Pep Boys Complaint - Pathetic Boys - Tire installation & services
I almost made the mistake of getting my tires installed at a Pep Boys facility. Thankfully a co-worker of mine informed me of his experience and of other people he knows before I made an appointment with Mr. Ripoff.
This is my assessment from what I've learned and later observed: Pep Boys is an automotive store chain that provides automotive services as an additional source of income, not the primary source. They are also not ranked very highly in the automotive service world. The key thing to note is that for people in that line of work, going to Pep Boys is a kind of "last resort". As a result, they accumulate a staff that either is inexperienced or not very well skilled.
My co-worker had the misfortune of getting a long chain of troubles from having had his tires installed and a front end alignment performed at a Pep Boys. First, they somehow managed to mess up the car's front end alignment in such a way that the car didn't pull to one side, but the tires would suffer uneven tire wear. They use a compressor driven ratchet to put on the lugs, and in doing so managed to get the lugs stuck on so tight that they were impossible to remove by hand (if you've got a flat tire, you're out of luck on changing it yourself). And the technician who mounted the tires apparently had trouble holding the ratchet properly in place, causing nicks and scrapes on the alloy wheels around the lug nut sockets. They were also BRUTAL to the rims when taking off the balance weights, leaving nasty gouges. "Oh, they were there already--normal wear from road debris," was the claim when it was obvious that the gouges were freshly made.
Despite my co-worker being fastidious with keeping his tire pressure correct, his tires wore unevenly due to the bad alignment. That uneven wear contributed to a blowout in one of the tires, which he was unable to remove because the bolts were stuck on so tightly.
In the end, he needed to replace ALL FOUR TIRES because of the faulty alignment. Overall, his experience cost him a) an extra front end alignment and b) a complete set of new tires. It was a sorely losing proposition. He will never go to Pep Boys again. After his experience that he relayed to other friends/associates, he came to learn of other people having problems there as well.
Pep Boys is not a bargain place. You might get lucky and walk away with fair servicing for the price, but why chance losing far more?