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    I have been a mechanic for many years. I used to buy Napa Auto Parts almost always. I felt the parts were good quality, although more expensive than others. It does not pay to install poor quality parts on a car, they come back, and bite you!  Unfortunately, a few years ago it seems Napa changed their policy on quality. This happened around the time they totally changed the on-line site.  Around the same time, I started looking at Rock Auto on-line. Rock Auto offers each part by a few different manufacturers, quality levels, and prices. I started noticing that despite Napa still charging higher prices, they were now supplying the cheapest, lowest quality parts instead of the better quality they were known for.  Given that, why would a person order from Napa, when Rock Auto is surprisingly lower priced, and you have a quality level choice . Napa seems to be riding on their previous well known name, while keeping the prices artificially high.

  Some prime examples of this is, I purchased a starter solenoid, (eckland, Napa's electrical brand), as a preventative measure. The third start-up, after installing, the solenoid froze in the on position, with key off, and kept the starter spinning and engaged until I could unhook one battery terminal. Burned up the relay, starter, and a couple wires.  I purchased a rebuilt alternator, took it from the box, and turned it, it felt rough turning, as if there was dirt in the bearing race or defective bearing components. I purchased Napa's best fuel pump, and it was very noisy from day one. I purchased a set of Napa Branded, 2 ton each, jack stands. One of them had a defective casting that would not allow the stop to lock in place. Although it seemed it locked, when weight was applied, it fell.  I purchased rebuilt Ford Front calipers from Napa, and with in one year, the unplated soft steel bleeder screws has rusted solid to the caliper!

Are other people seeing this too??

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Napa doesn't make anything so its all just privately branded. That being said, you have to watch what you buy. Rock Auto doesn't have their own brand and sells the manufacturer branded parts directly from other suppliers. The reality is that since rock auto, amazon, and other online sellers hit the market and online purchasing increased, margins dropped because of heavy competition. Large companies like Napa have more overhead than Rock Auto. Rock Auto is drop-shipping, they don't have any warehouses or parts stores. They are order takes and have negotiated with companies like Parts Authority and other WDs to send out (drop ship) their orders.  They make much less margin but sell a lot. They have much less overhead; no stores, no large staff of employees, etc., so they can afford to do that. Napa can't sell at those prices without closing some stores, laying off some people, and reducing overhead to operate at lower margins.

So...to keep margins higher, Napa renegotiates with manufacturers and sometimes quality suffers because the manufacturers try to make it for less. 

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Teddy, Thanks for your input. I understand and agree with most or your reply. The whole point though, is quality. Otherwise what are you buying? Most of the troublesome parts were made in china. I am more familiar with china made products than I'd like to be.  Fact is china is actually ruining the world base product supply. When you take a close look at a china mfgd part, you first find that the metal structure is either castings with small to large holes, covered up with a grey putty, or pressed steel parts where the metal is contaminated causing weak spots and corrosion.  You also find parts inside that do not really fit, such as springs that are too long, insulating washers too thin, fastener threads incorrect, and rough mating / moving parts. Then you find dirty solders, missing solders,  solder tabs too small for the pc board, and wiring attached to terminals with solder only.  On top of that a reliable parts supply for repair of china made products does not exist. The point is that a person or garage cannot even do preventative work  without serious risk. It's become better to keep a rusty, corroded part till it dies. China has taken manufacturing to a new all time low, and napa is buying those parts and representing them as quality with both advertising and cost. Car parts that are unreliable is a serious problem for the world. 

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