This is my first review because I have never felt the need to give one until now. I have been a customer of Affordable Tire and Brake for approximately 8 years and have done thousands of dollars of business with them. This is my recent experience.
Back in July 2012 I took my vehicle to Affordable Tire and Brake to be inspected regarding some startup issues I was having with my vehicle. Everytime I left my vehicle over night it would have difficulty starting, frequently requiring a jump start. Once it was started, it would run all day with no issues and then the following morning would have the same problem. My battery is not old, they replaced it in 2010. When I went to Affordable Tire and Brake they told me that they didn't see a problem and that maybe something was being left on all night that was draining the battery down.
Fast forward to a few days ago, I take my car in for an oil change and when they are working on it they notice difficulty starting my car. They change the battery on warranty and send me on my way. The next day I am driving and my car shuts off while on SR-522 in a 60mph stretch in the left lane, blocking traffic. I take my jump pack out of the trunk, which most people don't just have lying around, connect it and it starts and runs for a couple minutes and then dies. By this time, state patrol is on the scene and helps push my vehicle to the side.
We jump start my vehicle with a DOT vehicle that arrives and it fails to run for more than a few minutes. Mind you, before it would jump start and run all day fine, meaning they made the problem even worse. I end up being stranded there miles away from Affordable Tire and Brake for over 3 hours. I am forced to pay to have my car towed to them. They inspect my car and call me later and say I need a new alternator and serpentine belt, the cost was $645 without tax. The cost of the alternator alone was $455. I am forced to pay it because I have no other option at this point since my car doesn't even run. After paying, I felt like they charged me more than they should have. I started calling the other Affordable Tire and Brake locations to get quotes on the same service.
The price I was quoted at the Ballard location for the same service was $324 without tax. That's half the price of the University District location. I then called the Rainier location and they quoted me $557 without tax. I informed Corey of the price I was quoted at only the Ballard location and he said he would call me back in 5 minutes. I can only assume he called the Ballard location to find out what was said. He called back and said that the reason I was charged double the price was because the Ballard Manager had quoted me for a 120 amp alternator, when they had installed a 90 amp alternator on my vehicle.
Apparently according to him, the 90 amp alternator costs double the price of the 120 amp alternator, which is why it cost double. I searched online, the 90 amp alternator they installed on my vehicle is priced at $172.95. They charged me a minimum of $282 more for the alternator than it costs. God knows what extra discount they get when purchasing parts because they are a mechanic shop. When I complained about the price to Corey he said, "Look we aren't charging you much for labor just $140. The expense here is the $455 alternator and we can't do anything about that, it's the price it's sold at."
It seems like they charge a normal price for labor and then overcharge for parts to avoid suspicion because people are more likely to argue over labor costs than part costs. Oh yea, they also took out the brand new battery they installed a couple days ago and re-installed the original battery I had from 2010, they failed to mention that when they returned me my car. I am no mechanic but the constant jump starting I have been doing can't be good on a battery. I assume my battery would be in better condition if they had diagnosed the problem back in July, saving me from having to jump start my car once every few days.
Just my two cents, take it for what it's worth. I will never return to Affordable Tire and Brake. When I told me friends that go to Affordable Tire and Brake what happened, they told me of similar problems they experienced with them overcharging. We agreed to never return and will be giving our business to a shop that we can trust. Why go to a place if you have any doubts about them? Car repair is all about trust. If you can't trust your mechanic, you shouldn't use them--otherwise you can be overcharged over and over again or pay for services and repairs you didn't need--without even knowing it.