Say No to Firestone, Yes to Your Local Automotive Shop

At the end of April, I took my vehicle to Firestone. It is now the end of May and I have been thinking about writing this post since my experience. I want to warn people, but also give a recommendation.

The trip to Firestone at the end of April wasn’t my first. It was my third visit this year. After paying a total of $1514.68 between two visits in March, I wasn’t happy when they quoted me $1360.92 this time. This started me wishing I had never gone back to them after 15 years. The reason I had was because it was convenient and I’d been approved for their credit card in April.

This return in April came about because they didn’t successfully do an alignment on a previous visit, and it was affecting my tires. Along fixing their botched alignment job, they recommended work on my braking system. They said my right rear caliper was frozen. They also wanted to flush my brake system. The last thing they recommended was removing and replacing my front left wheel bearing. I mention the wheel bearing last because this will feature into this story a little bit later.

I was pissed, so I told them to complete the alignment and replace the tire that had been damaged by the alignment issue, both at no cost to me. I had decided to take my vehicle to Manchester Transmissions Inc. in Manchester, CT. My wife’s vehicle was serviced there recently on a recommendation from her father.

I was nervous taking it there since I was planning on giving them the printout I had from Firestone detailing what needed to be performed on the car. I was afraid they could take that information and tell me Firestone was correct, but they could do it at a cheaper price. I was giving them a lot of power with this information.

Manchester Transmissions came back to me in a day and said there wasn’t anything wrong enough that needed to be taken care of. One of the wheels does stop rotating before the other one in the rear, but they wouldn’t describe it as being frozen.

I mentioned earlier I would come back around to the wheel bearing. The left front wheel bearing Firestone wanted to replace was fine. The right front bearing that Firestone did replace in March was making a little noise. The technicians in Manchester took a stethoscope to both bearings.

A potential bill went from $1473.93 to $0. I was very happy about this. In the future if I need my vehicle worked on, I will be calling Manchester Transmissions and if it’s a job they don’t do, I will find another local place before ever going back to Firestone.

My suggestion to anyone is to find a local shop to have your vehicle looked at. Most of the time it will be cheaper than a “big name” service station, and there is a good chance they will be honest. If you live near Manchester Transmissions, I recommend checking them out for your vehicle issues. The only time to use Firestone is for an oil change or tires, but if they tell you they your vehicle needs something else, get a second opinion. This second opinion will make your wallet happy. —Jason Harris

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