Mr. Tire Auto Service Centers / poor service, price gouging
They wanted to charge me nearly $500 to replace the front pads and rotors of my car, which is ludicrous in the extreme; I have done it myself many times for under $100. When I questioned the cost, it dropped to $279, which is still excessive. When I questioned what explained the drop in cost, they said that the left rotor was worn out, but the right was not, so they had eliminated the right from the estimate. I expressed disbelief that one rotor then cost more than $200, and he said he'd also eliminated the hardware, which he said worn out and was causing the pads to stick. I asked why he'd taken that out if it was an issue, so he added that back in, and price went back up to $349. I asked what explained the discrepancies and was told that it was "a question of which package you got." I asked if that meant I was getting less-expensive brake pads or rotors, and was told no, they were the same. I asked if there was a reason why he hadn't just priced one rotor, and was told that they "just generally prefer to do both at the same time." I asked if it was unsafe or in some way not advisable to replace only one if that was all that was in need of replacement, and was told no; they would just resurface it and it would be perfectly safe and cause no issues.
Since I needed the work done that day in order to get my child to class that evening and did not have time to do it myself, I decided to eat the extra cost and have the work done. When I picked up the car, I drove it one mile home without noticing any issues, but as soon I got out onto the highway an hour later, I noticed a lot of vibration when I hit the brakes and a loud rubbing noise as long as the brakes were applied. All seemed to come from the right side of the car. I checked the rotor visually and saw that the surface was very rough compared to how the rotor had looked when I took it in, so I took the car back. When I got out, I noted a strong smell from the brakes; I noted that to the counterman in addition to the noise and vibration.
The manager basically said that the rotor was the problem, but was unable to explain why; he simply said I needed to pay for another rotor. When I told him I wasn't satisfied with that answer, he went out to the mechanic, came back and said the rotor was too thin to resurface again, and implied that it was my fault for not replacing it. I asked him what logical reason there could be for replacing one rotor when the other one was the issue, and that I had been assured when I first brought the car in for repair that resurfacing the right rotor would be fine since it was nowhere near the miniumum thickness and that it had not been damaged by a worn-out pad. Basically, at that point, the manager had little to say except to insist I pay for another rotor, which I refused to do.
At that point, I left to make my appointment. It's clear to me that they simply did a lousy job on resurfacing the rotor, quite probably purposefully, and that the noise and vibration came when the new pad touched an unevenly machined "poorly turned" rotor. While it is not really unsafe, it is a pain, it's poor workmanship, and it will cause the pad to wear out prematurely. I will have to replace both the pads on that side and the rotor ASAP, and tolerate the noise meantime.
Looking at the receipt just now, it becomes obvious to me what a sloppy job this was, in every respect, in addition to the excessive cost. In addition to overcharging me for a simple brake job that I have done myself before at a cost of $100 or less, they had contradicted themselves and charged inflated prices for the hardware and resurfacing.
First, they had charged only $10 for the brake hardware, yet the estimate jumped from $279 to $349 when he added hardware. Second, he had charged me for resurafcing two rotors, when in fact he had resurfaced only one, and done it badly. The other rotor was new. Finally, there was a list of parts and services provided, and a list of parts and services declined. On both lists were the items "brake inspection, " "r&r rotors, " "premium ceramic pads"; how is it possible to decline these items and be charged for them? In addition, they said I "wished to discard the old parts", although I had specifically requested that they save them and put them in the car so I could examine them. (They did not.)
This business is obviously dishonest, and although they are the most-convenient to my house, and it would nice to be able to drop both my cars there for the two new sets of tires I'll be buying in the next few weeks, I won't be doing that, or taking my cars there for anything. There's a reason why this parking lot is empty when every car repair shop on that strip is swamped. I hope they go out of business very swiftly; that would be called "justice."
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