If you enjoy tinkering under the hood or only go to the mechanic when you have a critical problem, Discount Auto Parts is a good place to look for parts, tools, and basic information. I actually prefer another retail parts store (Auto Zone) over Discount, mostly because the staff is generally more knowledgeable than at Discount. It is clear that at discount the staff does not even have to know what a alternator is, let alone have any desire to learn. However, I often go to Discount for their sales on fluids (Oil, transmission fluid, and antifreeze) which I can usually find on sale for less than Wal-Mart. They also offer free computer diagnostics (if your car is fairly recent it has a central computer that gives mechanics a service code to help them in finding the problem). They have a community toolbox (a chest of basic tools that you can use while on site), a free battery tester/charger, free oil recycling (for proper disposal of your fluids), and their staff is usually willing to help with minor tasks like changing bulbs. As I mentioned before, most of the staff is general customer service, but there usually is one person on staff who is an advanced hobbyist or mechanic - these on-site experts are usually easy to spot because they are ALWAYS busy (while the cashiers idly chat amongst eachother). I'd recommend waiting to speak with the expert if you have any questions about parts, repair, or tools - otherwise you're either going to get a half-guess or a vacant stare.