Sunday, June 23, 2019
One of the tires on my car has had a slow leak for quite some time now. At first I could get away with just adding a little air once every couple months and that was fine, but as time went on, the inevitable happened and the problem worsened to the point of no return. Small problems always do tend to turn to big problems if not properly addressed and fixed the first time. And my tire wouldn't even keep full pressure for a two day span and was visibly low every time I looked at it so I finally decided to go in. First thing Friday morning, in I went to a place that offers low prices but is also not a full service mechanic shop. I told them about the tire and asked what their suggestion for a fix was. They thought 2 new tires should do the trick (if you replace 1 you have to replace the other on the same axle or the uneven wear causes the ride to be messed up...I've been told this before, so it was no surprise). I gave them the go ahead and they told me to give them and hour.
When they were finished, the guy ringing me up told me that he was unable to replace my TPS (tire pressure sensor) kit on the faulty tire. He said someone had screwed it on way too tight and the only way to get it off would have been to break it off and they "weren't allowed to do that here". So he informed me that, as a result, the brand new tire may still leak, and if it did, I would need to go to a mechanic who could break it off and have them replace it. He said the dash light was off now, but it may come back on and that I wouldn't know until I drove it a while. So, the better part of two hundred bucks later, the problem still *might* not be fixed. I was a little taken aback at the shoddy service, as I should have been called when the 'too tight TPS' was identified and asked how I wanted to proceed, but in my bafflement I just left and decided never to go back there again. I had errands to run and could tell this gentleman was not a deep thinker, so having a discussion about why he did what he did when ultimately it was not guaranteed to fix the presenting problem, would have been a complete waste of my time.
Sure enough, two hours later, the light came back on. I could see the tire had lost air as well. So I took it to the only mechanic in town I've ever gone to where I've consistently received good service at a fair price (they don't sell tires), and asked if they could help. The guy at the desk told me they didn't do TPS kit replacement there, but he knew the guys at Discount Tire could help. I asked where Discount Tire was, he told me, and off I went. Following the directions he gave me led me straight to Firestone, which was a little confusing, but I thought maybe he'd meant Firestone instead of Discount, since that's where his specific directions took me. SO I went in and told them my situation. The gal at the front desk was very nice and even came out and sprayed some soap around the valve stem to see if we could see where the leak was, Nothing. So she had me pull up to the bay and aired me back up and told me I'd lost about 10 pounds. Wish I could lose 10 pounds off my belly in two hours! Then she said for 20 bucks they'd do a flat repair, which would be to look at it and fix it if was just something simple. So once again, I said let's do it.
As I was sitting in the waiting room, the guy across from me struck up a conversation. He told me that his dad used to own a used car lot and got all the tires done at Discount Tire. I took the opportunity to ask if there was a Discount Tire around here and he told me, yeah, it's right across the street. !!
So after the guys at Firestone were done with the flat repair service they gave me the same info I already received at my first stop. The TPS was stuck on, that's likely where the leak was AND it would be $285 to replace if I wanted it done there. Nope, nope! The gal at the desk told me they put a little sealant around it but said she would waive the $20 fee since they didn't fix the problem, which was very nice of her.
For my fourth stop of the day to fix what I thought was just a simple leak in a tire, I finally found Discount Tire. They were very good, fast and professional but also slammed. They told me the kit replacement would be $60 if they had to break it off, and that I could come back in 2 hours and have it done then. I set the appointment and went home to work on laundry.
Finally at about 5 pm (I'd officially wasted the whole day chasing this down now, thanks to shoddy service at the first place) I jumped in my car and headed back out for my appointment. Before I took off I did check the tire though. It, surprisingly, appeared full. Once I got going I noticed the tire pressure light did NOT come on. Hmm. It had been about 2 hours, which was the same amount of time that had lapsed between the original installation of the new tires and the time the light came on the first time. I remembered that the Firestone gal mentioned the guys put some sealant around the suspected problem area. Well, it worked. Woohoo! So I cancelled my appointment at Discount, turned around and went home.
Even though the entire day off was wasted, I learned some things so all was not lost. And, yes it cost me time and gas money, but other than that, not much more. The new tires were something I was planning on. Next time I'll just go straight to someone who can do the job properly the first time.