto parts stores and how it’s bad for the consumer. Here’s another issue that I recently learned about… Let’s just say the stakes are even higher. A little background; auto parts stores buy from part manufacturers (or importers which are just middle-men vultures… Yes you Dorman) and sell to you and I. They (should) buy quality parts and support manufacturers by not putting known junk on the shelf. Does that happen? 

No, it does not. 

Retailers push for the cheapest prices junk that will just barely pass minimum to maximize profits. But now there is an even worse evil out there. Direct importing.  Direct importing is where retailers (such as Advance for example) buy parts directly from an overseas vendor. 

I cannot express how bad this is. Number 1: the retailers don’t qualify the parts at all. They are relying on someone thousands of miles away to do the right thing and build quality parts. Number 2: warranty returns do nothing to improve or fix the line.  Calling overseas to ask them to make a change probably never happens meaning you get the same problems over and over again. Number 3: retailers set a bad example and show profits by doing so. The cheaper price allows for lower retail prices forcing others to move to this strategy thus forcing lower quality parts into the market as the norm. 
Take this with a grain of salt; plenty of products from China and other countries overseas are of good quality. It’s just time consuming to weed out the few bad apples that ruin the pie. Retailers need to remain in the retail game and let manufacturers that actually build stuff do the testing and quality analysis. 
P Heffcac

Happy 2016 – Lube your window tracks!

Hope your Christmas and New Years went well.

Wife got me lumps of coal (literally Butterfinger makes a candy called this)… thanks honey.


Driving through the light display the local city puts on we get to the end.  Santa is handing out candy canes to kids that want them… so I roll down the back window and crunch.  Wife asks what happened; I know in an instant… cable is done and we now have a cold ride home with a window stuck in the down position.

So I stopped by AutoZone (on the way home) and went in to ask for the regulator and motor combo to swap out when I get home.  I get offered an ACI brand or Dorman.  Well I can’t stand whor-man (they are ok for nuts and bolts but that’s about it…) so I gave the ACI combo unit a shot.  I must say I am pleasantly surprised.  ACI has a longer plug wire and feels heavier.  The Dorman unit felt cheap in the store.  Try it – hold them both in your hands…  The store was going to have to order either one so I decided to save $25 and go with the ACI unit – glad I did.

Another example of why I run away from Dorman window motors/regulators is the inconsistency.  Dorman will have the same part number on 2 boxes of different sizes.  Seriously, go to the auto parts store and check out the inventory of combos.  Even the picture on AutoZone’s website is different than the picture on Dorman’s site.  Little things like these should be red flags.combo compare


In the end if I had been more liberal with the window track spray probably wouldn’t have been in this situation.  Learn from me – lube those window tracks next service.


P. Heffcac

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