RockAuto is an online auto parts store that ships a wide variety of products all over the world. Imagine Amazon for car parts. The company promises transparency and low prices for consumers, by cutting out the traditional auto parts middleman.
This model may seem like a great way to shop easily for parts while saving some money. But does RockAuto deliver on its promises? Does the price, quality of their product, and level of customer service make RockAuto worth it? Or, are you better off stopping into Auto Zone or O’Reilly’s? Let’s take a closer look.
How RockAuto Works
RockAuto is an online retailer, so the face of the company is the homepage, rockauto.com. The company has been around since 1999 and when customers land on the home page, they may feel like they have gone back in time to an earlier era. The website looks pretty outdated, yet it is also straightforward and easy to use.
You can find parts you need by searching a catalog organized by brand, or you can search by part number and manufacturer. There is also a tab that allows you to browse by type of part you are looking for, such as belt drive, ignition, suspension, etc. Once you find your part, you put it into a virtual shopping cart, just like Amazon, and proceed to the checkout.
Customers can track their orders, and can normally expect their orders to arrive in two or three days. The online interface is basic but laid out in a fairly clear and transparent way.
Are RockAuto Parts Good?
As we explore RockAuto a bit more deeply, one of the most important questions to consider is the quality of the parts that the company sources. Because the company offers such a wide range of parts manufacturers, the quality of the parts available is also variable. This is to be expected, as the company sources parts from so many other companies.
To be clear, RockAuto does not manufacture parts itself but serves rather as a hub for parts from both brand-name and off-brand parts. So, the quality of the parts you purchase from RockAuto really depends on where they are coming from.
If you want a better quality part from an established and reliable manufacturer, you should expect to pay a little more. Parts that are available at lower prices (sometimes considerably lower) are not going to be as reliable or well made.
Thus, from a parts quality point of view, the answer to the question “Is RockAuto legit?” is “it depends on what you are willing to pay.” Thus, there is not a great deal of difference between RockAuto and more traditional parts retailers in this regard. Bottom line: you get what you pay for.
Does RockAuto Sell Faulty Parts?
On the whole, RockAuto customers do not commonly report faulty parts. Once again, the caveats about what brand of the part you order apply. Off-brand merchandise at exceptionally low prices may result in parts that don’t fit, wear out quickly, or don’t function properly. However, if you can find what you are looking for from a reputable manufacturer, at a price that does not seem too good to be true, you are likely to be satisfied with the quality of the part purchased.
One important point to consider is that you may not have a choice when it comes to the part you need. Even when there is a sizable selection of options for a given category of part, they may all be from the same manufacturer. For the average customer, the names of the manufacturers of trailer brake light connectors, firewall grommets, or any of the hundreds of other parts that go into their vehicle, may not be familiar.
And so, when faced with a single manufacturer option for that trailer brake light connector that you need, it may not be obvious whether what you would be getting would be of high quality or not. Under different circumstances, say if you were in a traditional auto parts store, the solution to this problem would be to ask the person behind the counter.
But RockAuto does not have a customer service counter, and here is where we need to look a bit closer at the relationship between the price of the parts on the RockAuto site, and the level of customer service and support that the company provides.
Why Are RockAuto Parts So Cheap?
Although you will pay more for higher quality, name-brand parts at RockAuto overall prices are lower than the same parts at in-person stores. The key to this difference is the overall business model: RockAuto saves money on the kinds of things that traditional stores have to pay for, including the physical store itself and the personnel to staff it.
The lack of overhead and staffing costs means that savings are passed on to the customer. However, this is where we begin to get to the heart of our question about whether RockAuto is legit. Because it is in the realm of customer service where most dissatisfaction with the company seems to emerge.
RockAuto Customer Service
Let’s consider the question of customer service from a couple of different angles.
First, is the issue of the pre-sale service. If you are using RockAuto to find that replacement glove box for your 2007 Toyota Sienna, you need to know exactly what you need. It helps to have the exact part number from Toyota. But what if the precise numbered part is not in stock, Would another glovebox from a different model year work? Would a glovebox from a similar vehicle work, say a 2007 Honda Odyssey?
You are not going to be able to get answers to these questions on the RockAuto site. It is comparable to going into a bookstore to ask about recommendations for titles by a certain author, versus logging on to Amazon. In fact, RockAuto is less helpful than Amazon, where you can at least view customer reviews and recommendations.
With RockAuto, you are on your own. Just glancing at some online reviews of RockAuto suggests that this is a source of frustration for customers. They frequently complain that it is not possible to talk to a person with questions about their needs, including availability and alternatives to certain manufacturers’ products.
The second way to consider customer service is from the post-sale point of view. In other words, how do customers rate the service from RockAuto after they have made their purchase? Again, the problem here is the fact that there is no easy way to get in touch with a real person to help with concerns about shipments, returns, damage, or anything else that might arise after the credit card number goes through.
Customer complaints about the post-sale experience seem to be the most serious issue to consider when asking our question “Is RockAuto legit?” Because here is where the frustration and rage are most clearly on display. A common complaint in online reviews of RockAuto is that customers received the wrong part.
Unfortunately, yes, and one can imagine that finding that the spark plugs you ordered are not going to work and that you won’t be able to drive your car for a while longer might ruin your day. However, getting the wrong part, and then not being able to talk to someone who can resolve the problem is doubly maddening. This combination, of wrong parts and no contact with the company, is the source of a lot of dissatisfaction among RockAuto customers.
Another source of anger after the sale comes from customers who say that parts claimed to be compatible with their vehicle on the website are not actually compatible. This is a variation on the problem of “wrong part” but one that indicates a more serious customer service issue. That is, one strength of the RockAuto business model seems to be the user-friendly website that empowers regular people to cut out the auto parts store middleman and find what they need on their own.
However, such a model is only as good as the information available to customers on the website. Without an expert to consult, regular folks are left on their own, with only the information on the website to guide them. And if that information is wrong, it means unhappy regular folks when the part arrives at their door.
Additionally, customers who find that their shipment has been lost or damaged in transit also have trouble getting their questions and issues resolved. The RockAuto website does have a shipment tracking feature, which is helpful. And problems with deliveries can largely be laid at the feet of the shipping company.
However, any retailer that cares about customer service will make it a priority to ensure that the customer experience is a good one from the point of purchase to the receipt of the order. Again, RockAuto customers seem to have a lot of negative things to say about their inability to get problems related to lost or damaged orders resolved by RockAuto.
How Long Does It Take For RockAuto To Deliver?
This is a mixed bag. For many customers, RockAuto is able to deliver on orders in two to three days. This is the case with straightforward orders from well-known manufacturers that keep popular parts in stock. Things get a little more complicated with parts from older vehicles, or which are rarer.
Some customers report waiting several weeks for delivery, with some complaining that their delivery never arrived at all. And here the problems of a lack of a customer service team come back because there is no one to turn to when deliveries are delayed or unfulfilled.
Finally, there is a further troubling pattern in the testimonies of RockAuto customers, which is essential that attempts to contact the company for help are met with indifference and even hostility. Now it may seem surprising that customers receive any response, given the lack of customer support described above.
However, it seems that sometimes customers are able to get a response to their complaints. Several RockAuto customers report being made to feel that the problem was their own fault and that representatives of the company took no responsibility for issues related to parts that didn’t fit, were damaged in transit, or were simply not what the customer had ordered.
To be fair, every business has bad reviews, and it would be suspicious if every customer testimony was a glowing five-star endorsement. But so many such negative reviews of interactions with representatives of the company suggest a real problem and something that customers should be aware of when considering where to order their part.
Who is RockAuto Owned By?
RockAuto is an online retailer of automotive parts and accessories, founded in 1999 by brothers Tom and Jim Taylor. The company is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. RockAuto ships parts and accessories to customers in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
In 2008, RockAuto was acquired by Advance Auto Parts, a publicly-traded company that is one of the largest automotive aftermarket parts retailers in the United States. Advance Auto Parts operates more than 5,000 stores and employs over 74,000 people.
Since becoming part of Advance Auto Parts, RockAuto has continued to grow, adding new parts and manufacturers to its catalog. Today, RockAuto is a leading source of parts and accessories for do-it-yourselfers and professional mechanics alike.
RockAuto’s website is easy to use, and the company offers excellent customer service, with a toll-free number that customers can call with questions. RockAuto is a great resource for anyone looking for hard-to-find or discontinued parts.
Where is RockAuto Based?
RockAuto is based in Madison, Wisconsin. The company was founded in 1999 by brothers Tom and Jim Taylor. RockAuto has become one of the leading online retailers of auto parts and accessories. The company offers a wide variety of parts for all makes and models of vehicles.
RockAuto also provides customers with a convenient online ordering system. RockAuto’s commitment to providing quality products and excellent customer service has made it a trusted source for auto parts and accessories.
The company’s products are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. RockAuto ships orders to customers around the world. RockAuto’s website is available in English, Spanish, French, German, and Dutch. The company has a team of customer service representatives who are available to answer questions and help with orders.
RockAuto is dedicated to providing a positive shopping experience for all of its customers. RockAuto is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, with additional offices in Illinois and Arizona.
Is RockAuto An Authorized Dealer?
According to their website, RockAuto is an authorized dealer for many brands, including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota. They are also an authorized dealer for many aftermarket parts manufacturers.
RockAuto ships parts from over 200 warehouses across the United States and Canada, so it is likely that they are authorized dealers for many other brands as well. I could not find any information about whether or not RockAuto is an authorized dealer for every brand they carry. However, they are a very large and well-established company, so it is likely that they are authorized dealers for most, if not all, of the brands they carry.
If you are unsure about whether or not RockAuto is an authorized dealer for a particular brand, you can contact their customer service department for more information.
In conclusion, RockAuto is an authorized dealer for many brands, but it is unclear if they are authorized dealers for every brand they carry. However, they are a large and well-established company, so it is likely that they are authorized dealers for most brands.
So, is RockAuto legit? On the one hand, RockAuto is a real company that has been around for more than twenty years. Such longevity counts for something and so yes, it is an actual, legitimate company. However, its business model does have some obvious weaknesses, first and foremost being its inattention to customer service, both before and after the sale.
If you are looking for expert advice or recommendations or more crucially, for support when problems arise, RockAuto is going to give you a headache and may make you wish you paid a little more at a brick and mortar store.
RockAuto is not an auto parts manufacturer, nor does it purchase and maintain its own stock of parts. It is more like a drop-shipping company, which can connect the consumer to a large number of parts wholesalers. In this way, RockAuto leverages the power of the internet to offer direct access to an inventory that could not be maintained by any single warehouse.
Bottom line: RockAuto is legit but requires a clear understanding of its business model, and the risks involved. You are likely to get a good price on the part you need. Just don’t expect a lot of support when the inevitable problems associated with online retail arise.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions, or if you have experience with RockAuto that may be useful to others.