Tire Center Scams
How is it that you can walk into a Tire Center for a flat repair or installation of new tires and wind up going home with a complete new set of brakes and rotors that can run another thousand dollars or more on top of your original tire bill? It turns out, that it is pretty easy to do as this is one of the easiest scams many tire centers use that works for supplementing their tire sales.
Here’s the scenario that commonly plays: You walk into a tire center for a flat tire repair, a new tire installation service, or just a scheduled tire rotation to squeeze as many miles as possible out of your tires. Shortly after your car is on a lift, the manager comes to you with a clipboard---they all have clipboards, it gives them credibility like a doctor with a stethoscope---and tells you that when the wheels were removed during the service, the ever-vigilant tire tech checked your brake pads…and found some serious problems that need repair and replacement immediately.
This works for two reasons:
One, we all know that brakes wear out eventually and need to have the brake pads or shoes replaced. In worst case situations, you are told the brake pads wore down so far that the surface of the brake rotor---the disc or drum, that the pads or shoes respectively, rub against---was severely scored so badly that they either have to be “turned” to create a new blemish-free surface, or replaced entirely. Expensive stuff this is.
Two, it is almost always something we are told that has to be taken care of right now. Kind of like a timeshare salesman pressuring you with a deal that ends immediately if you want to wait until the next day to think-over a timeshare buying decision. That’s what it’s like. Practiced sales pressure tactics with the keen edge of a well-honed knife.
Why so much pressure for this type of scam? Well, apparently the word from those in the know about the industry is that a lot of chain vehicle repair centers---such as Tire Centers---pay their manager, the job ticket writer, and the mechanic a commission, for extra repairs they pushed whether the customer really needed it or not. It’s that simple.
One Real Life Example of the Scam
Here is a YouTube video of one mechanic working on a 2011 Toyota Highlander, who inspected the brakes of a customer's car after the customer came to him after he was told by a Tire Service Center that the rear brakes were done and that his rotors were junk and needed to be replaced immediately.
As always, this YouTube personality offers enjoyable and informative car repair advice that is guaranteed to leave you feeling a little more knowledgeable and empowered with car repairs and what to watch out for and what do when the need arises.
Brake Repair Scam
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If you have a similar Tire Service Center horror story where you may have been pressured into buying service or repairs that you did not need, be sure to tell us about it in the comments section below.
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Timothy Boyer is Torque News Tesla and EV reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily Tesla and electric vehicle news.