When it comes to safety while driving, what is the single most important thing on any vehicle you drive ?
THE TIRES !!
For my Northern friends, Big O Tires is a very large, independently owned and operated Nationwide store.
NEVER again will I do any business at this place.
Here is a excerpt from their website …
“Big O Tires has become North America's largest retail tire franchisor, with over 400 independently-owned and operated locations in 20 states, providing customers with a broad range of automotive services in addition to quality tires, wheels and accessories. Big O has become an industry role model admired for its innovative approach to franchising and unmatched customer loyalty ratings.”
“As Big O Tires continues to thrive and adapt to an ever-changing marketplace, it remains rooted in its humble beginnings as a proud collective of independent dealers committed to putting its customers first.
Big O Tires – The Team You Trust”
A Team I can trust !!! I think NOT !!
Ms. Daisy was riding very rough and had quite a shake in the wheel. So just before leaving Yuma I brought her to them to have the tires rotated and balanced plus a wheel alignment if necessary.
When I arrived at their location at 2975 Pacific Ave. Yuma, AZ they said there would be about a 20-30 Minute wait or I could make an appointment for later in the day. I was anxious to get this dealt with as I had planned on leaving Yuma the following day.
I told them I didn’t mind waiting. Within a few minutes (??) they took the car in. It sat there for a long time and eventually I did see it up on the hoist. But I never did see anybody working on it. Being the patient (NOT !!) person that I am, I sat in the Waiting Room – went outside – came back in – went outside etc. etc. etc. Each time I could see the car.
Finally after about an hour or so the car was ready to go. I specifically asked them if they did a wheel alignment and when they said “NO” I asked them if the car needed a wheel alignment and again the answer was “NO”.
I didn’t feel any improvement in the driving so figured I was just going to have to bite the bullet and buy all new tires because surely that was the problem.
When I arrived in Deming I talked with Lee & Tom about it. Lee suggested I bring the car to a tire place that he uses and get a wheel alignment done. Off we went to TINLEY TEE TIRE where a wheel alignment was done. And was NEEDED to be done the mechanic said.
The mechanic also confirmed that, despite their age, that 3 of the 4 tires were in excellent condition and the 4th one was very good – just cupped !! And NO, I did not need new tires. He even went so far as to say he’d love to sell me new tires but I simply didn’t need them !!
Yet still after this there was no improvement in the handling of the car. Back at the Park, Tom took her out for a spin and when we got back we got talking. He said the tires were never rotated !! And he gave me two very obvious explanations as to how he knew that.
1. The balancing thingies they put on the tires were OLD. If the tires had been balanced the balancing thingies would be obviously new.
2. The front drivers tire was badly ‘cupped’ (I actually know what that means now !! LOL) And that would not happen if that tire had been on the rear – where it would have been had they been rotated.
As Tom was explaining this to me my mind went back to that day that I was so ‘patient’ going in and out of the waiting room. Each time I could see the car but as Tom was explaining things to me I realized that I had not seen the tires being taken off !!!
So back to Big O Tires in Deming, NM I go the next day. Why go back to them you ask ? Well because the tire rotation/balancing is FREE if the tires are theirs and they are on the Tracker.
Oh but it gets WORSE Folks !
Going in there I knew this time I would not take my eyes off the car and also knowing the proper way tires are to be rotated.
What I observed at this location was that there were two ‘mechanics’ who clearly knew what they were doing. And there were two young guys who obviously were hired to do the grunt work. It was these two young guys that took the tires off my car.
They take the two left tires off and bring them in to the balancing machine. The mechanic is already using the machine so he has to wait and was twiddling my tires around. I never took my eyes off the tires so I knew which one came off the front and which one came off the back.
I sauntered in and started chatting with this young guy. I asked him how he knew which tire was which ?? He got it WRONG ! That was confirmed by the other young guy who took them off.
THEN he goes to the other mechanic and gets a marker to label these two tires. I went back to the mechanic and got the marker again to label the two remaining tires.
When the mechanic was balancing the final tire it was REALLY out of balance and he figured the rim was bent. He suggested I take the rim off the spare tire and use that. Fine by me.
The final tire was now going back on and I see the young guy putting THE SAME RIM back on the car – the rim/tire that is now supposed to be the spare !! I knew it was the same rim because the spare tire rim had a different design. “OOOPS” he said !!
In the meantime I had noticed they didn’t tighten the lug nuts (I think that’s what they are called) on one of the other tires but didn’t say anything to see if they would notice. The young guy had lowered the car before he noticed that !!
Now with the tires actually rotated and balanced I immediately noticed a huge improvement in the handling while driving.
I write all of this in the hope that someone will be saved some grief – and potential hazard !!!
I will also be doing an online review and writing to their Head Office.
What happened to me – in two different locations – is simply unacceptable !