The Truth About Cars » Advance Auto Parts The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:36:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Advance Auto Parts Question Of The Day: Did You Ever Get Screwed On A Rebate? Fri, 09 May 2014 11:00:59 +0000 rebate

2007 was a nutty time for my car business when it came to buying parts and supplies.

All the auto parts stores around my dealership were busy blowing their financial brains out in the pursuit of commercial business. I was retailing all the good cars I could find at the auctions, and it wasn’t long before I started to see an armada of amazing deals come to my door.

12 free gallons of coolant (8 store brand concentrates, 4 Dex-Cool) at Autozone. 16 quarts of free synthetic motor oil plus 24 more quarts of conventional oil at O’Reillys. Advance Auto Parts would guarantee the lowest price. Then O’Reillys offered “cost plus” deals that I could barely even fathom. While the parts stores were busy slashing each other’s throats, I was steadfastly collecting all the cheap and free products that came from the marketshare bloodbath.

Armor All, Meguiars, Turtle Wax, auto care products that were trying to get a retail presence… all were practically free for the taking if you were willing to keep up with the offers. 2007 netted me enough auto care products to handle the next three years of my business.

This ended in early 2008, and by 2009, you could often get better deals by lurking at the Bob Is The Oil Guy web site. That’s when I started noticing a nasty trend. Things started to get a bit too cute with the rebates.

I would apply for a deal, scan a copy for my own records, mail it in, and wait.

Nothing. One month would pass. 45 days. Then two months.

It got to the point where I had a spreadsheet on Google Docs exclusively dedicated to all the rebates that I saw as bait. At least 20% of which were financially AWOL on any given time.

I would call, email, and even complain if their word and my mailbox weren’t aligning themselves the right way. Eventually I got what I needed, but boy, did I get ticked off at that constant tug-o-war of time.

These days I only stock up on certain products off-season (i.e. Freon in November) and pretty much stick to the Bob Is The Oil Guy site for whatever else is worth my time. I retail less, wholesale more, and it’s rare that I see something that is truly compelling these days.

One deal today did catch my eye. This one.  The only problem is I can’t endorse it wholeheartedly because maybe, perhaps, that rebate may find itself in that netherworld called, “lost in process”.

Every rebate that isn’t online is a roll of the dice these days. So with the odds in flux, let me ask you a painful question. “Did You Ever Get Screwed On A Rebate?”

This is your time to sound off on what I consider to be an industry practice that should be taken out back and burned to cinders. Mail-in rebates are an inexcusable screwing of the general public.

If you were ever one of those screwed, here’s your chance to vent.

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Hammer Time: Black Friday Deal? Or No Deal. Thu, 22 Nov 2012 18:28:50 +0000

Motor Oil! Must Buy Motor Oil!


Forgive me for offering the two millionth article about Black Friday shopping. But this personal screed will not be about, “Buy! Buy! Buy!”

It will be all about, “Don’t! Nein! Nyet!”.

The current Black Friday ads for all things automotive are getting less deal oriented with the passing of each year.

That’s no surprise given that consumer behavior has turned considerably during the last five years. Yesterdays overlooked giveaways and cheap deals have given way to the coupon clipping shows and budget watching books of the modern day.

Unfortunately for all of you, this stretches all the way to the corporate boardrooms. Deals simply aren’t what they used to be.

Case in point, back in 2007 I could get 5 quarts fo Castrol GTX with a generic oil filter for $5 at Pep Boys during Black Friday. This wasn’t the only time for the cheap in-store deal either. I fondly recall spark plugs, windshield washer fluid, and even the occassional oil deal could essentially be free throughout the year if you took the time to mail in the rebates and keep track of them.

That was the big issue back in the day. Making sure you got the rebate.

The iron curtain that represented contacting a live human being at the company offering the rebate seemed to be an impenetrable fortress of, “Stay on the line.” Eventually, about three months later, you would either get a check in the mail, or a haunting reminder of the fallibility of corporations that were simply too big or ethically bankrupt to care about you.

These days it’s different.

Why? Because auto parts stores finally realized that if you didn’t get the deal that was advertised, you wouldn’t be coming back.

You want a rebate these days? Most of the time you can simply go to the web site of the parts store and fill out their rebate online. You get a confirmation or tracking number. A stamp is saved, and your rebate is essentially in their system forever.

It’s a win/win. But not for every product or every customer.

Some companies are more web savvy than others. If you are looking at any Black Friday deal at all tomorrow that requires a rebate, pause and ask yourself a critical question.

“Do they process rebates online?”

If so you’re fine. If not, then you’re rolling the dice.

I always keep a folder that tracks all things rebate oriented in my work life. But I also buy an awful lot of stuff. We’re talking nearly $20,000 worth of automotive parts a year.

When you maintain and sell hundreds of cars, the economics change.

The question you have to ask yourself, is whether you are willing to create a folder that will give you easy access to all the mail-in rebates come January. I guarantee that at least a few of the deals you find  tomorrow will require follow up emails and/or phone calls. I average about two a week during the year.

As for the Pep Boys special I mentioned earlier? If you want to roll the dice instead this is how you do it.

You get 5 quarts of oil for free (before tax) by going to Wal-Mart and picking up 5 quarts of G-Oil, and mailing in the rebate found here. Then just wait until a good oil filter deal comes along, by visiting, and combine that with online and manufacturer rebates.

For example, Advance Auto Parts frequently offers 2 Purolator oil filters for $10 at varying times. What I do for my personal vehicles is order four of those oil filters online and two air filters using code ES123 which gives you a $20 discount off of $50. Then access the manufacturer rebates you have through Purolator’s web site or go to

At the best case scenario, you have about 30,000 miles of scheduled maintenance that will cost you about $20. Four oil changes and two air filter changes for the DIY consumers will usually cost about $100 in oil and filters for the average car.

So you save quite a bit. But you will have to work for it, time it right, and follow-up on everything.

It’s a new economy folks… with the same old hoops.  My advice is to figure out whether your time is worth jumping through all of them. If not, then just buy the equivalent of the Pep Boys special. Or just avoid the whole hassle altogether.

Specials aren’t really that special anymore.


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