Report: #257245

Complaint Review: NTB - National Tire & Battery - Tire Kingdom

  • Submitted: Wed, June 27, 2007
  • Updated: Thu, January 08, 2009
  • Reported By: Covington Georgia
  • NTB - National Tire & Battery - Tire Kingdom
    929 Iris Drive SE
    Conyers, Georgia

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I could write a book on this almost month long ordeal!

Here's the story so far:


2005 GMC Sierra 1500 2WD Automatic Transmission 5.3l V8 - Approximately 44,000 miles.

June 3 2007 1:30pm Truck arrived at NTB, located in Conyers, GA. (Telephone: 770-929-1700) I requested an Oil Change service. , Store Manager, shows me a printout that states that my truck is due for a recommended service of a Transmission Flush. He also states that the service is normally $109, however they are running a special of $69. I agree to have the additional service completed.

Tech completes the oil change, and then begins the transmission flush procedure. In doing so, a clip that secures the waste line of the machine breaks, subsequently causing massive amounts of transmission fluid to spray around the engine bay as well as their shop. This process is done with the engine running, and the ability to tell how much fluid has been removed is negated.

NTB does not have any additional clips, and the store manager vacated the premises to procure the clip.

An hour or so passes, and finally the store manager arrives with clip. He traveled to Lilburn, GA (~40 miles away) in order to obtain said clips. During the time several techs look for the broken clip, and do not find it.

Tech finishes the job, and the truck is delivered after tech sprays the engine bay down with water for approximately 10 minutes in order to wash the transmission fluid away. There is still residual fluid in the engine bay.

June 3 2007 4:45 pm I drive the truck away, and immediately notice the transmission is acting strangely. The transmission does not shift correctly, and slips in 2nd and 3rd gear. Additionally at a stop the truck does not immediately go into gear upon pressing the accelerator. Upon arrival home, I immediately call NTB to report the problem. They asked that I bring it in. I did.

June 3 2007 5:25 pm I arrive back at NTB, and the tech checks the fluid. The store manager is incredibly apologetic, and states he wants to make sure its right. His tech does not notice anything different upon driving my vehicle, however the store manager later admits that he does not have a technician capable of accurately diagnosing or repairing a transmission. The store manager asks if I would personally drive the vehicle with another tech. During the drive, the issues I experienced are still occurring. They requested that I drive the vehicle for 1-2 days, if there was still an issue to contact them.

June 4 2007 Vehicle driven to work, and home. 43 miles each way. Transmission is still acting out of normal, slipping around 3rd gear. (Both into and out of 3rd gear) Taking off under anything over throttle causes the transmission to slip.

June 5 2007 Vehicle is not driven.

June 6 2007 Vehicle driven to work, and home. Previously reported problems are still present.

June 6 2007 3:20pm I call NTB, and speak directly with the store manager. I explain the issue, and he expresses his concern. He states that he does not have a the tools or a tech there qualified to diagnose a transmission problem, and suggests that I take it someplace to have it looked at. I agree, and ask if Lou Sobh Buick Pontiac GMC in Conyers, GA would be an acceptable location. He says yes. He also says he wants to make sure I'm taken care of, and if anything is wrong due to their service that they would take care of it. He states he would be off on June 7, but would return on June 8.

June 6 2007 3:24pm I call Lou Sobh, (770-929-8777) and speak with a service writer. I explain to him the issue, and he states that I definitely should bring the vehicle in.

June 6 2007 - 7:19 pm Attempted call to NTB's store manager to update him, he has already left for the day.

June 6 2007 7:30pm Vehicle is dropped off at Lou Sobh for service

June 7 2007 - 10:40 am Call received from Lou Sobh BPG. Upon the technician driving the vehicle and computer diagnostics, the transmission is shot. There is at least 2300 dollars in repairs that need to be done, and that is not counting what else may turn up upon opening the transmission

This information is relayed to NTB, and they say there's no way possible that their service caused the issue and that they're not responsible.

June 8 5:15 pm Call made to NTB's Customer Service line. (1-877-227-5682 ) CSR states he is going to get this to upper management ASAP, and that I should expect to hear something on Monday.

June 9 4:12 pm Call from NTB Corporate Rep He left a message

June 9 4:16 pm Call made to NTB Corporate Rep. Explained briefly what went on, he had the documentation from the Customer Service line. He states that their Insurance Company would be looking at the truck on Monday, and that he will call me. If in the meantime, he gave me his cell phone number in case I needed any additional information.

Since dealing with their insurance company, Esis, I have gotten no where. They sent an adjuster out, and because there is not a 100% sign in their eyes that the service caused the issue, they want to do a transmission fluid analysis that may or may not decisively place blame upon NTB's service of my vehicle.

Here's the rundown:

I did not go to NTB in order to obtain a transmission service; I went to NTB for an oil change. I was sold a transmission flush service from the service counter prior to my Truck being pulled into the service bay. This service, contrary to what I was told by both NTB and Esis, was not necessary, required, or even recommended for my vehicle. Upon immediate departure from NTB, my transmission which was perfectly functioning just three hours prior was now malfunctioning immediately after NTB performed service on it. Additionally, when my truck was in for service at Lou Sobh less than a month earlier, there were no issues with my transmission.

Furthermore, upon investigation I have found a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) from General Motors, 04-06-01-029A, Titled Engine Unnecessary Flushing Services. This TSB clearly states, in reference to the transmission flush service, that This practice is NOT required or recommended for normal service operations.

Upon review of my service schedule, I see that a replacement of the transmission fluid and filter is to occur at 100,000 miles. I was and still am well below that mark at approximately 44,000 miles. In fact at no point does General Motors ever recommend a transmission flush procedure to be performed on my vehicle.

GM does have another Technical Service Bulletin (TSB), titled A/T Fluid Cooler Flushing. This is bulletin 02-07-30-052D. This TSB clearly states Note: Insufficient oil flow through the ATF oil cooling system will cause premature transmission failure. During the ATF flush, there was a malfunction with the machine used, causing massive amounts of transmission fluid to spew throughout my engine bay as well as the technician's work area. Even in the light of this information DIRECT FROM THE MANUFACTURER, Esis states that there's no way the service caused the issue.

At this point it is established:

1. I did not arrive at NTB with the intent to obtain any transmission service. I did not have any issue with my transmission on 06/03/07 at 1:32 pm when I arrived at NTB.

2. NTB sold me a service that is not required OR recommended by General Motors.

3. During above service, the machine used to perform the transmission flush service malfunctioned. General Motors clearly states that the issue that occurred during the ATF flush procedure will cause premature failure.

4. Upon immediate departure from NTB on 06/03/07 at 4:45pm, my transmission was not functioning correctly and the issue was brought to NTB's attention immediately.

It's not rocket science, it's common sense. The issue that occurred during the service caused my transmission to fail.

At this point I have filed reports with the BBB against both NTB and Esis, and have begun discussions with local attorneys. Additionally, I have advised Lou Sobh that in no way is anyone to touch my vehicle until an attorney advises me to the next step.

Covington, Georgia
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Updates & Rebuttals


#1 Consumer Suggestion

Robbie knows his stuff....

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

It sounds like Robbie knows what he's talking about. One point I may add as well....was the correct fluid used? Any time I flush a transmission system, I always test drive the vehicle first to ensure there are no slipping, noise, chatter, or other transmission issues. Today's transmissions are no longer just gears and belts...they are complex systems composed of solenoids, activators, feedback sensors and computers. Nearly every transmission calls for a particular fluid as cannot use the stock Dexron/Mercon fluid in every vehicle anymore. Some call for Dexron III, IV, V....the imports especially require specific grades as well. Up-to-date and well-maintained equipment, proper components, and above all, competent and experienced techs (or properly supervised techs) are a must.

Agreed, regular maintenance will prolong the life of a transmission (or engine, brake, or steering system). Maintenance schedules are available at any shop using reference systems such as All-Data or Mitchell, and printed in the vehicle's owner's manual. Whenever there is a doubt, the service provider needs to ensure that there are no technical issues with a specific model vehicle before performing any service....the manufacturer and dealer are the best source of this information. Good luck to you, sir....
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Simply Avoid Them

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

The price of $69 for a transmission flush is worrisome. Personally, I wouldn't let those monkeys flush my toilet.

When it comes to transmissions I leave it to an authorized dealer to handle. Why risk it anywhere else?

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#3 Author of original report

A month and a half, still no movement...

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

Here we are a month and a half into this, and there still is no movement on their end.

I filed a BBB complaint against NTB, and I was just informed by the BBB that they failed to respond. They now own an Unsatisfactory Record with the BBB. Their insurance company has yet to respond to their BBB complaint, and I thoroughly expect them to not to at this point.

It's quite hard to believe that such a cut and dry error on their part would cause me to have to pursue this legally, but I am.

Avoid this company like the plague at all costs! (TBC Corporation: NTB, Tire Kingdom, Merchant's tires... Sumitomo Tires, Sigma Tires, etc.)
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#4 Author of original report

Thanks for the insight! Sounds like the same machine...

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

I appreciate your comments on the situation. From how you described the machine, it seems they are using the same machine. When I called and asked NTB about transmission flush machines, they stated they used an "Ever Wear" machine.

I did agree to the additional service, which is something I rarely do. (Typically I go in for something, I get that one item/service/etc.) They just caught me at the right time (For them, for me it seems it was a very wrong time) at the right place.

It's buyer beware on vehicle services nowadays, and I do agree that dealers are as guilty as anyone as far as what they recommend be done.

I'm not arguing with the fact that I agreed to have the service performed, that was my mistake. I've done business with NTB in the past, and was pleased with their service. It was an organization that built trust in me, which is why when I was told that it was recommended, I believed them.

However, how it was presented was not correct. ("Your transmission is due for a flush service according the manufacturer") Upon later research, GM *never* recommends that procedure, only the traditional replace the filter & fluid method. It's specifically stated that it is NOT required or recommended for my vehicle.

They checked the fluid when I brought the truck immediately back and stated it was at the correct level. The best estimation I can come to is when the clip broke during the procedure, the level of ATF got too low. There was a tremendous amount of fluid that ended up all over the engine bay as well as the tech's work bay. (To the point they hosed out the engine bay for 10 minutes, and there still was/is residual fluid a month later. They also used half a bag of asborbant on the shop floor. This wasn't a small leak of fluid by any means.) GM specifically states that if a problem similar to what occured, occurs, (The hose coming unattached would hinder oil flow. I'd safely say that it would more than anything else) that the transmission will experience premature failure.

The addition of air into the system may have caused the issue as well. Whatever happened, it caused some serious damage to the transmission that was working flawlessly from the time I purchased it new until the moment they touched it.

This is a transmission that has faced very minimal strain, as I've never once towed anything with the truck. It's as light of 44k miles as a truck transmission will ever see.

As far as the dealer goes, the dealer presented the repair option, however the price of it as it stands currently is within a $200 of replacing the unit with a GM SERTA transmission. (Mainly due to labor) This is another place I've built trust in, as they've taken care of me before. In fact, that was my first place to go to get the oil changed, however they could not get me in on Saturday. (And they are closed on Sundays)

Other mechanics I've spoken with, both active and retired, have agreed that the service caused the issue.

After getting no where with the Conyers store, I went to NTB (Tire Kingdom) Corporate office, and their response was filing an insurance claim with Esis. Dealing with them has been a nightmare in and of itself.

I presented Esis with the TSBs from GM that have been described earlier, and the response was "There's no way the service could have caused the problem". How one gets out of a document from GM, titled "Unnecessary Fluid Services" that states "Note: Insufficient oil flow through the ATF oil cooling system will cause premature transmission failure" that the procedure could not cause the transmission to fail, I will never know.

I have since filed with the BBB against both NTB and Esis, as well as the Georgia Insurance Commissioner against Esis, and am in the process of filing suit against NTB/Tire Kingdom.

It's now a month, I've made a payment on a truck I can't drive... I just want it fixed!
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

analysis of this by someone very qualified to respond

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

As a former Tire Kingdom manager and a current transmission shop owner, I am of the opinion that Tire Kingdom owes you a transmission overhaul. It sounds as though the vehicle was operated with a low fluid level. If the 'clip' that fell off was one of the cooler line clips that secure the cooler line to the radiator, then they would have removed one of your cooler lines and hooked it to the flush machine utilizing the factury clips to hold it in place. When the vehicle was started to perform the flush process (and keep in mind that I am assuming that the flush machine was similar to the one I had when I was at Tire Kingdom) the broken clip would have kept the line from sealing and causing the fluid spray as you said. Quite possibly, the technician could have made a considerable mess before seeing the line not sealed. Then, there would have been a sizeable air pocket in the fluid system. Quite possibly, the fluid level was not adjusted after the flush, as it sounds from your description like the fluid level was low when you left with the vehicle. When the vehicle does not go into gear when you come to a stop sounds like a low fluid level condition. Especially at 44,000 miles. I routinely see transmission failures at 50000-75000 miles in domestic vehicles, but more often than not it is a result of owner neglect which does not seem to be the problem here. Sometimes, people get the idea that since it only has 50,000 miles on it cant possibly have a real problem, so they ignore check engine lights and fluid changes and such. This doesnt seem to be the case here though. BUT....

I do not buy into the 100,000 mile service theory. I will RIP THIS COMPUTER APART AND EAT IT if someone can make me believe that they could take their truck to the dealer every 3000 miles since it was new for oil changes and never have it recommended to them to service the transmission. Dealerships are as guilty, or perhaps even moreso, than aftermarket companies when it comes to recommending 'unnecessary' preventive maintenance services. You can NEVER do any damage to a vehicle by PROPERLY doing a fluid change to the transmission. As a matter of fact, I recommend that my customers change their transmission fluid every year or 20,000 miles whichever comes first. Unnecessary, you may say, perhaps. But, if you stop and think about it, the additional cost you have over the life of the transmission by servicing it more frequently will NEVER add up to the cost of a transmission overhaul. Therefore, why NOT change your fluid and filter more often?

As far as their insurance company, they are easy enough to deal with. Get a couple of statements from reputible transmission shops in the area saying that your problem could have been caused by running the transmission with a low fluid level and you will be fine. Dont be so quick to jump to the dealership, as more often than not their fix for most any transmission problem is to just bolt in a reman unit. See people involved in the actual repair, not just replacement in the event of most any problem. Threaten suit to the corporate office, possibly even going so far as to get an attorneys letter sent to an area or regional manager. They will offer most anything to you to get you to 'go away' once they know you are serious. NTB/Merchants/Tire Kingdom (TBC Corp) is a company in serious need of taking a step back and evaluating their position. Market share has overwhelmed their desire to make customer service and especially employee appreciation the priority. Consider exactly what quality of employee you expect to get working on your car on a Sunday afternoon. I would NEVER ask one of mine to work on Sunday. Top notch mechanics do not have to work Sundays. They demand top dollar to work Monday through Friday, occasionally Saturday til lunch time.

Please consider all of my remarks, feel confident in your claim that you deserve retribution, but consider this:

In the end, they only did(or attempted to do) repairs or maintenance YOU authorized.
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#6 Author of original report


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

I forgot to say what I wanted... the most cost effective solution, and painless, is for the transmission to be replaced with a GM Remanufactured Unit. The estimate was already supplied for this to both NTB and Esis, their insurance company.
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