• Report: #66359

Complaint Review: Sams Club

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  • Submitted: Sat, August 30, 2003
  • Updated: Fri, November 30, 2012

  • Reported By:Holland Michigan
Sams Club
2190 North Park Drive Holland, Michigan U.S.A.

Sams Club Incompetent tire installers may damage your vehicle Holland Michigan

*UPDATE Employee: You're wrong about quality of tire techs

*Consumer Comment: Always re-torque lug nuts after having wheels removed

*UPDATE Employee: I disagree

*Consumer Suggestion: You hit the nail on the head Eric

*UPDATE Employee: don't judge till your there

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Although Sams Club sells great tires, their tire installation service is terrible. On the two occasions I had them install some tires, both times they performed an inadequate job.

The first time I had them mount some tires was in 1995 where I bought a set of snow tires. Shortly after installing them the car began making clicking/thunking noises while turning. The boot on the drive axles was torn, so I assumed it was the noise of a failing CV joint. Over a few weeks the noise greatly increased and I had to hobble the vehicle to a suspension shop to presumably repair the drive axles.

When I got there, the mechanic put it on the lift and told me what the real problem was. Apparently the had forgotten to tighten the lugnuts on one wheel! The wheel was working it's way loose off the car. I could have been killed! The aluminum rim had sustained some damage and I had to have the wheel hub repaired because one of the lugs broke off. Too much time had elapsed between the tire installation and the repair job that it would not be practical to take this matter to small claims court.

In 2002, I threw caution to the wind again and had them install 2 new tires on my car. Luckily nothing went horribly wrong except for the fact that they did not bother to inflate the tire to the right pressure and they did a crummy job balancing it. I had to pay a tire shop for a rebalance.

In summary, the tire installers at Sams Club are probably minimum wage unskilled labor that do not have the proper experience or attention to detail that makes them qualified to perform service on such an important part of a car's safety.
Do not trust these people with your car!!

Eric
Holland, Michigan
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/30/2003 03:10 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Sams-Club/Holland-Michigan-49424/Sams-Club-Incompetent-tire-installers-may-damage-your-vehicle-Holland-Michigan-66359. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 5Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

You're wrong about quality of tire techs

AUTHOR: MoparMuscle - (United States of America)

It is unfortunate that you had a couple bad experiences at your Sams Club...i find it hard to believe its possible your wheel wasnt tightened all the way. I work in the tire center, I've got a degree in automotive technology, and I'm far more competent about tires or anything vehicle related than yourself...

I dont know how they do things in Michigan, but at the Sams i work at, we're required to first tighten lugs w/ torque limiting adapters to manufacturer specifications (the system automatically tells us torque spec). Upon lowering vehicle, we have to then go around each tire w/ a regular torque wrench, scan our employee ID into system for torque completion, and then have another employee come and do a second hand torque w/ the torque wrench, and scan their ID into system, meanwhile we are constantly monitored on camera to ensure we do this (we WILL get fired if they so much as think a lugnut got missed or second employee torque was not completed.)

I've worked at many a shop, and Ive never seen ANYONE use a torque wrench on lugnuts anywhere else. Ive gotten yelled at while working at other shops for just bringing my torque wrench out of the toolbox...even if you watch a pepboys commercial, theyre installing lug nuts w/ an air impact (that can deliver hundreds of ft-lbs of torque as opposed to the 80-120 typically necessary on a lugnut). That is  bad for the wheels...as far as Sam's goes, i dont think theres ANY shop outside of high quality dealerships that put as much emphasis on going by guidelines for tire install.

It sounds like you had a bad experience in MI, but its an isolated incident. Ive learned from automotive repair, that customers tend to whine/moan about one bad experience, and when they get something done correctly, they dont mention it to anyone (unless they saved $)...

Also, how do you know they balanced your tire wrong the second time you went? Do you own a balancing machine? Also, how does "time pass" w/out you realizing your lugnuts are lose? My mom had loose lugnuts put on at a Meineke, and w/ her infinite automotive wisdom (she knows nothing about cars) new that there was a serious issue before she got a mile from the place. Also, a worn CV joint can push a wheelhub outwards and create loose  lugnuts on its own merit (not to mention wherever you took it to get CV joint replaced probably exaggerated the problem that already existed, or lied about lugnuts to cover up an issue they created--you would be nonethewiser either way).

I guess mechanics suck in MI, or you dont fully understand what youre talking about...
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#2 Consumer Comment

Always re-torque lug nuts after having wheels removed

AUTHOR: Dave - (U.S.A.)

Couple things.... First, every tire installer I've ever used recommends bringing the car back after a couple hundred miles to have the lug nuts re-torqued and this is exactly the reason. Take a read through the paperwork you received when you got your tires changed and I bet you'll find it. By not following their recommendations, you created a situation that would likely result in them prevailing should you try to sue them.

Second, you said, "I could have been killed!" The fact is you weren't and, as you experienced, a situation where your ability to continue driving the car beyond a relatively safe condition resulting from loose lug nuts is highly unlikely. In other words, your car will be virtually un-drivable long before the tire will come off due to lug nuts being left loose.

Finally, and probably the most important, you admitted that you heard the noise and kept driving the car nonetheless. As a consumer, you have a legal obligation to mitigate damages. Certainly the tire installer bears some of the responsibility for their faulty installation, but by not immediately notifying them of the problem, you deny them the ability to correct it and therefore assume liability for damages going forward.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

I disagree

AUTHOR: Senior - (U.S.A.)

Eric, you are a little off base when you make your claim about unskilled labor. A fair portion of the folks that work in the Tire and Battery Centers are also mechanics that work at other shops and are working for Sam's Club part time. Some are state certified vehicle inspectors. I run one such shop. Two of my techs are Certified State inspectors. Three are ASE certified. Two have been mounting tires for over 15 years. Maybe I am just lucky but I know my shop is not unique.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion. However, I would like for you to think about this-- there are a lot of folks out there that rotate their own tires and add their own air to their own tires. Some of them do it with out a tire gauge. They certainly do not have the proper experience or attention to detail to makes them qualified to perform service on such an important part of a car's safety. Yet I do not see any comments from you on them. Why is that?

Regardless of what you think of Sam's Club and its Tire and Battery Center, you paid for a service and should have taken it back and had them fix it to your satisfaction. I would not have gone to another shop and paid for a service I already paid for. As for the hub assembly issue you experienced, regardless of how long it had been, you should have taken the information about the damage to the club in question and filed a claim. As a Tire and Battery Center Supervisor, I can tell you we take that type of situation very seriously.
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

You hit the nail on the head Eric

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

The reason Sam's Club and every other super-duper-discount place can charge so little and still have the same profit margin is because they pay the labor very little. Labor is the largest single expense for any business. Minimum wage is not beyond the pale for wages in these shops. That is also the reason you went there. They offered you the CHEAPEST price, which is what you wanted. In return, you also got the least qualified personnel to do the work. I wouldn't even show up for work at the rate of pay they offer, neither would MY mechanics who work for me. On the other hand, I've never seen a wheel fall off after it left my shop. As you have already seen, you had to go to another shop to have the work redone. As for the whimsical idea of the "rubber expanding" because of the weight of the vehicle, that's the funniest thing I've ever read. Using a straight line of logic, then the tires would just keep getting bigger and bigger as time went on. They don't. The lugnuts do require retorquing after a few days or 100 miles, but again, I've never had one fall off. Tire expansion...that's good. I hope you've learned from this Eric. You get what you pay for. If you want a $6/hour "mechanic", then don't complain when stuff goes wrong. Any decent "wrench" will get at least 35% of the labor and their work will reflect the price. Try buying your next set of tires from a small shop. Most add about $10/tire to their cost and charge something for M/B. The total charge will usually be at or less than the big guys, but you also have someone who's livelihood depends on happy customers. You will have a more direct route for satisfaction if you are not content with the work.
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#5 UPDATE Employee

don't judge till your there

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

I can see your first situation and yes the tire techs should have double checked the lug nuts but evidently they didn't. But with your second instance you have to remember that at every place you get your tires replaced they all suggest that you should reinflate the tires after a couple of days because the rubber on the tires will expand due to the weight of the car being on it all the times. Also if your car isn't properly aligned your tires will shear off rubber on one side of the tire causing it to unbalance itself, which means you would need and alignment(which sams club doesn't offer) to correct the problem suffecently.

Sam's tire techs are fully trained and need to follow proper guidelines otherwise they are subject to multiple coachings by amnagers and could result in termination. pay is also based on experience and usually you are required to have some experience before working on cars.
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