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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My tire experience

This all happened Aug. 14th, 2010.

So, in order to save money, I bought my wife 4 new tires online. They delivered extremely quick (1 day using UPS ground of all things) and I needed to have them put on just as quick because her current tires are crap.

So, I did exactly what I did when I bought my tires online, I took them to Walmart to have them mount and balance them, because sense I'm an average, working, homeowner, I don't have those types of tools!

The guy that you talk to as soon as you pull up and place a work order was new. He stumbled through the hand held device that you enter vehicle information on, pretty much cursing technology in other words. He finally placed my work order into the system along with the standard oil change. As the technician was walking back into the shop from his break, he looked at my valve stem immediately on the way in. He said, "Did you put into the work order that he needs TPS sensors?" The guy immediately froze up, and said "No, he didn't tell me that he needed it until it was already in the system?" Um, how the crap was I suppose to know that I needed a TPS sensor that is connected to my valve stem? The technician said it was no problem, he just needed to check and see if he had those types of valve stems. He also added that it was an extra $20 a tire. Great! More cash down the drain! He soon came back, and said that he didn't have anymore, that I needed to go to the dealer to get the sensor, 1 per tire, and bring them to him, and he could change the tires then. I said okay, go ahead and do the oil change then. I went in to talk to the manager of the tire and lube center, and he stated that Walmart policy is not to touch a tire unless they put on new sensors, because they basically break them as they replace the valve stem. I said, "okay, i'll get them from the dealer. Do you know of anyone else that will change tires on sunday?" He mentioned that Sears would probably be open on sunday. He also stated that his price for all 4 tires was $45 dollars, including tax and disposing of the tires. No problem!

I headed directly to Sears. I told them about my situation, and how Walmart wouldn't touch them unless I brought in new sensors with my new tires. They literally laughed in my face. They said that those sensors were $100 EACH, and that you absolutely do not touch the TPS (Tire pressure sensor) unless it is broken. They said that they would put on my tires for $79!! Wow! Much more than I wanted to spend, but limited on options due to the condition of the current tires, I agreed. He gave my old tires a look over, and tried to get me to agree to a 4 wheel alignment, for another $89.99. This time I laughed in his face. I told him that car drove as straight as an arrow, and I've never known of anyone to EVER get a 4 wheel alignment, only a front wheel alignment. I also told him my tires were not that bad even though they were worn on the inner edges due to a chamber issue set from the factory, and since it was JUST NOW showing after 40k miles that WE put on the car, not to mention however many had ALREADY been put on the car, no thanks!!

After completing my service, he attempted to "sell me", even though I will never make a tire purchase from Sears. He asked "Did you buy those tires online?" Well of course, where else would I have? He then asked the price, and knowing what game he was going to play, I quoted $300, even though it was close to $340. He said, "Oh, sir, I could have given you these tires for $92, and gotten you out the door for $320, including a 2 year replacement warranty. Are you tires even covered under a manufactures warranty?" "Yes, all tires are included under a manufactures warranty." I asked what mileage his tires were rated for, and he only said 30k. So, I said, "Well, that is a no name tire, and I basically bought a 50k tire for that same amount of money. I'll take the better tire." (Editors note: No, it was not Goodyear or Michelins that he quoted!)

I later drove by an Advance Auto parts and stopped in to verify that the sensor did indeed cost $114 (X's 4 tires)! I have no idea what Walmart was talking about with it only being an extra $20 per sensor.

So, all in all, my total out of pocket is around $380 to $390, I'm not sure. And I think I probably saved around $150 if I would have went to a all inclusive store deal. You can usually get away with buying tires online cheaper than you can in the store. My tires were $75 before shipping. The cheapest thing Walmart and Sears had was $100, and that was only for 40k tires. If Walmart would have done my install at the beginning, I would have saved more than $150, but they didn't, so I paid double. I still have no idea what the Walmart guy was wanting to do to me, or why they would not touch my tires?

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