25 February 2024


The local Tires Plus lied today.

They claimed a tie rod wasn't torqued to spec.

They offered to tighten it down for $350.

I declined and took The Beast home.

So I checked.

Inners were still at 66 ft-lb, which is to spec.

Outers were still the fucking tight of 30 ft-lb plus 60 degrees.

No play in the steering.

So I called the shop back.

The guy on the phone swore that something was finger tight and only engaged by a couple of threads.

With him on the phone and shaking things I could not find anything finger tight or engaged by a couple of threads.

This is all especially galling because they were the last place to touch those tie rods because I took the car straight from installing the tie rods to them for an alignment.

I strongly suspect that they made this up because one of the managers offered to upgrade my alignment from last year to a lifetime for the difference between what I'd already paid and the upgraded service.

This is exactly the kind of bullshit that led me to learn to wrench in the first place.

Very telling was the conversation about the inner tie rod ends and his bafflement about the non-factory metal-zip tie's I'd used to retain the boots over them.  He'd described removing and installing the factory wire retainer.

My zip ties were still on the boots and tight as ever.

I'm beyond furious, but what recourse do I have except to go elsewhere?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I have spent no small amount of time over the years cultivating relationships with service outfits to prevent just what you experienced. As I have aged the scope of tasks I can, or am willing to, perform has narrowed, and there have always been specific tasks for which I have neither the equipment nor expertise; front end alignment is one.

    I have used the same person, at the same independent facility, for alignments for years. I will admit that early on with him, and them, I backstopped it by using a close friend at a dealership whom I had known for some time and who demonstrated expertise at the task, and also had the latest and greatest high tech equipment; I stood close by and observed the procedure closely, and his numbers came out precisely the same as the independent's.

    Recently I visited one of the chain tire outfits for rotation and balancing, which was a lifetime arrangement pre-paid as part of the tire purchase a couple years ago; they are convenient, and with modern equipment even the mechanically ignorant children they hire can do a decent job.

    No more. They blessed me with 3 broken wheel studs, 2 on the left rear, one on the left front. They paid for the stud and nut replacement, by my choice of service facility, without argument, but they did not compensate me for the time spent nor the aggravation.

    Over time I have slowly learned to disassociate myself with "chain anything" and seek out independent businesses and individuals within for support and service for more and more. I may buy 2X4s from A Large Home Center - southern yellow pine is southern yellow pine, and I have a moisture meter and eyes capable of determining straight edges - but should assistance be needed in turning them into something, it will not come from anything even vaguely resembling A Large Home Center. Unfortunately, the Talented Handyman type is a dying breed, being replaced by 5-10 person outfits with acountants.

  3. I pretty much agree with Arthur about chains. Unfortunately chain places that do brakes, mufflers, alignment, etc. all tend to suck. For alignments on my Corvettes most of them just plain refuse to do it. "Tires are too wide"... Uh, dude... it has stock size tires, your machine must suck. 275s and 285s aren't really that wide. It's 202x not 197x.

    Basically if you drive anything more interesting than some road potato like a Crapolla or deSentra forget about them. Their business model is mostly huckstering minivan driving housewives out of extra $$$ with unneeded stuff and other such scams.

    I had to find out though asking in the local car guy circles what privately owned shops have the equipment and knowledge to do alignments. The DIY shop I do most of my work at specifically doesn't do alignments because of the cost of the machine and the space it takes up nor do they do echaust other than simple bolt on stoff due to the EPA and DOT nazis who love to harrass muffler shops who work on naughty cars with evil stuff like headers.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Made the mistake of buying a Y2K K-30 (chevy 4x4 one ton) and I think ATT liked to drive it in the SC surf.
    Had to replace all the ball joints, the pass. CV joint, both brake calipers.....

    Wife walked by and said "You don't look like you're having fun..."
    I told her *just because I CAN fix it doesn't mean I LIKE doing it.^

  6. As a counterpoint, I have had positive experience with a local chain alignment shop.

    I took a car in for tyres and an alignment, and when I picked it up later, I heard a loud clunk from the front end over every bump.

    I lifted the front of the car when I got home (collected it at closing, so there was no point in going back), and found a near new set of multi-grips hanging from the front toe link - WIN!


You are a guest here when you comment. This is my soapbox, not yours. Be polite. Inappropriate comments will be deleted without mention. Amnesty period is expired.

Do not go off on a tangent, stay with the topic of the post. If I can't tell what your point is in the first couple of sentences I'm flushing it.

If you're trying to comment anonymously: You can't. Log into your Google account.

If you can't comprehend this, don't comment; because I'm going to moderate and mock you for wasting your time.