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Old 01-15-2010, 04:18 PM   #1
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Auto Zone Ball Joints

Just a little information to those of you who do your own automotive repairs. I just changed the ball joints on my '02 Escort SE the other day and replaced the original factory ball joints with Duralast ball joints from Auto Zone and found upon opening the Duralast box that the plastic bag that the ball joint was in had a Moog brand name sticker attached to it, so at least part of the Auto Zone Duralast suspension parts are made by Moog. After finding this out I priced Moog ball joints for the car at Rock Auto and the price was $43.79 each plus shipping, I bought the same ball joint with the Duralast name on it for $26.99 each plus tax and that is with lifetime warranty and Auto Zone has never failed to stand behind their lifetime warranty on any part I have worn out. Too many people think just because parts have the store brand name they are not good quality parts, but fail to realize they just buy the parts from a supplier that will give them the best deal on whatever they are buying. I've been using Duralast suspension parts for nearly 20 years and a set of ball joints or tie rod ends usually lasts between 100-150K miles which is better than the factory installed tie rod ends and ball joints lasted on the '02, I just replaced both on (tie rod ends/ball joints) and the car is currently at 96K miles. Hopefully this information will save someone a few dollars.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:52 AM   #2
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Thanks for the tip. I'm getting ready to do the job on my Mazda (Ford) truck, and it's good to know that I'll likely get good parts from them. I've used "lifetime" parts from other auto parts stores and they were utter crap. Being called a lifetime part doesn't do anything for being broken down on the side of the road due to poor quality.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:35 AM   #3
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I had lots of "lifetime" parts from Trak Auto in my Buick. The warranty is useless now that Trak has gone out of business.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:07 PM   #4
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About 1/2 the parts on my '88 Escort Pony are lifetime parts from Auto Zone and of course they do eventually wear out, but I can't remember anything ever wearing out extremely premature. Lifetime parts and doing my own work is how I've been able to keep the old Escort on the road for 503K miles. When something goes wrong with it lots of times it's just a matter of taking the old part back to Auto Zone, getting a new one and putting it on.

Even if Auto Zone went out of business today, I wouldn't have lost anything by buying my parts there considering how many times they have replaced brakes, tie rods, ball joints, axles, fuel pumps, ignition modules, etc, etc..... that I have worn out.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:32 PM   #5
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Good info! I generally always try to get a suspension part that is difficult to replace from Moog so that I never have to replace it again. I'd be careful though. A retailer as big as Autozone has the advantage of special ordering what they want. Just because Moog makes it doesn't have to mean it's the famous Moog quality.

This thread reminds of the old woman with 550k miles on her Mercury Comet.

http://detnews.com/article/20090628/...on-her-Chariot

Quote:
Veitch is on her seventh Midas muffler, and thank you, gentlemen, for the lifetime warranty. She's had three sets of Sears shock absorbers, also through a lifetime warranty. And though the number seems high, she claims to have had 16 free batteries, courtesy of J.C. Penney and Firestone.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:40 AM   #6
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Yeah, that's good to know. I have an "Autozone" clutch that is actually Exedy. Same deal; If I bought from Exedy, it would cost about 2x as much. Too bad it doesn't have a lifetime warrenty.
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:41 AM   #7
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Don't overlook the possibility that MOOG is making a private-label part especially for Autozone, which was "cost-engineered". Moog has a great manufacturing facility, which is why the parts are made there, but it doesn't mean it's the same part you would have gotten from another store with the Moog name on it.

There is one supplier in the Buick world who sells rocker arms manufactured by someone else, however they are totally different than the ones if you bought them directly from that other manufacturer.

I've found that "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck" does not hold true nearly so often as "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch".

By the way that doesn't mean I don't buy parts from Autozone, I have plenty of them on my fleet.

-BC
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Old 01-17-2010, 05:22 AM   #8
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Why, if contracted to build cost-engineered parts, would a company like Moog put the parts in bags with their logo? Wouldn't it cost less not to slap on the Moog sticker, plus protect Moog's reputation not to have an inferior part under their label?

My guess is that companies like AutoZone buy odd lots, salvage shipments, overstocks, etc and box them up for their store brand. So today you buy a store-branded Moog part, but go back next year for the same part and it's from a different manufacturer.

Now, as for items that merely through the grapevine you hear of their manufacturing origin...those would much more likely be cost-engineered custom lots.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:11 AM   #9
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i've had fewer incidents w/ NAPA parts, but i would not hesitate to use "easy" to install parts w/ Autozone's lifetime guarantee. i've bought water pumps, alternators, egr valves, etc from them, but i simply would not buy a fuel pump, a/c compressor, etc from them.

the reason AZ gets any business at all from me is the fact that they have longer hours than NAPA! NAPA, BTW has become more competitive in regard to price and warranty in the past several years. obviously AZ is more convenient as they have more stores and hours to choose, however.
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:05 AM   #10
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Why, if contracted to build cost-engineered parts, would a company like Moog put the parts in bags with their logo? Wouldn't it cost less not to slap on the Moog sticker, plus protect Moog's reputation not to have an inferior part under their label?
I wondered that as well. However, Walmart and its suppliers have done this for years. Well known supplier X wants to sell at Walmart. Walmart says X supplier must supply products for 25% less than what X supplier normally does. AND, because Walmart is so darn big, X supplier says okay - Goes and cheapens the product and sends it to Walmart.
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