Surely I’m not the only one that’s walked into a car parts store that caters for every make and model under the sun, only to walk out empty handed because the one and only car they don’t happen to have parts for just happens to be mine…
And it’s not like I’m driving something completely rare, random or completely unheard of either.
At the moment I’m restoring Project WRX (A 94 Australian delivered Subaru Impreza WRX that’s been in the family for years) and boy has that been fun. One of the last mechanics reports came back with ‘rear brake pads low’ so the hunt has begun for a new set. The big book of Bendix tells me that I’m looking for part DB1186, but the numbers on the shelf at my local car parts store goes 1184, 1185…1190. No 1186-1189 isn’t missing, they just don’t have a section on the shelf. At a guess there’s probably close to a couple hundred Imprezas (turbo, non turbo, pretend vents to make you think it has a turbo) rolling around this neck of the woods…but since it’s not a Ford Falcon or a Holden Commodore, you’re going to have to order those pads in. Should take a week with a bit of luck, sorry about that.
Of course that is if they understand what car you’re talking about. Once upon a time I accidentally tried to explain to a parts desk that perhaps the car parts I was trying to find for my Toyota Soarer might be under the Lexus SC section of their parts catalogs. The guy looked at me blankly, then turned to a co worker and asked him if they had any ‘parts for a Lexingtons?’
If I want to find car parts for my cars, I better give myself a week and a half for delivery. So weekend projects are pretty much out of the question unless I buy the car parts a good month in advance…
By now you’re probably asking ‘why not just head to the nearest dealership for all your car parts needs?’ Great question friend, save for the fact that I don’t want to pay for the roof for anything (have you ever priced OEM parts for a WRX from the dealership? Hope you have deep pockets pal..) and depending on the car and the attitude of the team behind the parts desk and if the moon is in alignment with the Big Dipper and if a druid sacrificed a couple of goats, they may not even help you with anything. A Mazda dealership parts department told me in no uncertain terms that no, they couldn’t source any parts for my 89 Mazda Rx7, no chance. A week later, a different staff member gave me a price for a door handle for my 89 Mazda Rx7 but it wouldn’t be cheap (no it wasn’t it all). For some reason it was cheaper to get a door handle from Black Dragon Automotive in the United States shipped all the way over to Australia than it was to walk down the road in my own backyard and source it locally. But that might not work depending on the staff member of course..
(Credit where credit is due though, the parts department of the local Toyota Dealer is five star all the way. Easy to deal with and more than happy to help. If only that rubbed off to other car yards..)
Ironically it’s not the make and model specific parts either, I needed to replace the wipers on Project WRX today (I’ve written before about how I’ve repainted the main mechanism but there wasn’t much point in trying to recycle the actually blade holder part) and the store guide book told me I needed the 20′ for the drivers side and 18′ for passenger.
There was pretty much one 18, 19 and 21 inch blade for every single citizen in the township but of course the 20, the one I actually wanted was completely out of stock. They might have some more in the next 5 days though…grrr.
Is it just me or does everyone else have this struggle?