RockAuto Parts (Ultimate Guide)

RockAuto is a discount auto parts website that was founded in 1999 and is based out of Madison, Wisconsin.

They have a somewhat mixed reputation – some people love using them, while others find using them hugely frustrating.

In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions people have about RockAuto parts.

1. Is Rockauto Legit?

Yes, RockAuto is 100% legit and safe to buy from.

Although their website looks like it’s from the early ’90s, many people have successfully bought cheap OEM parts from without any issues.

Rockauto is a registered US company and operates out of an office in Wisconsin.

2. Are RockAuto Parts Good?

Yes, RockAuto parts are generally pretty good.

They are the same parts that you would buy from a large part store, you are just buying the part directly from a supplier instead of going through a middle man.

However, keep in mind though, that you get what you pay for. 

RockAuto has a range of different parts, from super cheap generic parts, to brand-name parts. If you buy the ultra-budget parts, they’re not going to be as good as the more expensive parts.

Most RockAuto customers recommend buying parts from the mid-range price point. Not the cheapest and not the most expensive.

3. Why Are Rockauto Parts So Cheap?

There are several reasons why RockAuto parts are so cheap.

1. You’re Buying Directly From a Supplier

When you purchase a car part from RockAuto, you’re basically purchasing directly from a wholesale supplier.

This direct access means you are bypassing the additional cost that a large parts shop or garage might add on to make a profit from the part. 

2. Negotiated Prices

Rockauto has a team of knowledgeable negotiators who go to wholesale suppliers and try to drive the price down as low as possible.

Larger part stores probably don’t negotiate as aggressively as this.

3. Low Overheads

Rockauto doesn’t buy or store inventory, the car parts you buy are shipped directly to you from the supplier’s warehouse.

They simply connect you to suppliers via their website.

Therefore, RockAuto does not need to rent an expensive warehouse or hire employees to pick and pack the car parts.

These low operating costs mean RockAuto does not have to increase part prices to cover its overhead costs.

4. Slower Shipping Times

Shipping from RockAuto will usually take a little bit longer than if you were to buy the part directly from one of the big part stores.

Rockauto is usually slower by at least a day.

Fast shipping is a premium benefit that you will pay more for with the larger part stores. 

5. Expensive Shipping

Although parts from RockAuto might initially look way cheaper than the big part stores, keep an eye on the final shipping cost.

Most large car part stores offer free shipping, while RockAuto adds shipping on when you checkout.

That said, I usually find RockAuto is still cheaper even once shipping has been added, you just need to make sure that you are shipping from a few warehouses as possible.

4. Is RockAuto Worth It?

RockAuto is definitely worth it, as you can save yourself a lot of money on quality parts.

However, you need to understand what RockAuto is and isn’t

RockAuto makes buying cheap parts directly from manufacturers easy.

However, with RockAuto, you’re responsible for your own research.

Don’t buy cheap parts and then blame RockAuto for the part not being good quality.

Also, don’t expect amazing customer service or easy returns, because that’s not who they are.

As long as you keep these things in mind, then RockAuto is 100% worth it.

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5. Is Rockauto The Cheapest?

Although it’s hard to say if EVERY part on Rockauto is the cheapest, my experience (and many others) is that RockAuto prices are usually the cheapest I can find online.

However, it’s important to reiterate that RockAuto prices are only the cheapest if you keep the number of warehouses that your parts are shipping from to a minimum.

The more warehouse your parts ship from, the more expensive your order will be.

I therefore always try to find parts that come from the same warehouse.

If you find that the parts you need come from multiple different warehouses, then I would check and Carid before ordering to see if you can get a lower price there.

6. Why Is Rockauto Shipping So High?

Although RockAuto parts are cheap, shipping can get very expensive.

This is usually because the part (or parts) that you have in your basket are being shipped from multiple warehouses, meaning multiple shipping fees.

To counteract this, it’s best to look for parts that are all shipped from the same location.

While the part itself might be a little more expensive, you’ll make this back with lower shipping costs.

7. How Fast Is Rockauto Shipping?

Rockauto aims to ship orders within one business day.

Most customers report receiving their order in 2-3 days using the standard shipping option.

8. What Does the Heart Mean on Rockauto?

The heart icon on a RockAuto listing means that other people have bought the part and it’s a good seller.

This icon is there to help you decide which car part to buy when you are looking at multiple options.

9. Where Are RockAuto Parts Made?

RockAuto has parts from a number of different manufacturers, so they will be made in a number of different countries.

Although it’s difficult to say, most parts stocked at RockAuto are likely to come from Mexico or China.

10. Does Rockauto Sell OEM Parts?

Yes, RockAuto sells both Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts as well as aftermarket parts.

However, it can be a little tricky finding the OEM part on RockAUto unless you know who the manufacturer is.

11. Does Rockauto Sell Fake Parts?

No, RockAuto does not sell any fake parts.

They only sell genuine parts sourced directly from wholesale suppliers around the world.

These are the same suppliers who provide parts to all of the major car part stores in the US.

Many people think RockAuto parts must be fake due to their low prices.

However, you have to remember that you are buying directly from wholesale suppliers and must also pay for shipping.

12. Where Does Rockauto Get Their Parts?

RockAuto does not buy (or get) parts and then sell them to you.

Instead, they simply connect you directly with manufacturers, so that you are buying directly from the factory that made the part.

Therefore the parts listed on RockAuto come from hundreds of different part manufacturers.

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13. Where Does Rockauto Ship From?

RockAuto parts do not ship from RockAuto itself. Instead, the parts you order are shipped directly from the manufacturer of the part.

These manufacturers are located all over the US.

Therefore, each order you place could come from a different warehouse in a different location.

14. Where Does Rockauto Ship To?

Rock auto will ship to any location in the world, including Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, Alaska, Colorado, California, and Denver.

15. What Are the Best Rockauto Alternatives?

The best RockAuto alternatives really depend on the car that you own. However, here are the most popular alternatives to using RockAuto.

  1. FCP Euro – if you own a European car (Audi, BMW, Mercedes, etc) then FCP Euro is the place to go for parts. They have competitive pricing and offer a lifetime warranty on most parts. However, what really sets them apart is their excellent customer feedback.
  2. Amazon – Many people find using RockAuto frustrating, so they simply copy the part number from RockAuto and search for it on Amazon. Although Amazon might be slightly more expensive, you have peace of mind that you will get better customer service, fast delivery, and easy returns.
  3. eBay – Similar to Amazon, with eBay you get better customer service and returns. However, many people believe eBay is full of fake parts, so make sure the seller/part has a good rating before making a purchase.

16. What Happened to Rockauto?

A lot of customers have been complaining in forums recently that RockAuto has gone downhill recently.

They’ve added a product to their cart and realized that the shipping is going to cost more than the part itself because it’s coming from multiple warehouses.

This can be very frustrating, however, it’s not something that RockAuto can really control.

The solution to this is to always ensure that the part you are buying comes from one warehouse only.

Many times, a part that costs a few extra dollars will actually end up cheaper when shipping is applied because it only comes from one warehouse.

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