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How Does Rock Auto Work? #5432137 05/18/20 08:03 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
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Gebo Offline OP
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Can anyone explain to me the flow chart of Rock Auto's Distribution of products? I thought they had a system of warehouses around the USA where they shipped orders out of depending on where they were going. How do they get the auto parts in the first place?


'98 LEX LS400 310K
'02 4Runner 250K
'05 Lex LS430 90K
'07 Lex GX470 75K

Shell Gas and Truck 5w-30
Amsoil OE 10w-30
Toyota ATF's and Coolant
Amsoil Gear Oil and Grease
Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432147 05/18/20 08:10 AM
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Snagglefoot Offline
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Rock Auto does not own warehouses. There are companies that stock parts for any buyer. Rock Auto knows who they are, where they are and what they stock. They are totally reliable and super efficient and if not, Rock Auto would not be using them. Warehousing is a big business in the USA.

Here’s an example. I bought an air filter. It came from a warehouse in Sugarland , Texas, was sent by van to the Houston airport, flown to the Fedex hub in Memphis, then by Fedex plane to Calgary, then Fedex van to my local town.

Where problems arise is when you buy several selected goods that come from separate warehouses and because of that the shipping charges are higher.

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 05/18/20 08:20 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432157 05/18/20 08:20 AM
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Donald Offline
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The problem with RockAuto and warehouses is that if your items need to come from 3 warehouses then you pay postage for 3 shipments from 3 warehouses. They have basically made their problem your problem and you pay for their problem.

I always look at Amazon where I get free shipping. But I do end up buying on Rock Auto for many parts.

A few years ago I bought a remanufactured engine for my Jeep from RA.


2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432164 05/18/20 08:29 AM
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Gebo Offline OP
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So, Rock Auto is essentially an app. I didn’t know that. And the only “potential” issue is if an unscrupulous warehouse supplier gets in undetected.

That’s the part that bothers me in that Rock Auto is known for selling at the cheapest price anywhere. Seems that would lend to a greater possibility of unscrupulous warehouses sellers.

I have purchased from Rock Auto so I ain’t bashing them.


'98 LEX LS400 310K
'02 4Runner 250K
'05 Lex LS430 90K
'07 Lex GX470 75K

Shell Gas and Truck 5w-30
Amsoil OE 10w-30
Toyota ATF's and Coolant
Amsoil Gear Oil and Grease
Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432169 05/18/20 08:53 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 153
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ryster Offline
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Rock Auto's parts lookup is also not 100% foolproof. There are times where their system doesn't properly account for special option packages that might include slightly different parts (like upgraded rotors, for example). It will provide the replacement part found in most versions of a particular model and engine config, but not always the correct part for your car if you happen to have one of those packages. Just something to be aware of.


2015 Chevrolet Equinox LT AWD
3.6L V6
Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432170 05/18/20 08:53 AM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 890
Driz Offline
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Just BEWARE of moving sourcing. You can watch the little truck icon to pick parts that come from the same warehouse. Sometimes🦨 the sourcing will change as you fill the cart so they can ding you more shipping. 🤬 YouTube has a few vids that show this. Rock is ok but stunts like this in addition yo those high ship rates tend to be a turnoff.

Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432186 05/18/20 09:22 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 1,836
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Imp4 Offline
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Originally Posted by Gebo
So, Rock Auto is essentially an app. I didn’t know that. And the only “potential” issue is if an unscrupulous warehouse supplier gets in undetected.

That’s the part that bothers me in that Rock Auto is known for selling at the cheapest price anywhere. Seems that would lend to a greater possibility of unscrupulous warehouses sellers.

I have purchased from Rock Auto so I ain’t bashing them.

Yes, RA is essentially an app.

They own no warehouses and have no inventory. They use the same wholesale warehouse suppliers as the Autozones, O'Reilly's, and Advances do. So you assume the exact same supply chain risks as if your bought from one of those retailers.

I like to equate purchasing from RA as being similar to me getting parts at the cost that my corner mechanic pays. The process essentially eliminates the brick and mortar reseller that adds 30%-50%+ to the cost of the product.

The caveat is that you have to be willing to wait for the shipment to arrive.

Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432187 05/18/20 09:22 AM
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brages Offline
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I had a problem where I got the wrong part from RockAuto -- I ordered left and right LCAs and the "right" box contained another left - it was also a different brand than the box. It was probably a return of some kind.

The problem was resolved quickly through the RA online system, though.

Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432191 05/18/20 09:30 AM
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Miller88 Offline
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I think I have had two problems with getting the wrong part from rockauto. Both times I was told to just keep the wrong product. That works.


18 Forester 2.5I 6M
00 Jeep XJ
01 F-350 4x4 5M
Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432195 05/18/20 09:36 AM
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MRtv Offline
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I ordered parts from Rock Auto that twice came from a warehouse just across town from me. The second order contained what at first seemed a nice gift but as I thought it through i realized the box knife was accidentally placed in my box and sent to me. I drove across town and took the knife into the front office and showed them my shipping box and the extra item that came in it. They had a good laugh and thanked me for returning the knife. I bet they had a good time for days teasing this guy for sending me his knife.


2014 Nissan Versa Note 1.6 liter engine. 1997 Ford F150 4x4 4.6 liter engine.
Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432197 05/18/20 09:38 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 21,874
The Critic Offline
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From my experience, all of my RockAuto orders have been shipped from a Parts Authority warehouse. If you have the Fedex app, it will show the address of where the package is coming from.

Parts Authority is one of the largest aftermarket automotive parts distributors in the US.


2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 207K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
2007 Honda Accord 2.4L - 146K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432214 05/18/20 09:55 AM
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LubricatusObsess Offline
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I did not know Rock Auto pulled from wholesaler warehouses. Their algorithm shows warehouses "A" "B" "C". I thought the tool to try to aglomerate your parts order was pretty clumsy to use. I recently have found they no longer carry some popular Fram XG filters I've been using, requiring me to chop up my repetitive maintenance orders further to regional suppliers also. RA used to be my one stop shop for nearly everything.

I guess that's what you get in a margin-fighting business.


Elastohydrodynamic Lubrication makes the world go 'round!
2017 Ram 2500 - PUP 0W-40, Fram XG
2011 Chev Traverse - PUP 5W-30, Fram XG
2005 Chev Kodiak C5500 - PUP 10W-30, Fram XG
Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432222 05/18/20 10:06 AM
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Bogdon Offline
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If I correctly recall, somewhere in cyber, someone said that received fake NGK spark plus via Rock Auto. To be safe, I ended up buying mine at Advance Auto with a 25% discount coupon from that venue.

Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: Gebo] #5432236 05/18/20 10:20 AM
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hallstevenson Offline
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Rockauto is a website where you order parts from. Not much more to them than that. Rockauto owns no warehouses and stocks no parts. They are a middleman, effectively.

Re: How Does Rock Auto Work? [Re: hallstevenson] #5432247 05/18/20 10:37 AM
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cknight49090 Offline
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I ordered a wheel bearing from rock auto and it came from amazon.On older vehicles most of the time their prices are amazing.I have used numerous business accounts from all the chain parts stores and I have never seen anything cheaper than rock auto.If you are able to plan a head and wait 3-4 days to ship rock auto is great.I bought a rotor and pads for a vibe for 25.00 shipped.

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