Brake Job Or Brake Scam?

My brakes had been squeaking for quite awhile. I finally made some time and took it in to my local Firestone. I received a coupon, brake job for $130 dollars. Hmmm, forking over some cash or the Mrs. and I slamming into a tree? Hmmm, check please!

I have to confess, I’m not much of a grease monkey. Going into Firestone felt like stepping into a doctor’s office. The person who greeted me was friendly and knowledgeable. My truck was up on a rack for a free inspection in no time.

After some time, we reviewed the damage. All kinds of mechanic mumbo jumbo flew out, your rotors are worn, you need new calipers, oh by the way, your tires are worn down, too. I was expecting to fork over $130. The final estimate was almost $1600!!! He did offer a no interest finance plan. Gee, thanks! 🙂

My frugal side came out swinging. Let’s hold on the tires and focus on the brakes. It was still in the $800 range. Panic set in. I thought I needed to get rid of the car (death trap, money pit). $800 could go into a new car, why would I waste it on brakes?!?! For a second opinion, I called my trusted wingmen.

Although it was in the middle of the day, my two wingmen calmed me down. I strongly advise having a trusted wingman for times like this. It’s good to have a second opinion and a sounding board during foreign situations. I was close to forking over the 800 bucks because I was completely out of my element. I really need to get more educated on my car, too.

After some back and forth, I made up some story that I had to go. Please get my car down. The rep pushed a little more, probably upset that he was missing out on a nice daily haul, but I would have none of it.

My wingmen advised to look for a local, trustworthy mechanic. I turned to Yelp and found just the guy I was looking for. A few days later, I took care of my brakes for a whopping $138. Overall, it was a good experience. I admit I shouldn’t have become so unhinged at Firestone. I’m still a work in progress and have to remember not to panic, even in unfamiliar situations. Finally, Yelp isn’t just good for finding yummy eats. It helped me add a new ally to Team Buck Inspire, my mechanic.

Stay Inspired!

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20 Responses

  1. MoneyCone says:

    Nothing’s ever free in a dealership! You go to renew your inspection sticker, they’ll find something that needs replacement!

    Aren’t there any honest auto dealers at all?

    (I realize you went to Firestone, I’ll have to add them to the list of companies I shouldn’t deal with!).

    Good job Buck!

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Honest auto dealers? Don’t think there is such a thing. I kind of get the same feeling after I change my oil. Almost feel like my car is a ticking time bomb. Guess it’s better to be educated than ignorant. 🙂

  2. krantcents says:

    This is what we call a teachable moment! I would bet you will never forget that lesson. Am I right? I don’t care how rich and successful we all become, we need good service people we can trust. Now you have a mechanic. Start looking for a plumber, etc when you have a house.

  3. That story is sort of scary. I too know nothing of cars. I try to surround myself with handy people to make up for this inadequate trait of mine.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Smart move, surrounding yourself with handy people. 🙂 Would you ever consider learning to be more handy? I’m trying myself, just some basics, but not really a passion of mine like some of my friends.

  4. I agree with brokeprofessionals, you need to have a car-guy friend. I recently had the check engine light come on, and when I took it in, they said they read the code and I needed $1,800 worth of work. I called my buddy, and he said that didn’t seem right. I brought it to his house, and he read the code, and said all I needed was a $7 part and it would only take about 15 minutes to install. Talk about a scam!

  5. $800 is way too much for a brake job even with new rotors. It’s worth investing in a code reader too so you can be prepare for what the dealer will sell you.

  6. Aloysa says:

    What? WHAT? $1600! Are they out of their mind? But it is always happens to me too. I take my car to change oil, they come out with “suggestions” to spend additional $$$ on something else. Serious? I always say that I’ll think about it and leave.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      I do that, too. 🙂 I guess everyone is just trying to make a buck. They have rent, extra employees, etc. But still, do you have to go sooo overboard? Funny thing, when I was at Firestone, there were tons of people paying for service, hook, line, and sinker!

  7. Firestone is famous for this sort of thing. I’m surprised they’re still getting away with it. Twenty years ago one of my neighbors recited the EXACT SAME STORY after an encounter with that outfit.

  8. Joseph111 says:

    It’s their job to offer those services. The employees are rated on productivity reports that also include how many financing apps they get. Just suck it up and say no; stop feeling so inconvenienced. This is what they do ALL day and if they can get one sucker then too bad for that sucker. I’ve always said no, it’s not hard.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      True. I’m just bad at saying no. Perhaps I just need more practice. If I didn’t get a hold of my wingmen, I might have caved and got a $800 brake job! Lesson learned, “No means no!”

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