Savings Tips

Super Charge Your Savings…By Spending Money on your Car?

Performing regular basic maintenance on your car or truck can help keep your auto on the road for longer… giving you BIG savings over the long run.

But… are you really maximizing your savings potential? Where are buying your motor oil? Wiper blades? and Air Filters? Are you over spending by 50%, 100%, or more!?

We did a little shopping “research” using three of the most common retail outlets that sell auto parts and accessories to see where the best deals really are.

So who are our contenders?

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Autozone, the largest retailer of aftermarket automotive parts and accessories. With 2019 revenues numbers of approximately $12 billion, you can say they are kind of a big deal. You may have seen or heard one of their commercials, “Get in the Zone! Autozone!”

With over 6000 locations, there is a good chance you’ve seen one of their stores or even been in one. When you think automotive parts and services, Autozone probably sits high on your conscious as the go to store, but… should it be?

Walmart

Big blue, with a location within 10 miles of 95% of all Americans, the 20th century “Amazon” and the largest retailer in the world with revenue over $512 billion last year! Walmart also partnered with Advanced Auto Parts in 2018 to amplify their auto supply selection. Can Big Blue offer the discounts you need?

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The retail juggernaut, that dabbles in everything you can think of, from selling books, electronics, groceries, to providing digital assistants via Alexa, to even running half the internet! (Amazon Web Services)

Well, they also sold over $8 billion dollars in auto parts and accessories in 2019 alone. Hey, two day shipping ain’t so bad, but is the “internet” savings worth it?

So we put these 3 retail giants to the test by using a commonly purchased compact crossover – the Subaru Crosstrek, as our test rig to find out who offers the best prices on common maintenance products.

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The most common maintenance items that we will be looking at are the engine air filter, cabin air filter, engine oil, engine oil filter, wiper blades, windshield washer fluid, car wash detergent, and car wax.

Note, due to “branding” issues, not every brand of product is available at each retailer, for example – FRAM air filters are not available at Autozone (available at Walmart and Amazon) and STP air filters are not available at Walmart (available at Autozone) so to make an “apples to apples” comparison we selected the high volume “store” brands that were offered when required.

Engine Air Filter

So to kick this off we looked at one of the easier maintenance tasks that anyone can do within a few minutes – replacing the engine air filter. Replacing this filter at regular maintenance intervals (10,000 to 15,000 miles) helps maintain your cars original fuel economy and horsepower.

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We kept the breakdown pretty straight forward here. Next to each retailers name is the name of the product and the cost of said product at the time of research.

Autozone – STP – Model #SA9997 – Cost $14.99

Walmart – FRAM Extra Guard – Model #CA9997 – Cost $11.94

Amazon – FRAM Extra Guard – Model #CA9997 – Cost $8.49

Winner – Amazon

Amazon offers the most competitive price for this model of air filter, offering a 40% cheaper alternative to Walmart, and a whopping 75% cheaper than Autozone!

Cabin Air Filter

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To keep your car interior smelling fresh, replacing your cabin air filter is a must. So how did we make out?

Autozone – TP CAR1869P – Cost $19.99

Walmart – EcoGuard XC36115 – Cost $8.41

Amazon – EcoGuard XC36115- Cost $8.41

Winner – Tie – Walmart/Amazon

Walmart and Amazon come out with a tie here, offering a reasonable $8.41 for a simple cabin air filter. The cheapest option available at Autozone came in almost 140% more expensive in this category!

Engine Oil

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Engine Oil, the life blood of your car’s engine. Change this item at the regular service intervals or sooner will keep your car running like new for longer. Here we were able to choose the EXACT same product across all three competitors.

Autozone – Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 0W-20 – Cost $37.99

Walmart – Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 0W-20 – Cost $21.97

Amazon – Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 0W-20– Cost $21.97

Winner – Tie – Walmart/Amazon

My goodness, I am already starting to see a trend here. Walmart and Amazon come in at the exact same price point, with Autozone costing 73% more! Wow!

Engine Oil Filter

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Changing your engine oil doesn’t do you much good if you don’t swap out the oil filter as well…

Autozone – FRAM Extra Guard PH7317 – Cost $8.99

Walmart – FRAM Extra Guard PH7317 – Cost $3.88

Amazon – FRAM Extra Guard PH7317 – Cost $3.88

Winner – Tie – Walmart/Amazon

The tie keeps coming. The two retail juggernauts are not backing down in this category by competing neck and neck here, with Autozone asking for a 130% premium for the exact same product!

Windshield Wiper Blades

Don’t you hate it when it rains and all your windshield wipers do is smear and streak? You tell your self… “I have to change these blades!”.. Then it stops raining and you forget… until it rains again! This cycle continues a couple more times before you finally make the change.

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Drivers Side:

Autozone – Bosch Evolution 26 in Beam – Driver side – Cost $21.99

Walmart – Rainx Expert Fit 26 in Beam – Driver side – Cost $9.94

Amazon – Rainx Expert Fit 26 in Beam – Driver side – Cost $15.47

Passenger Side:

Autozone – Bosch Evolution 16 in Beam – Passenger side – Cost $19.99

Walmart – Rainx Expert Fit 16 in Beam – Passenger side – Cost $9.94

Amazon – Rainx Expert Fit 16 in Beam – Passenger side – Cost $13.28

Total Cost – Driver/Passenger Side

Autozone – $41.98

Walmart – $19.88

Amazon – $28.75

Winner – Walmart

Walmart is the clear winner here with Autozone and Amazon costing around 110% and 45% more respectively.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Like peanut butter and jelly, as does windshield wipers go with washer fluid. Now this one has some surprises that we could only make assumptions!

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Autozone – RainX All Season 2-1 Washer Fluid – Cost $4.99

Walmart – RainX All Season 2-1 Washer Fluid – Cost $2.97

Amazon – RainX All Season 2-1 Washer Fluid – Cost $49.95

Winner – Walmart

Yes, that is not a decimal point error. The cheapest you could get this washer fluid off of Amazon was for $49.95 as a 5 pack only. So about $9.99 per bottle, but you can’t buy only one! Yikes. So you’ll spend 1500% on Amazon, almost making 40% markup from Autozone looking like a steal!

Car Wash Shampoo

If you plan on keeping your car for the long haul your going to have to keep it looking good. You could take your machine to the local car wash and pay $10 or $15 a pop or… you could do it yourself for a fraction of the price.

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Autozone – Turtle Wax Max Power Car Wash – Cost $7.99

Walmart – Turtle Wax Max Power Car Wash – Cost $4.88

Amazon – Turtle Wax Max Power Car Wash – Cost $31.40

Winner – Walmart

Again, this is where Amazon stumbles on this particular item, you have to buy a 4 pack (comes out to $7.85 per unit). I assume the cost to ship items that are typically cheap but are weigh a good amount, the price has to go up to compensate on shipping costs.

Car Wax

What’s the point of a good car wash without a good wax to keep it shining?

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Autozone – Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell – Cost $6.49

Walmart – Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell – Cost $5.43

Amazon – Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell – Cost $6.79

Winner – Walmart

I think this is the closest match up across all three retailers, with only a 25% difference between the lowest and highest price offering.

The Results

So when we put all this together how much are we actually spending on taking care of our wheels? We summed up all the data above to give us a grand tally.

Autozone – Total Cost – $143.41

Walmart – Total Cost – $79.36

Amazon – $159.64

Overall Winner

Walmart

Wow, some eye opening numbers here. You could either go to your local Walmart and spend around $80 for everything or go to your local Autozone and spend 80% more. EIGHTY PERCENT MORE for like or exactly the same items. Or you could order it all on Amazon for 100% more*. I put an asterisks to that statement, the minimum cost to buy windshield washer fluid and car wash fluid skewed the results here, but it does go to show you the limitations of online shopping.

In the end this article sounds like a advertisement for Walmart. It’s not! It’s just how the data presented itself. As someone who likes to keep their auto in tip top shape and while not breaking the bank, I guess Walmart is the place to be.

Bonus Data!

If you need a car battery it would also appear that Walmart is extremely competitive. Their top of the line battery which includes a 5 year warranty came up at to $80 vs $140 and $150 for the equivalent Autozone and Amazon battery of similar Cold Crack Amps and warranty duration!

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So what are your thoughts? We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send us an email via our Contact Page.

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Disclaimer – the prices listed above were independently sourced and do not guarantee the cost of said items in your area. When performing auto maintenance follow the guidance provided by your manufacturer or service provider.

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