Article > Operations

You Might Be a Parts Pro If...


Are you a real parts professional? Here are some sure-fire clues to know if you’re really a parts pro or not.

I’ve spent a lot of years in the parts business and over the years, I’ve made a few observations about the job we do. And so, with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, you might be a parts professional if:

You cringe when you hear any of the following words: claim, lifetime or labor.

You have actually looked up a radiator hose in your brand, found the hose not in stock, interchanged the number to a competitive brand, interchanged that number back to your brand, got a number different than you started with, which you sold — and it worked.

You get an order for four outside door handles for an “Astrostar van,” and you send the correct parts.

You can only eat lunch standing up.

Your art collection consists of 12 auto parts hats and a poster of the Number 8 car.

You can drink hot coffee that gets cold, iced coffee that gets warm and eat three-day-old donuts.

You know the four seasons are Sta-Bil, De-icer, Armor All and R-134a.

You have never purchased a pen in your entire life.

You’ve invented your own short hand for upper, lower, left, right, front, rear, cam, crank, stick and automatic.

You never ask if the Cadillac has air conditioning even when the computer catalog prompts the question. And no, a Coupe de Ville is not four-wheel drive.

You can only install wiper blades in a torrential downpour.

You have brushed your teeth with Simple Green — just like the salesmen said you could — but the taste is horrible.

You know there is no “T” in Dexron.

You can measure the thickness of a rotor with a yard stick.

You can field strip and repair an invoice printer in two minutes.

Your clock moves in 20 minute increments.

You are the only one in your neighborhood working the last week of the year.

Your knowledge of other places in the country comes from reading three-year-old newspapers that were used for packing a special order you just received.

The UPS man knows what you just scribbled on his electronic pad.

You know a “caliper” and a “caliber” are the exact same part.

You open earlier and close later than the hours stated on the sign on the front door.

You know 400 phone numbers, 300 customer numbers, every part number for a ’93 Econoline and forget your wedding anniversary every year.

You get an order for 7/16 brake line, then you ask, “is that the wrench size?” (Which of course it is).
You don’t get stressed when a customer, ordering parts for a ’55 Buick, says “This car has been here all week and I need to get it finished today!”

You watch the original Blues Brothers, just to hear Dan Aykroyd talk about “cop springs, cop shocks, cop suspension...”

You started wearing glasses because the numbers on wheel seals looked like they were written in Roman numerals.

You hate to pay “list” price for anything. You even ask the checkout person at the supermarket, “What’s my price?”

You say “thank you” to your customers, and you mean it.

You wonder about the odd number of spark plugs on the shelf every time you sell a tune-up for a five-cylinder car.

You know that every set of wires returned “defective” is missing the coil wire.

You can remember that one sale of an air conditioning clutch that was not returned.

You are the only person who helps an out of town customer get home when her unobtainable seven-rib serpentine belt self destructs. You recommend a six-rib belt of the same length, which is in stock, as an emergency repair.

You look at the price of a hose clamp at the big box store and collapse in the aisle.

You prefer to eat with a plastic “spork.” It’s one less decision to make during a hectic day.

And finally, all your clothes, including your underwear, have an auto parts manufacturer’s logo.

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