Shopping for a Brake Line
While in the process of replacing the brake calipers on my Toyota 4Runner, I managed to strip the threads on my hard brake line. I needed to get the car back together so that I could drive it to work, however getting an OEM replacement would take at least a few days. I opted to go find a universal brake line at a local auto parts store. Only AutoZone seemed to stock the right length hard line for my car.
My AutoZone Experience
I walk into AutoZone and ask the salesperson behind the counter for the specific brake line that’s behind the counter. He goes to the back for a few minutes and returns with a brake line that looks like it was used. The tag looked like it was falling off and the line itself was slightly bent. Not a big deal as I’ll be bending the tube myself anyway.
I had my brake caliper with me so I could try screwing the end bolt into the caliper. I tried out one side and it fit just fine. I tried the other side, but the label was in the way. The salesperson saw me struggling with this and told me, “go ahead and remove the label, it’s okay”. So I proceeded to remove the label carefully. I was able to then move the bolt to the end and verify that I was able to screw the end bolt into the caliper.
Then… I noticed that not only was the brake line itself bent, but the flared end was warped. It was obvious someone had done some work with this line before and somehow returned it. At this point, I showed the salesperson the issue and he looked dead in my eyes and said, “I’m sorry, you removed the label so you have to buy this one.”
I almost thought the guy was joking, but he wasn’t kidding. He was 100% serious expecting me to pay for a damaged brake line with a tag that he told me was okay to remove. I couldn’t believe this guy!
The non-confrontational me wanted to accept it and pay for the $10 part. But I was fuming. My heart was racing, my face turned red hot, and I started yelling at the guy for what he was trying to do to me.
Maybe he wasn’t expecting me to raise a stink about it or maybe it was because he started to get embarrassed of what he was coercing me to do, but he promptly took the part back and I left the store. I eventually found the part somewhere else, completely free of defects to which I was able to bend and fit to my brake caliper.
I don’t typically go out of my way to avoid local auto parts stores, but experiences like these tend to detract me from ever wanting to enter another AutoZone again. What about you, any bad experiences at local auto parts stores?