• RodsShop
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Why The Decline In Quality Auto Parts Today

Why The Decline In Quality Auto Parts Today

Buying quality auto parts used to never be an issue and many of you may not remember this. But many years ago, you could buy new thermostats out of a jar for $0.50 each and they would last 100000 miles. Today, you pay between $12 and $30 each and they are half the time defective when you first put them in. Why such a decline in quality auto parts today?

quality auto parts


I ran my own garage for decades, and through that time it was very profitable until about 13 to 15 years ago. My frustrations rose by losing time, having to run back and forth to the parts stores. It was always over parts that were defective or made incorrectly. My biggest pet peeve is oil and grease seals. Seals today are a joke. It has left me scratching my head wondering what caused this decline in quality auto parts over the years.

I lost my enthusiasm to work on cars, at least in mechanics due to the headache of parts. Even in auto body, the paint prices increased beyond normal. And they keep getting rd of good products that work. Automotive parts and materials are now way overpriced and the quality is a joke.

So, Are All Aftermarket Parts Bad?

You can buy quality automotive parts, but you will mostly find them in OEM brands. However, even OEM brands need a close look to ensure where they are made. I had always been a big GM fan. To buy GM parts, you would get AC Delco parts, formally all made in the USA. Now AC Delco parts can come from anywhere in the world and the quality isn’t that good.

There are still quality auto parts, but it requires brand shopping for each type of part. For brakes, you want to research and buy only name brands. Name brands would include Raybestos, Wagner, Akebono, TRW, Power Stop, and Bosch to name a few. You would want to research to check for reviews, where the manufacturer is, applications and even cost.

Basically, any brand that has never been heard of, or the parts store’s house brands, require a lot of research. Sometimes, a store brand or generic brand is made by a major manufacturer. Antifreeze is a prime example. Even though the jug has a store brand name on it, there are only around 13 manufacturers globally. These main 13 manufacturers are major oil companies.

I will supply a link to a list later on of brands you should stick with but I do want to mention oil and grease seals. Sadly, there is only one brand of seals to buy today that actually work. SKF sealsquality auto parts are so far the only seals I have found that don’t leak soon after they are installed.

SKF, like most companies, has manufacturing plants globally. However, they provide a strict quality control the other companies have lost. SKF seals can be purchased at NAPA stores or local bearing seal companies.

Quality Auto Parts Plummet After the Pandemic

quality auto partsIf you remember, after Covid 19, getting any kind of automotive parts was a nightmare. Even getting windshields for many cars wasn’t possible. We were basically living off what was left in stock in warehouses. In 2020, there were nationwide factory shutdowns. This event was actually more than just America, other factories globally shut down as well. Nonetheless, there was a massive shortage and started the decline in quality auto parts.

Although, the Pandemic was highly blamed for many things, quality automotive parts decreased long before that. Everything seems to come down to politics, right? Starting in late 2001, the economy started to fall. Auto sales were declining, foreign trades were slowing down. By 2004, price per barrel of oil went up over $100. This inflated everything automotive. Paints, lubricants, tires, coolants, anything that used oil to make. Unfortunately, even though the prices came back down, most automotive material didn’t.

Many consumers became price-conscious, and auto manufacturers and suppliers faced pressure to reduce costs. To meet cost targets, many manufacturers opted for cheaper materials or manufacturing processes. They definitely reduced quality control for sure.

All these events, including the Pandemic, forced manufacturers to globalization. Move factories to other countries for cheaper labor and supplies. This harshly decreased quality auto parts. Quality control has noticeably dropped due to the factory’s relocations.

Quality Auto Parts You Can Still Trust

It would be a really long list to create a list of every automotive part to give a thumbs up or not on. However, I am going to make a list of types of parts and brands I would suggest buying in another post. What are the Best Aftermarket Car Parts Manufacturers.”

You may wonder who am I to make these suggestions. I have been working on cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and heavy equipment for over 50 years. During that time, I have dealt with more parts brands than I can tell you. Many hours going back and forth to stores, to get something that would finally work, time I will never get back. I am sure you can relate since you are reading this article.

The link above will take you to a list of parts that can be trusted. What I can tell you, stick to name brand products. Names like SKF seals, Bosch, Wagner, Ray Bestos, KYB, the list varies depending on the type of part. NAPA auto parts is about the only one that have higher quality parts. They cost more in many cases and not everything they sell is the best. But percentage wise, they exceed the other parts stores.

The Local Parts Stores Counterfeit Parts Proliferation

auto partsOne of the most significant hurdles in the quest for quality auto parts today is the rampant proliferation of counterfeit products. The digital marketplace has made it easier for unscrupulous sellers to flood online platforms with fake or substandard parts that can jeopardize safety, performance, and even the lifespan of your vehicle. These counterfeit components often mimic genuine parts, making it difficult for even experienced buyers to discern their authenticity.

Sadly, these counterfeit parts have now entered the local parts stores. In order for local parts stores to keep up with the online market, they are selling low quality parts. They will tell you that their store brands are the best quality auto parts. Sometimes, you may get lucky and get some great store brand parts. However, usually you get a substandard part that has a short life span or just doesn’t fit correctly.

Ask them who makes their parts. They will always tell you a long line of manufacturers that eventually gets to what they are selling you. Which means, their quality auto parts are really cheap generic rip offs of name brands.


Used to, it was simple to the old saying. “You get what you pay for.” Today, that isn’t so much true. You go to a parts store and pay more money for the best they offer. When their best is still inadequate.

Just ask for some big-name brands, you will find out they no longer carry them. Although, they can order it for you, but before you say yes, go home and research it. You will find you can get it just as quick and far cheaper.

The cold hard fact is, if your vehicle is down and you have to have it. You don’t have much choice but to go to a local parts store. However, if you are doing maintenance and upgrades, order online and buy true quality auto parts.

If you have a vehicle you really don’t care about, then local parts might get you through. It will be with some aggravation I might add. However, if you like your vehicle and you want it to last and be safe. Order top name brand high-quality auto parts. You may feel they are too expensive, but do the math.

If you pay $40 at a local parts store for house brands brake pads Their pads last you a year under normal driving conditions. Or you pay $60 for a top name brand pad, and it last you 4 to 5 years. You just saved money plus gives you a more reliable brake part.

Unfortunately, quality anything is phasing out, mostly due to greedy companies farming manufacturing out overseas. The only thing you can do to protect yourself, is to always do your research.


Start Using Online Repair Manuals 

Make car repairs and solving those pesky wiring issues easier by using online automotive repair manuals. Physical manuals do not list or explain engine codes, nor are they searchable. Online manuals get you to the info needed immediately and you have access to all wiring diagrams. Perfect for any DIY or Pro Mechanic..

You may also like

  • Thanks I have just been looking for information about this subject for a long time and yours is the best Ive discovered till now However what in regards to the bottom line Are you certain in regards to the supply

  • I’ve read several post, right stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you place to create this kind of great informative website.

  • I do believe all the ideas you’ve presented for your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for novices. May just you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  • Somebody essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I might state That is the very first time I frequented your web page and up to now I surprised with the research you made to create this particular put up amazing Excellent job

  • Normally I do not read article on blogs however I would like to say that this writeup very forced me to try and do so Your writing style has been amazed me Thanks quite great post

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}