Monday, November 29, 2010

Les Schwab Tire Center the Springfield experience (part two)

Robin's commentary --

This experience is a little out of date roughly 3 years ago but still I feel worth mentioning.

It has not been very often in my lifetime when I could actually afford to buy a full set of brand-new tires, in fact, I think this was the only time in my lifetime that I had only been able to afford a full set of brand-new tires...

... and of course... it was a pain in my ass.

This time, I went to the Les Schwab tire Center in Springfield off Main Street and purchased a brand-new set of four Toyo tires.

Everything went smoothly as far as getting the car in and getting the tires put on. The problem arose when I was driving away noticed that the car pulled horribly to the right.

So I immediately turned around and took the car back and informed them about the problem.

Les Schwab solution... swap the front tires and see what happens.

Okay, I will agree with that. It was a good diagnostic call.

Now, the car pulls the left.

Now being a technician, it made sense to me that looking at the facts...

#1 -- the car drove evenly before new tires are put on

#2 -- the car pulled hard to the right after new tires were put on

#3 -- after swapping the front tires, the car pulls to the left

Probable cause...

According to Les Schwab, the front end is out of alignment.

(Okay... my personal diagnosis would have been a bad tire, but I'm not tired expert)

So they play around with the front-end alignment and get the car so what drives straight down the road and call it good.

Not being convinced that this was the proper solution to the problem, I took the car down a company that I have used many times in the past and trust who specializes in front end alignments Jerry & Walt's Alignment Services 107 Van Buren Street, Eugene, Oregon

Within minutes of having the car on the rack without knowing anything else other than that I just bought a new set of tires they diagnose the problem to be twofold...

#1 -- the toe in on the alignment is seriously out of adjustment (most likely due to Les Schwab's playing around with the front end alignment)

#2 -- one of the tires was defective with a condition known as "conicity" which means that in radial tires it is a factory defect where the cords are not perfectly aligned thereby causing a tire to pull to one side. This problem is not visible to the naked eye.

So I pay Jerry & Walt's $35 for a front end alignment and make a beeline back Les Schwab tire Center in Springfield where I point out to the person behind the counter the situation who thereby informs me that there is nothing that they can do about it.

So after "patiently" speaking with the manager, I finally convinced him to replace the bad tire.

So here's the point...

I acknowledge that Les Schwab had no control over the manufacturing of the tire that was defective. It happens.

They did have control of how they handled the situation.

Their diagnostic steps were good (switching the tire to the other side) their mistake started when they started to try to compensate for the bad tire by adjusting the car's alignment and then refusing to gracefully replace the defective tire when it was determined that was the underlying cause of the problem.


Blogger Bobkatt said...

Wow, I think you need to find a different tire company. This is elementary stuff. Car pulls to right, swap tires, pulls to left= defective tire.
Good thing you went to Jerry and Walt's they are great. If you would have continued to drive on Les Schwab alignment it would have quickly ruined your new tires and any subsequent tires you put on the front. Good call.
Les Schwab should reimburse you for the 2nd alignment charge. Good luck.

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