Dishonesty and Incompetence
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA -- Putting four new tires on my car turned out to be more than I bargained for. Shortly into the work at Precision Tune (W Market St.) one of the mechanics came in looking nervous and talked to the manager, who then informed me that one of the tire pressure sensors was broken and would need to be changed. I was told it'd be $250 unless I bought the part myself, which I did. Since I got an alignment as well they waived the fee for replacing the sensor, which seemed like a good deal.
When it was taking awhile, I asked for a status update. I was told they were finishing the alignment check and that it was slightly off, so they would recommend an alignment. I told the guy "I know; I already told you I wanted it done. You've taken this long and you haven't even started yet?" Turns out they were doing it and he was confused. Made me nervous. The only reason I know it was done is having looked into the shop and saw the computer screen of the guy with the alignment junk hooked to my wheels.
They claimed they took care of everything, but when I got in my car when this was done the tire warning light was on. I got out and asked them, which they informed me sometimes when tires are changed you have to drive a little bit for it to go off. This didn't make a lot of sense, but I left anyway to try.
It didn't go off, and then I got to thinking they must have broken the sensor to begin with since my light was not on before going to the shop. I wasn't sure initially if the car's computer was wired such that no signal=warning; I thought maybe it was no signal=nothing and only a warning signal=warning. However, after checking the pressures, consulting the owner's manual, and talking to the Toyota dealership, I called PT back and said it did not go away and is not a light that has to be reset. They then admitted that they were not very familiar with these sensors, and that Toyota would probably have to fix it (no refund though). Also, since I had bought my own part they could not insure it if it was defective. Furthermore, I realized, since they didn't charge me for putting the new sensor in it wasn't on the invoice, so there was no paper proof that this ever happened.
I considered my options and decided to go to Toyota to have them fix it, then deal with whatever needed to happen with PT afterward. Upon explaining the whole story to Toyota, they told me PT had to have broken my sensor because the 2008 Camry is programmed that either a warning signal or no signal will trigger the light. Therefore if my sensor really had been broken before going to PT the light would have been on (it wasn't). Even though my self-purchased part is not insurable by PT, I should never have had to buy a part that they broke while removing my tire.
Toyota simply had to enter the sensor's codes into the car's computer to get the light to go off, something PT admitted they didn't know how to do. However, if you don't have the equipment to properly handle these sensors you shouldn't be doing it. If I had been told originally that it was broken and that I'd best go to the dealership I would've appreciated the honesty. Instead they pretended to know how to do it for extra cash and spun it like they were giving me a deal when it didn't work.
â¢ Use common sense: if they claim something is broken that lack of warnings shows wasn't broken before they touched things, protest.
â¢ Be careful about buying your own parts
â¢ If they tell you a part is broken, ask to see it and have them show you where it came from. Any honest mechanic should have no problem explaining it to you.
â¢ Familiarize yourself with your car's manual and explanations of warning lights early--I could've had more to say back when I first got in my car and saw the light on if I knew the "drive it for a while and it will go off" was false. The manual said specifically that the light will go off immediately once the issue is over, and that it staying on indicates a malfunction or tire issue.
â¢ Whenever possible, always bring a car-knowledgeable person with you .