I have been going to this Big O Tire for a while now. I got new tires for my truck in 2004 from them, and at the time, they were very nice and helpful. Different management took over since then and they really screwed the place up.
Recently I took my truck into get the alignment checked. The truck was pulling to the right. When I went in to pick it up they insisted that:
a) I needed a total brake job now. My front rotors were shot and I would lose my brakes any day now. They promised me I would spend at least $800- the jerk who told me this had a big grin on his face.
b) My car had been in a huge accident ( as if I wouldn't know) and the alignment would not stay put due to bent parts. Of course, they were the ones to fix the problem.
They charged me for the alignment and the truck is STILL pulling- $90 down the drain. I also noticed a nice glass shard in my right front tire- not deep enough to do damage, but enough to try and make me go back and spend more money.
My car has NOT been in an accident, and I had just looked at my brakes not too long ago and they were fine. The alignment report they gave me is funny- the date is all wrong.
I looked over all my records and discovered something odd: The last time they did the alignment the SAI, or steering axis inclination, CHANGED ON THE RACK- before numbers were in spec, after numbers out of spec sharply. SAI is a non-adjustable parameter that is used to see if a steering part has been damaged or bent. If so it must be replaced- it is expensive to determine what part is bent and then replace it. SAI does not change while at the alignment rack- it is not a changable thing. It may change from alignment to alignment and only if you have a real accident, or hit a rock or something at 60mph- something big.
For another place that did the alignment a long time ago, the SAI is the SAME, as it should be.
They did this the last time I took the truck in. They also at the time wanted to change my struts, and changed my steering wheel center a bit. (This happens often in alignments.) This was annoying. I went back this time because they were conveinent and did a good job in 2004 on my new tires. Never again.
They're goal is basically to get me to go back there and spend all my money on their lies. They then would most likely do nothing- or then "find" more damage. That is the new trend in mechanic rip offs. The dude at the counter was just so full of glee at the idea that I may spend money for nothing. Who does he think he is, smiling like that? Does he think I won't check out the whole thing? Does he actually think I will buy anything from them with that grin on his face???
I also noticed they were empty- not many customers. I guess people are finding out what a bunch of jerks they are.
Now, there were many possibilities of what they may have done: They certainly did not do the alignment and tweaked the numbers to make it look like they did; and maybe switched out a good part with a bad one at some point. I have to run some checks to find out. I am considering filing a complaint with my bank and having the charges removed- it will be hard to prove they did not do the alignment- but if they damaged my truck that is another thing altogether.
There is NO WAY SAI can just change on the rack like that. I also found it odd that a glass shard just so happened to be in the upper edge side, right in plain view, when it had never been there to begin with. How did it get in such an odd place?
Don't EVER go to this or any Big O Tires. I am discovering that the best thing to do is do all your own maintenance and never trust any mechanics for nothing.
San Fernando Valley, California