• Report: #152304
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Wed, August 03, 2005
  • Updated: Tue, November 16, 2010

  • Reported By:lebanon Pennsylvania
1301 QUENTIN RD Lebanon, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

Sears Auto Center Makes up fake $600+ car repair problems about struts, ball joints, & tie rods at tire installation Lebanon Pennsylvania

*Consumer Comment: Reality

*Consumer Comment: This also happened to me!

*Consumer Comment: So Sears is still up to their old tactics?

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Company Policy

*Consumer Comment: My mechanic is actually one of the RARE honest ones!

*Consumer Comment: It happened to me too!!

*Consumer Comment: Simple solution

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I went to Sears auto center to have simply have them put on four new tires. I dropped off my 1996 black neon - which has a horrible paint job & some dents.

When I returned to see if the tires were put on, the tech had some news for me. He said that they found some problems. He said that all 4 struts were shot, the driver side inner & outer tie rods were worn out, the front ball joints were shot, & it probably needed an alignment. Bad news was it would cost about $688 to fix, good news is that I'd save money on labor by getting everything done at one time.

I told him just put on the tires. He warned me that serious damage to the car would happened if I didn't get that stuff repaired right away, even made me sign a paper saying he warned me of the problems. I still have all the paper work, even the one which lists the 'problems' signed by the auto techs.

Well, I took my car to my trusted mechanic - Swope's Garage of Mt. Aetna. He gave the car a full inspection. He did find a few things wrong: It will need a new muffler soon, & he had to fix the rear wheel cylynders & front roters.

I asked what about the struts, ball joints, & tie rods. He said they were fine, nothing wrong with them!!!!! Well, he fixed the real problems for $200! Sears would've have charged me almost $700 to fix things not broke!!!

So Beware of Sears Auto: Always get a second opinion from a trusted mechanic - if you're lucky enough to have one :)

Has anyone else had this kind of trouble?

lebanon, Pennsylvania

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/03/2005 12:53 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/sears/lebanon-pennsylvania-17042/sears-auto-center-makes-up-fake-600-car-repair-problems-about-struts-ball-joints-tie-152304. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: carguy33 - (United States of America)

First of all... YOUR vehicle manufactor recommends replacement of struts at 50000 miles. To properly inspect struts you should measure the response rate after the "shock" to the suspension. I have a feeling your "trusted mechanic"  is a stand alone business owner. Now according to most states the tie rod ends are considered perceivable movement ( which means if there is any movement in the joint they can ask for replacement ) Just because YOUR mechanic said it will be ok doenst mean that the parts aren't bad. Lastly ball joints are either measured movement IE there will be specs or perciveable movement. TAKE YOUR CAR TO THE STATE POLICE AND ASK THEM TO HAVE AN INSPECTOR LOOK AT THE PARTS IN QUESTION. I have a feeling if you do that he will cite you for faulty parts, and require you to show replacement to avoid a fine. Once you do that then report that a business has ripped you off. Sometimes due to personal situations people will lash out at a business that is trying to protect you because you cannot afford to properly fix YOUR vehicle.
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#2 Consumer Comment

This also happened to me!

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

Last weekend I took my car into Sears to get all new replacement tires. While they were getting replaced, Sears called me and said my upper ball joint was "out" and needed to be replaced. With parts and labor, they quoted me $500. I told them not to fix it and I would look into it as I have a friend who is a mechanic. When they finished replacing my tires and I picked up my car, I asked the associate helping me exactly how bad the ball joint was and he responded, "they were pretty bad, I would get it fixed immediately or else your wheel could fall in while you're driving". I just said, "ok, I'll look into it".

The next day, I took it to a trusted friend's mechanic shop to fix the problem for me b/c I knew he would be able to fix it at a fraction of the cost. Two hours later, I got a call from my friend informing me there was absolutely nothing wrong with my upper ball joints and they did not need to be replaced, AND that if they ever did need to be replaced, he could get the part for me for $50 (sears quoted $100 for just the part)

I am a 27 year old female and feel like this was a blatant attempt by Sears to take advantage of my lack of auto knowledge. Total Rip Off!

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#3 Consumer Comment

So Sears is still up to their old tactics?

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

I had almost the exact same thing happen to me as the OP did. In early 1992 I was being transferred to Guam. As it's a remote location where car parts are expensive and hard to come by, I completely rebuilt the front end on my car before shipping it - struts, all steering parts from the pitman arm out to each front tire, and brakes. I did the work myself to insure the quality of the work.

Since I didn't have access to the machinery, I took the car to a Sears store in San Diego to have the alignment done a few days after doing the front end rebuild. When I returned to pick up the car after the work was done, the mech told me that the tie rod ends and struts were "worn out" and immediate replacement was imperative for my safety! I paid for the alignment and told him that all those parts were new. He responded by saying I must have used inferior parts. He insisted that they were worn out! I subsequently put over 40,000 more miles on the car with no front end problems at all...

I seem to remember that shortly after that the state of California took Sears to task for ripping off consumers in the car repair department. I also seem to remember that Sears was banned from doing auto repairs in California for some length of time.

A wise consumer would avoid Sears Auto at all costs! They just don't have the reputation they once did!
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Company Policy

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

As a former employee of Sears Auto Center (SAC), I would just like to say that they are not trying to rip you off.

Sears follows the Manufacturers Recommended Service Intervals. They also follow the factory specifications religiously. Every SAC tech goes through a lot of training. Once a vehicle is brought into the shop it is thouroughly inspected. If they determine that anything is out specifications, or seems unsafe to them, they are required by company policy to report it on their paperwork. It is then relayed to the customer service person who talks to the customer. The customer service associate (CSA) will usually print out an estimate of all parts and labor for the customer. If the customer wants to have the work performed, then, and only then is it done. This is all done because of people suing them in the past for Sears letting them drive out of the shop in an unsafe vehicle. They make you (the customer) sign the paper showing their findings so you can't come back in and say that something broke (ie your tie rod end) causing your car to go out of control and caused you to have an accident and that Sears should have known it was going to break.

This is for the person who went in to have their brakes looked at. Sears has one of the most rigorous brake inspections out there. Everything is taken apart and measured with a micrometer and compared to factory specs. They write down all the measurements on the paperwork and are required to recommend replacing or repairing any part that is out of factory specs. And while you may have been able to get by with just replacing the pads and turning the rotors, there was probably something out of spec that you should have replaced. There was a guy who came in one time to have his brakes looked at. He had just gotten the pads and rotors replaced in the last 6 months by another shop, but was still having problems. The brake tech I was working with measured the rotors, and they were out of spec, not becuase of wear, but because the previous shop put on third rate rotors that were not OEM equivalents.

I will admit that Sears is more expensive than a lot of places, but you can be assured that everything on your vehicle will be up to OEM specs. Another upside to Sears is that they have one of the best warranties out there. You will pay a little more, but they will always stand by the work and the parts that they install.
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#5 Consumer Comment

My mechanic is actually one of the RARE honest ones!

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

I'm the original poster of the complaint.

Jason - Simpsonville, South Carolina - you suggest that the Sears auto tech is the better one since he'll "will almost never leave you stranded on the side of the road". It's that kinda of fear that Sears plays on. They figure most people don't know about cars and if you say things like "this is wrong and if you don't fix it you're car will be in BIG trouble" most hapless people will say OMG fix it right away!

Let me assure you I've been going to Swope's garage for over 15 years! Swope is honest and smart. You may be unaware but, Pennsylvania requires yearly auto inspections. Swope gave the car a full inspection - and the struts and everything else was upto official PA state safety requirements. Plus, Swope is VERY picky when it comes to car safety. In the past he refused to pass my car if the underbody had any rust spots big enough for a pencil to poke through!

Swope even told me you're quote "if it bobbles up and down more than twice after you stop pushing on it, the struts probably do need replacing" - he said they only bounced twice. And when the car's inspection expires Feb 2006 He'll give her another full state law inspection.

Just face the facts - Sears Auto Center rips people off, I'm not the only one - look on this website there are TOO many other examples.

I will never use Sears Auto again, & will tell everyone I knwo to avoid them as well.
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#6 Consumer Comment

It happened to me too!!

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

I had a similar problem with Sears Auto in Dundee, IL. I brought my Ford Explorer with 50,000 miles on it in for a brake job. They said I needed to replace the entire assembly to the tune of $1200. I did not authorize the repair. I took it to the Dealer who said all it needed was pads, and the rotors ground. I ended up taking it to a Merlins. I now have over 80,000 miles on the truck and all is fine. Sears automotive is still in the business of ripping people off. I suggest avoiding them at all costs!!
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#7 Consumer Comment

Simple solution

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

Drive for about 15,000 miles... If you need new tires again, then Sears was right. From the description of the vehicle, it sounds as if it is rather high mileage, which would indicate that the things Sears mentioned probably needed to be done.

Push down on a corner of the car, get it bouncing, and if it bobbles up and down more than twice after you stop pushing on it, the struts probably do need replacing. If the vehicle is over 100K miles and the struts have never been replaced, they probably need replacing.

The only real serious damage I can think of is that the tires will wear out and it could be difficult to control the car, increasing the chances of an accident, which would cause serious damage, but going by your tires is the best way to tell if you have any type of front end wear.

Mechanics are all differnt. One might quote you work that "needs to be done" because he is of the mindset that to properly maintain a car, you replace parts that are worn before they are completely shot, while the other replaces parts when they are completely shot. The first mechanic will almost never leave you stranded on the side of the road.
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