Byron Tire / Negligent, dangerous, incompetent

Quick summation:

Aptitude of mechanic = amateur to below average

Untrained in the proper application of torque wrenches, refused to torque the lug nuts in the required star pattern after two requests to do so, poor overall attitude.

Professionalism of management = rock bottom

Never received a, "sorry we damaged your car and put you out for several hours" comment from anyone at Byron Tire. No one ever owned up to the indisputable fact that incorrect and seriously dangerous torquing procedures were and are still are being used.

Waiting room = clean and pretty well laid out

Bathroom = clean and pleasant

Coffee pot = coffee machine was present but never did see the coffee pot.

Staff = children and obviously so...little to no ability to communicate or field a legitimate problem that they were a part of.

Price of service = ended up being really expensive resulting from their incompetence.

Now for the details:

For the safety of you and your family it would be best to consider my recent experience with Byron Tire in Byron, GA.

Took my vehicle to Byron Tire on August 7th 2010 to have the wheels balanced and the front end aligned. Steve, the "mechanic", appeared none to happy. Steve aligned the front end first then balanced the tires. I knew something was going wrong when he used an impact wrench to do the final tightening of the lug nuts after mounting the tires. Correct protocol absolutely requires a precision instrument such as a torque wrench to effect final lug stud/nut torque specs.No torque wrench was used instead and impact wrench.

Went home to replace the rear shocks and two lug nuts would not budge leaving me with a wheel that could not be removed. I checked the torque on each lug and found them to be at 125 to 130 foot pounds when spec required 90 foot pounds. Byron Tire over-torqued the lug nuts causing the lug stud threads to compress in these two instances. Apparently this dangerous shortcut tire shops make are all too common:

"1. Over-torquing, which is "a huge problem, " according to Ortolani. "All bolts have a yield level. Torque is a precision, controlled stretch beneath that yield. Once a bolt stretches past its yield, it no longer relaxes. Think of a rubber band. When you over-torque, you stretch a bolt beyond its yield."

Bolts that are over-stretched don't give a warning before they fail: they just snap. The best way to avoid over-torquing is to use precision calibrated tools, he says."


Moving along, I took the vehicle back to be repaired. Repair was done over several hours. Steve repaired the lug studs, mounted tires and amazingly put the impact wrench on the studs to again tighten the lug nuts at which point I told him to stop using the impact wrench. Steve protested and refused to stop using the impact wrench claiming that he was not putting more than 50 foot pounds on each nut. Then Steve retrieved his torque wrench and began doing the final tightening. However, Steve was not torquing in a star sequence at which point I requested that he torque the nuts in a star sequence. Steve said nothing in response and continued to torque the lug nuts in circular fashion.

Moving along, the owner, Chris Hodges, indicated that the two lug nuts that his shop had damaged had to be acquired from Dodge because O'riley Auto parts did not have the correct lug nuts. Chris told me that he would see to it that the lug nuts would be at the shop on Tuesday August 10th for me to pick up. I showed up on Thursday the 12th and the lug nuts had still not been acquired as Chris had promised. Why am I not surprised that this shop has put me out yet again? Obviously, customer satisfaction and safety is not a priority of Chris Hodges at Byron Tire insofar as this customer is concerned.

Incidentally, you should know a few other details. I asked an older staff person, Bobby, why on earth Byron Tire did not use a torque wrench to do final tightening on the wheel lugs. Bobby became immediately defensive indicating that the use of a torque wrench was not required unless one had alloy wheels. Such a statement set me aback as it was 100% incorrect as any credible mechanic or engineer can attest..see above! Think about your family losing a wheel as the studs sheer off at highway speeds due to over-torquing. Look up "wheel-off" accidents to see how common this is.

Anyhow, at this point it became obvious that their lack of wheel torque policy was set by those in management and that this management was badly negligent or mechanically ignorant or both.

One more item of interest: as I was leaving I asked Chris if he was going to implement a lug nut tightening policy using a torque wrench for final tightening. Chris indicated he may use torque sticks. I indicated that torque sticks are not as accurate as torque wrenches to which he replied, "torque wrenches are costly to calibrate."

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