Friday, June 8, 2012

Tires at Pep Boys

When I lived in NJ, I went to the same tire dealer for more than 20 years. Now that I live in NH, I was concerned about finding a reputable dealer here in NH.

After pricing tires online, and checking with my dealer back in NJ, it looked like Pep Boys in Manchester was the best deal. They were running a buy 3 and get one free deal with a mail in rebate. 

The next thing I did was to check reviews on Google and Yelp. Most of the reviews were scathing. However, having worked in retail, I knew that you have to read between the lines. People who have good experiences are far less likely to write reviews than those who have bad one. Some bad ones seemed legitimate, while others were sour grape or nut cases. 

I came to the conclusion that this was probably not the place to get serious work done, but I have a lifetime warranty on my car and have all work done by Chrysler. Since this was just tires, I decided to give them a try.

I made my appointment and was told to ask for Mike when I came in. That put up a red flag which suggested commission sales, and I fully expected to experience some up sales attempts.  People may get annoyed at this sort of thing, but it's business and as long as they aren't trying to sell you something you don't or won't need shortly, I can live with it, because I know enough to tell whether I really need the item.

When I arrived, Mike took care of me quickly and professionally. He told me that it would take about an hour. They has free Internet, so I went over to the waiting area and began writing this review.

The car went in immediately, and shortly thereafter, Mike came out and said that my tires were badly wore on the outsides and that I suggested a front end alignment. 

Here's where it was important that I knew about cars. I knew this was an attempt to sell me something I didn't really need. Yes, they were badly worn, but I knew the reason was my lack or diligence in keeping them inflated.  The fact is that the wear was even on all four tires.  Anyone who understands tire wear due to improper inflation vs alignment problems, would see that.  However, I don't really fault them for making the attempt.

To Mike's credit, after I explained my reason for not wanting an alignment, he made no further attempt to convince me and didn't attempt to up sell anything else.

Less than a half hour later, the car was done.  However, since I needed tires because of my lack of attention to tire pressure, the first thing I did was to check the pressure. According to the tire pressure readout on the car's computer they were over inflated. 

I took the opportunity to have them check the pressure so that I could compare the computer readout to the manual check.  It turned out that they were over inflated, by a few pounds.  In their defense, because of the wear, I had them over inflated when I bought them in and that might be why they added a few pounds.

They had the best price, but until I checked out, I didn't realize that they offered free lifetime rotation and balancing every 6000 miles.  I already had cheap $15 rotation and balance through Foss Motors, where I bought the car. But free is much better than $15 and it will result in about a $150 saving over the life of the tire.

With all things considered, I was pleased with the experience.

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