Halfords...good or bad? - dmj 71
Iknow this isnt a strictly technical thread, {In that case, over to discussion you go. DD, BR Moderator}

but I\'ve seen halfords mentioned a few times on this site and was wondering how the motoring public sees us?
Has anyone really noticed how much its changed over the last year..if so for the better or worse? And how do you rate us staff?
I only work there,im not a suit trying to get some free information so say what you think...im thick skinned!!!
Halfords...good or bad? - THe Growler
I was in Halfords at a branch in a well-known town in Kent in May and was horrified as an ex-HR person to witness the manageress or supervisor yelling down the phone in front of customers at a staff member who had obviously phoned in to say he/she was late for duty, using expressions like "that's not my b****y problem" and "you'll get an official warning for this" while I was standing there clutching my purchases and my money.

The shop itself was dirty, many items were out of stock and parts were laying on the floor.

I'd say that Halfords branch at least had a few problems.

Halfords...good or bad? - trancer
I went in once to buy the necessities to change my oil, I got filter, changing pan, oil etc, then went up to the service counter and asked about the proper way to dispose of used oil. One guy didn't know, so he asked a asked a few others. Someone he asked wasn't sure, but said I should try the council tip. Being new in the area I asked where that was and he promptly replied that I should go buy an A to Z and went back to what he was doing. I calmly put down all I had picked up and walked out of the store.

I fully understand that it isn't his job to give directions, but I found his attitude offensive. There are many ways to say something, I just didn't like his. The employees at my local GSF shop are more helpful and have been getting my custom ever since. Lower prices than Halfords makes it easier too.
Halfords...good or bad? - Algernon
Our local Halfords is OK for me. I can easily find most things I want, or have a peaceful potter if I'm not sure. The staff are fine, if not always fully clued up they do try.

I recall in particular the chap who spent the best part of an hour fixing me up with an awkward number plate, very cheerfully.

Perhaps it depends on local attitudes generally.
Halfords...good or bad? - No Do$h
The main branch in Poole is pretty good, with the exception of their fitting service. Advertised with nearly every item is a small fee for fitting. You try and get anyone to do it!

It's always "sorry sir, nobody available to do that". I can see why, as nobody enjoys changing headlamp bulbs on modern cars due to the lack of space under the bonnet, but that's why I'm prepared to pay someone to do it!

Perhaps there's a market for kids to earn some money without doing a paper round. Use their small hands to replace headlamp bulbs!

The new-look stores are certainly an improvement and I'm very impressed with the bike section these days. Staff certainly have a good idea of what they stock and where to find it in all sections of the store.
Halfords...good or bad? - Adam {P}
My main gripe is with prices...sorry. A good few months back I was looking to replace my standard Ford Cassette player with a cd player. Given the monsterous size of these things I needed a fascia adapter and some connectors for any cd p[layer I buy. The guy was helpful with this but when it came to my cd player, I wasn't happy at all. Even though I'm a student, I don't mind paying for good qualilty so I was out to get a really nice cd player. When I was looking, I found one I loved on a website for £149.00. I went into Halfords expecting £10/20 more in the price which I was prepared to pay. Imaging my surprise when the exact same cd player was £249.00. Granted, websites are bound to be a whole lot cheaper but by a ton? WHen I went in and asked the guy for advice, he showed me this cd-player and commented that it was the cheapest price I'd find...I think not.

Gripe over
After death, hair grows but phone calls tend to taper off
Halfords...good or bad? - Sooty Tailpipes
I have noticed that Halfords have these large superstores (their name, not mine) but if you pay attention, most people are just looking, and not many buy much stuff, if anything at all. I would say most people come out of the door empty handed.

My main complaint is the prices are expensive, but I have found the staff to be helpful within the limitations of knowledge that you would expect in a chain store.

I would prefer to see quality staple items sold cheap and stacked high, like ASDA for groceries.
Halfords...good or bad? - DavidHM
Prices are on the high side - audio especially. And the non-OE parts are often little or no cheaper than the main dealer's genuine ones, which kind of defeats the object in my opinion.

I definitely agree that there is a wide range in quality of service; not that I have noticed any particular change over the last year in any respect.

The main advantage of Halfords IMO is that it's open on the way home from work or Sunday morning when the dealer's parts counter isn't.

It's not awful, but it could be so much better.
Halfords...good or bad? - SjB {P}
I dropped in at my local Halfords branch on Monday to purchase a replacement H7 dipped beam bulb for my nine month old V70. (This will be the first of many to blow if threads on the web and my father's five years of S80 ownership are anything to go by. I guess it is the fact that they are 'always on' as day time running lights)

Although I knew exactly what I wanted (direct replacement as the standard fitment bulbs together with excellent Volvo headlight design are superb), I asked the assistant to explain the difference between the many different options available: Bosch or Halfords own, Standard, Standard plus 30%, Xenon, All weather, Super white, and a few others I recall.

He was a young guy, with enormous desire to help, who went to great lengths to try and establish the differences when it became clear that his own knownledge was lacking. He even went to look at the motorcycle bulbs display, as he recalled that some bikes also use H7 bulbs. The answers given were a little muddled, and not always accurate, so I would mark 5/10 for information, 10/10 for effort, and consequently 6/10 for overall service given.

Out of interest, the branch was out of stock of standard H7 bulbs, but I needed an immediate replacement as this was my last chance to replace the one that had blown a little earlier (I had a flight to catch, and knew that my drive home at the weekend will be in the dark)

I therefore decided to buy two (to keep a balanced pair) of Halfords own brand All Weather bulbs "Designed to reduce reflected glare in rain, sleet, and snow", or something similar. These have various filters, and certainly when looking at the headlamp glass when illuminated, they have a multi-coloured hue. I have no idea yet how effective they are, in dry or wet conditions having only used them as daytime running lamps (Volvo remember), and if I don't like them, will revert to standard at a later date.
Halfords...good or bad? - OldPeculiar
Like any large chain of stores I find quite a mixture of staff quality and knowledge. Interestingly I find the small store in the local town centre to have much more knowledgeable and helpful staff than the big out of town superstore a few miles away. I have noticed though that the stores seem to be filling up with 'boy racer' accessories. The superstore has a whole aisle dedicated to fat loud exhausts.
Halfords...good or bad? - joe
I agree with David HM, the single best thing about Halfords is the fact that they open on the weekends.

Generally speaking, a good range of stuff, although perhaps there is a little too much floor space devoted to air-fresheners, floor mats, go-faster accessories etc, and not enough space or expertise for parts and tools.

One annoying habit (not restricted to Halfords) is for staff to deny the existence of a particular product if is not something that Halfords stock. A good example is electrical conductive epoxy. I had heard of this product as "just the thing" to fix a broken connection of a rear windscreen heating element. Halfords didn't have it, denied it existed and suggested (no really) that I had an entire new rear screen fitted. Did they think I was an idiot?

Nothing wrong with Halfords that a little less marketing and a little more expertise/experience wouldn't fix.
Halfords...good or bad? - oldtoffee
Good. My experience at both Slough and Staines is generally very positive all due IMO to the attitude of the staff and the individual store managers. I enquired about a Thule roof rack system but the adaptors were out of stock. They said they'd get me a pack and call me when it was in. Have to admit I thought it might not happen but they called back next day having shipped it overnight and when I went to pick it up it was all ready with bars and they remembered my name. I know you should expect it to be this way but so often especially in retail (John Lewis/Waitrose apart) the "couldn't care" attitude prevails. I don't buy my oil at Halfords because it's too expensive but I use it for emergencies eg bulbs, fuses and for cleaning stuff. The changes seem to be aimed at the younger motorist - alloy wheel and tyre combos, wider range of ICE, Max Power type accessories plus of course the fitting services which I think are a plus.
Halfords...good or bad? - madf
Stoke on Trent
My ratings:
Service 8/10
Price 0/10
Stock 9/10

Would I buy oil and filters there? No
Would I buy brake disks there? Yes. Very good too.

Batteries? Very good.

Halfords...good or bad? - DieselBoy
Teh branch in Southport is a bit of a nightmare. The shop had a makeover and now it's impossible to find anything. No aisle seems to bear any resemblence to the aisle next to it, unlike days of old. Whether they've had a Feng Shui expert in I know not.

That said, they are open when other accessory shops aren't.

Still prefer my local motor shop though.
Halfords...good or bad? - 20w50
agree totally on the if its out of stock it dont exist thing halfoirds bods come out with.
Always found them a bit pricey and the paint shop never seems to know what they are doing or wont get the color i want
Halfords...good or bad? - SlidingPillar
Stock - getting worse, if you want bits and bobs.
Tools - Better, some really good ones.
Prices - On the whole a bit expensive, but there are some bargains.

Staff - go when the students are there. The originator of this thread may be an exception, but if your sole ambition is to be an assistant at Halfords then you are unlikly to be the brightest bulb in the shop. Students earning an extra crust though are usually the keen ones.
Halfords...good or bad? - PST
It's not really a case of good or bad, more of the trends in retail in the UK these days. I would say Halfords are no different to PC World, Currys, Comet, B&Q and a whole host of other retail groups.

I wouldn't expect to go into PC World/Currys and expect to get a particularly informed opinion on any of the goods they sell. What they do offer is convenient locations, lots of parking, long opening hours. They're not always that cheap - they'll sometimes have incredible bargains (weren't Halfords doing low cost fully synthetic oil a while back?) but more often than not you'll pay over the odds for bread and butter items.

But as someone mentioned earlier they'll all be open on a drive home from work when the local motor factors or DIY shop or PC Specialist are long closed. I think as long as you know what you want and have been able to check prices beforehand then it just boils down to the convenience factor.

Halfords...good or bad? - PST
And the other thing I meant to say was doesn't it make a pleasant change (assuming, as dj says, he's not a 'suit') for a member of staff from one of these retail outfits to actually take an interest or care how their employer is perceived?

Halfords...good or bad? - OldPeculiar
Are you a student perchance Dj@halfords? :)
Halfords...good or bad? - Hawesy1982
Halfords is fine for bits and bobs, this weekend i bought some wheel trims, some injector cleaner, a new bulb and some spray paint for my new car.

Yes the prices on parts aren't that special, compared to the GSF shop i used to use for my Peugeot, but their not that bad either when compared to dealer prices, and as everyone else has mentioned they are open long hours and weekends.

The staff are acceptable, i wouldn't expect them to know that much about their stock really as weekend staff are likely to be part-timers, but it's a pleasant surprise when they do.

I'd agree that the boy-racer section is getting a bit much floor space nowadays.

For your average motorist who only needs a car-related store for bulbs paint and cleaning accessories who doesnt do much DIY fixing, and isn't aware of GSF etc Halfords is a useful outlet
Halfords...good or bad? - GrumpyOldGit
I use Halfords :-) for the convenience. The prices are a little high, but then with that amount of floor space and stock they will be higher than the small, independant parts shop.

Hounslow branch.

Not too good. The staff are not happy and helpful. Sorry to be rude, but most of them seem to be a bit dim, not just about the products, but just generally not very bright.


Have used 2 branches, both very good. Friendly, smiling, helpful, knowledgeable staff. Importantly to me, they seem to be car enthusiasts too. Also had an oil & filter change at a good price and with good service, though I realise the service bay isn't really Halfords.
Halfords...good or bad? - Quinny100
The Southport store, as has already been mentioned is not great.

I went in one evening having noticed they had Bosch Duratherm glow plugs on display when I'd popped in earlier in the week to pick a Haynes book up for a mate. I went to the exact spot in the shop and found they weren't there. I asked the young female assistant where the glow plugs had gone and she led me over to the bulb section and said "here they are", to which I asked "where" and she said this is the selection of glow bulbs they have! I then said "Do you actually know what a glow plug is" and she just walked off in a huff, I wasn't rude to her or anything.

Another time I went in to get some brake pads for a Peugeot 106 with Bendix calipers. I gave the lad the details and he said "they don't do Bendix calipers on the 106". Fair enough he was only going on what the computer said, but to tell a customer that they're wrong is a bit off. Ended up at GSF and got a set in about 30 seconds.

The "matched" paint held on the shelves (I use the term matched rather loosely) are usually way off the mark, including the touch up kits. I've never tried the matching service where they mix you a can, but the off the shelf stuff is an awful match.
Halfords...good or bad? - flatfour
Halfords Eastern Avenue Gloucester, always short of stock, they never have more than 1 tub of Hammerite rust remover sometimes non at all, the same applies to Hammerite No.1 paint, wire brushes for use in drills, they no longer sell welding wire or the Co2 cylinders, last time I was in they were out of Swarfega hand cleaner, they had a load of car phone bits in a basket marked at something like all items £1-99, when I went to the check out they charged me something like £9-99, the manager was called and he rudely stated that all the £1-99 items had gone and this one was £9-99 so I was rude back. Some of the assistants are very helpful, whilst others are ignorant, if I had an alternative locally I wouldn't bother!
Halfords...good or bad? - flatfour
My other gripe is the car stereo dept. blasts the hell out of my ears ever time I go in, why have the bass up so loud you can't talk to the cashier, she says she has also complained but been ignored.
Halfords...good or bad? - No Do$h
My other gripe is the car stereo dept. blasts the hell
out of my ears ever time I go in, why have
the bass up so loud you can't talk to the cashier,
she says she has also complained but been ignored.

Tell her to report it as a breach of health and safety in the workplace....... You'd be amazed the response she will get then!
Halfords...good or bad? - L'escargot
Tell her to report it as a breach of health and
safety in the workplace....... You'd be amazed the response she
will get then!

Oh yeah? It will probably be something to the effect that her attitude no longer comes up to the management's expectations!!
L'escargot by name, but not by nature.
Halfords...good or bad? - Hugo {P}
Thanks DJ for a great chance to be honest about a trader without upsetting the moderators wrt 'naming and shaming'.

I tend to buy my spares from a variety of sources, usually those specialising in product types that I am after. For example, French car parts from GSF except where it is a Ranault Trafic Steering Pump which they hadn't heard of. I got this from a little outfit near me called Kelly Bray Steering Racks.

I find Halfords generally expensive and the staff are not always that knowledgable. It seems to be the way of retail these days that staff need to be able to sell and supervise other staff over and above be able to advise on products. I find this especially applies in all DIY stores, though the new B&Q Superstores are heading in the right direction.

However, In Plymouth City Centre there is one chap who is particularly knowledgable and he was of great help when I was looking at a new stereo for the Discovery. I decided to keep what I had in the end. Also, I got a Haynes Manual for the Disco at £13.99 - cheaper than Haynes sell them through this site!!

However, in the Marsh Mills shopping centre, I enquired about roof bars for the Xantia and found their prices..... well lets just say they were having a laugh!! Furthermore I found their attitude offensive and very customer unfriendly.

The truth is that I tend to use Halfords as a last resort, because, Unless it's a Haynes Manual I am after, I know they'll be much more expensive than many other outlets and you cannot talk them into giving you a discount for 'trade', something I ask for in most motor factors out of habit.


"Forever indebted to experience of others"
Halfords...good or bad? - king arthur
I got
this from a little outfit near me called Kelly Bray Steering

Kelly Bray? Small world, that's just up the road from where I went to secondary school (Callington).
The truth is that I tend to use Halfords as a
last resort, because, Unless it's a Haynes Manual I am after,
I know they'll be much more expensive than many other outlets

Haynes manuals, £14.99 in Halfords, £10.99 in my local motor factors...
Halfords...good or bad? - Hugo {P}
That's Right. My eldest will be going to Callington School Next year.

The Halfords I went to did the Manual at £13.99, though I have to admit, the cheapest in my area for these is around £12.99, unless you go to Trago Mills, (I expect you've heard of this as well) where they can be had for about £10.99 if they've got what you want.

Halfords...good or bad? - puntoo
I needed a new back box for my car.

Every other garage gave me a quote and offered to do the job that day.

Halfords put me through to (what I think was) a call centre who explained that my car would need to be examined before any work could begin (or even get a quote), my car is just over three years old and has always been serviced by Fiat. Why would they want to do that if not to try to find something else wrong it ?

I do buy my car batteries and oil there though.

As for Bike Hut, dont even go there.

Halfords...good or bad? - dmj 71
WOW!...Didnt expect many responses!...Im glad it is all constructive replys and not just everyone wading in!!..lol.
If i can i would like to reply to some of the main questions,these are all in my opinion,like i say im a worker,not a "suit" Oh..and not a student as i think someone asked in the thread.
I have worked for halfords for around 6 years but i am a trained mechanic so i would like to think i am one of the more helpful/knowledgable staff that we seem to be missing so much now.
The main topic is that we are expensive,i have to agree,so many people saying the same cant be wrong,BUT,did you know Halfords have a price match policy?.They will match the price of any competitor within 20 miles INCLUDING trade outlets (partco,andrew page etc) so if you know you can buy cheaper elsewhere let them know.They should do it for the same price!I should tell you that it has to be of same/similar quality and be available to anyone at the other outlet.Wont do it for trade outlets where you need an account or card etc.
As for the "boy racer" section (RIPSPEED) getting bigger,well,thats also true.It is well known that the market for hard parts (brake pads,suspention,pumps etc) is in decline and has been for many years now.The RIPSPEED range is a real winner for halfords as it is a growing market.(we are selling camping gear in some stores!!).So its common sense more floor space is given to our biggest money earners.
Finally,audio being more expensive,I think our head office is now becoming aware of this and prices are really dropping now.Go in to your local store in the next week and look at all the was/now prices on the audio board!
I hope this explains some of your points from an employees point of view.
Just a quick message to the moderators,I hope you let this thread stand as its not trying to get some free advertising.These are honest views from site users and i hope ive given honest answers!
keep the comments coming and ill give any advise i can.
thanks for your time.

Halfords...good or bad? - dmj 71
Hi again,
The other thing i was going to say is that i deal mostly with selling/fitting the audio range,so if anyone needs help or advise about removing or fitting car audio post a message and ill help get you sorted!.
Oh...and i noticed a reply from a David hm.......just our managing director is called David hamed....hmmmm....lol
Halfords...good or bad? - THe Growler
...what I'm hearing here is that processed meat stuff that comes in cans.....
Halfords...good or bad? - dmj 71
Hi growler,
I dont think my reply is just company bull if thats what your saying.
Im not saying that you or anyone should shop at halfords,just a lot of the replies mentioned high prices and that they use halfords cause we are open longer hours....what i was trying to say is that if you go in when your usual supplier is shut there is no need to pay the higher price.If you know you can get it cheaper then tell them and get it at the same price from halfords.
If you go back and read my reply i mostly agreed with what people were saying and just tried to answer them best i could.
Halfords...good or bad? - No Do$h
I have to say that if I were employing you, DJ, you would be in for promotion pretty darn sharpish. You've posted an open question on a lively website and rolled with the punches. You've then gone on to explain how the biggest issue with Halfords for many people (price) needn't be an issue any more.

Fair play to you sir.
Halfords...good or bad? - DavidHM
I am always sceptical about price promises, not just in Halfords but in general because:

1. How do you know how much, say, an air filter for a 92 Volvo 440 2.0 is from your local supplier? Fine if it's GSF or Euro, you can look it up on the web, but not otherwise, which brings us to...

2. Even if you do know (and this is from experience) I managed to find a head unit about £40 cheaper from a supplier in north London when I was in SW London.

Rather than price matching it, the guy said that I couldn't pay the lower price because I'd seen the price online, even though it was from a shop open for personal collections at that price and within 20 miles as required.

Price promises work as a marketing tool for two reasons. Firstly, there is almost always enough margin in a product to match the lower price so you might as well have the sale rather than lose the customer.

If not, you can introduce special conditions or take the hit which usually be far smaller than the profit you get by discouraging price-sensitive shoppers from looking elsewhere, believing that the product is 'unbeatable'.
Halfords...good or bad? - BobbyG
Dj, any info on the Apollo Eco that bike that you are advertising? Supposedly reduced from £299 to £120 or so? Is it any good? Whats the "insiders" thoughts?
Halfords...good or bad? - borasport20
...what I'm hearing here is that processed meat stuff that comes
in cans.....

Growler - you old cynic you ! or are you on a backhander for subliminal advertising from Hormel foods Inc ? ;-)

You will, of course be aware that as of today it is illegal to send 'spam' to personal addresses from within the EU, so that daily mountain of junk offering to enlarge this, reduce that, show you what someone did to someone else in the Paris Hilton, etc, etc, will dissapear overnight
NOT !!!

Bora - what Bora ?
Halfords...good or bad? - No Do$h
so that daily mountain of junk offering to enlarge this,
reduce that, show you what someone did to someone else in
the Paris Hilton, etc, etc, will dissapear overnight

I thought that those offers were expressly prepared after careful consideration of my internet usage!

How disappointing.
Halfords...good or bad? - Hawesy1982
8< Snip! 8<

Note to self: Stop opening your junk mail...
Halfords...good or bad? - Hawesy1982
Actually thinking about that i\'m not entirely sure that last post will still be there once a moderator spots it!

Sorry! :-)

It\'s as if he read my mind. ND
Halfords...good or bad? - paulb {P}
Please, who/what/where are GSF?

(And to keep this post on-topic, my local Halfords is pretty good, as is the AA outlet attached to it, which did a very good job of replacing the front tyres on Mrs paulb's Punto at about seven minutes' notice, in 20 minutes flat, for 90 quid. "Very good job" in that it didn't have to go straight back again afterwards to have the wheel alignment corrected, as it would have done with other fast-fit centres hereabouts.)
Halfords...good or bad? - No Do$h
German, Swedish and French. Autofactors for cars made in..... Oh, you guess the rest.
Halfords...good or bad? - paulb {P}
Ah... Clarification appreciated, sir! Have now just realised that they have a shop less than 400 yards from my front door. D'OH!!!
Halfords...good or bad? - roscopervis
Similar to all the above I suppose. My local branches (Llanelli and Swansea) fit in with the general concensus.
My main gripe is with the audio department as the sales people do not know what they are talking about and the fitting is of a poor standard (a colleagues head unit install that failed to plug in the radio and lost 2 screws).

I usually like to have some fun when I am browsing and someone asks me if I need help. Every single time I have asked a probing question or even for a decent opinion I get rubbish back. Every time they try and sell me Sony speakers, especially 6x9's and subs. When I ask them questions about bass cancellation from the 6x9's and that I sit at the front of the car, surely I would need better fronts, I get the classic boy racer lines of "yeah but they're 400 watt!!" and "Its best to have most sound coming from the rear". Now two things. Sony speakers are pretty poor and with a sub, 6x9s are not needed. I enjoy these debates but it saddens me how wrong the advice they are giving out is. The audio staff especiall need a lot more training, especially as its not exactly cheap stuff!

Halfords...good or bad? - HF
Personally I have always been amazed in Halfords at the staff's knowledge about all things car-related. From the spotty lad who looks no older than my 14 year old, to the girl who looks not much older, they all in my experience seem so much more knowledgable than anyone would generally give them credit for.

One thing that has irked me slightly, recently, is (down here in 't'south anyway) their new policy of charging for fitting things like windscreen wipers. It was a nice touch before, to do it for free, and not a huge cost now, but even so the old policy of free fittings was very welcome.
Halfords...good or bad? - Cyd
Like others I feel the prices are high and the stores need more knowledgeable staff (petrol heads) and a better stock control system.

My other gripe is: why are the speakers in the "test wall" fitted such that there are two pairs of speakers per box? When driving one pair the other pair resonate in sympathy and spoil the sound of the driven pair. It is therefore impossible to get a true comparison of sound quality. If you go to any decent hifi shop with a demo room, they will remove all other speakers from the room whilst you listen to the ones you are auditioning.
Halfords...good or bad? - PhilW
How can you possibly complain about a place that has "half price mats" in its January sale? They are obviously out to corner the Backroomer market!


Value my car