I'm currently in the Navy and purchased a car when I got to my duty station in Newport News, VA. I made the mistake of registering my car in the Commonwealth of Virginia so I have to deal with state inspections, although I will be registering my car in Minnesota soon. My inspection sticker was expired and I decided to get an inspection done rather than get a ticket when I was in Virginia beach looking at cars with my friend since he was looking to buy one.
I drive a 2005 Dodge Neon Srt-4 with 56k miles on it. I took it to Firestone since it was right across the street. The workers there were very polite and were great help. I got the inspection done and was told i needed to get my front brakes and rotors replaced, which after I inspected them I saw they were in dire need of replacement. They also said my front drivers side headlight needed replacement which was true because it was cracked and had condensation in it, although not entirely necessary to replace. Next they said my wiper blades of all things needed replacement which was total bull sh** since i just replaced them the day after i bought the car. They said the wiper blades were falling off, strange since there was absolutely nothing wrong with them. For them to do the work for my car to pass inspection they quoted me $1100 and some change. Now I didn't have the money to pay for them to do the work at the time since I just bought the car a few weeks prior so I told them I would fix it myself and get the inspection done then. They were very quick to suggest I get a credit card with them and pay them to do the work using that and I can pay it off later..... yea right.
I've owned 6 cars and I'm only 20 years old, been a gearhead all my life I love cars. I've done all the maintenance work on them except on ones that needed wheel bearings machined pressed into the hub assembly. I've done entire steering systems, brakes, engine swaps/buildups (chevy 350 swapped into an 86 camaro), aftermarket part installations, etc. etc. almost everything you can think of a car minus transmission rebuilds although I've installed transmissions and never had a problem with any of the work I've done to my cars or my friends cars. Now the only reason I considered paying a shop to the work for me is because I have no tools here in VA and could not get it on base to do the work myself at the shops they have for our use because my inspection sticker wasn't current. I went out and bought a 200 piece craftsman mechanics tool set that was on sale, steal of a deal, and started to do the work myself.
I started by backing out the lugs a quarter turn before i jacked the car up just to loosen them so I could remove them once the car was jacked up. I jacked the car up and removed 4 of the 5 lugs on the front passenger side wheel no problem. I came to the 5th one which i could not loosen at all before I jacked it up (strange...). I'll put this out there now for people who do not have state inspections, they are very thorough and let you know simple things that need to be replaced such as brakes before they start grinding the rotors to hell and only cost $16 instead of 60 some like in Minnesota since its required by the state in VA and not in MN. So like most mechanics i grab myself a breaker bar to get a little more torque to loosen the lug. I start to crank it and dam I could not get that thing to move, put all my strength into it (using an exhaust pipe as a breaker bar btw) and it moves a little, but we all know that feel a bolt has when you know its not going to break loose and will only come off with the stud itself. What do you know, my brake pads had no pad left they needed to be replaced real bad it was metal grinding on metal. So I had no choice but to break the stud off in order to replace my brake pads. I keep twisting the lug and it comes off with half the stud in it. I was beyond pissed off, Firestone has to remove the wheels in the inspection and I know they did because I have Motegi FF7 rims on the car and it has a lock lug nut on it and they asked me for the special socket so they could remove the rims. I'm not sure if they cross threaded the lug when they put it on or torqued it down so hard it was not going to come off without the stud but either way the effed it up. So now I have the choice of replacing the whole hub assembly or the front axle (not sure what is necessary to replace the studs) in order for me to have all 5 lugs on the wheel. I know it won't harm the car to have only 4 lugs on the wheel but I want the car mint, and 4 out of 5 lugs with a broken stud is not mint!
I will be contacting the shop tomorrow, I sent an email to Firestone's customer service and I got an email back very promptly (5 min later) from someone saying they are out of the office till tomorrow. No problem there, but really? Already trying to give me the runaround. I did a little research and talked to some friends and what do you know? Everyone complains about Firestone repair shops saying they break something or mess something up. I never took my cars to shops since I did the work myself unless it was to get new tires put on so I was not aware of the bad rep Firestone had. I'm furious right now and seriously considering legal action in small claims court if it comes to that.
Just wanted to let people know about Firestone and the complaints against the company. Just google Firestone lawsuits and you will be surprised, I know I was.