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Walmart for mounting & balancing tires?


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#1 JohnnyDaJackal

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 04:07 PM

Hey everybody,

I wanted to know if anybody has had any recent experiences with Walmart for mounting and balancing tires? I'd like to put new tires on my RSX especially with the crazy past winter we had. I'm set on a specific tire (Continental ExtremeContact DWS), and I'm most likely going to order them through Tire Rack, I just want to have them mounted and balanced on the cheap side. I wanted to know if anyone has any experience with Walmart? According to their website it's about $12 per tire. I have yet to get quotes from local places, but I figured Walmart would be on the cheaper end.

Anybody who would like to share their experiences, I'd be more than happy to hear, and appreciative!

Thanks!

Walmart.com: Auto & Tires: Tires Services
John
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#2 Bill D

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 04:35 PM

I think I had it done there once on the old Maxima I had. I was okay taking it there because the car was awesomely detailed but it was still in very driver condition so I wasn't super afraid. IIRC, they did a decent job. They did not over tighten the nuts and they didn't leave behind any marring or marks on the wheel. You can talk to them. I think they're pretty receptive. Might not hurt to offer a reasonable tip too.
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#3 15951

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 09:20 PM

Stated simply, I try to avoid having my car serviced at any store that also happens to sell bananas, sunscreen, and blenders.

Reasoning:

1. If I were a mechanic, I would want to work in a shop that I would be proud of.

2. A low paying job in a big box store's auto service department would not fit my criteria for #1, above.

3. Based on the above, it's not much of a leap of faith to assume that the mechanics working in a big box store are either: 1) new and getting experience wherever they can; 2) not very good and working there because they have no other choice; or 3) working there out of sheer desperation because the job market sucks.

Based on #3, there is a good solid chance of someone working on my car that is either inexperienced, unhappy, bad at their job, or some combination of the three. This is not to say you can't find a good, competent mechanic working at a big box store, but I would assert that your odds of finding someone that's both experienced and cares about what they're doing increases at shops that only work on cars, and have good reputations in the community.

Good places attract good people. YMMV.

#4 jfelbab

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:43 AM

I was traveling cross country and awoke one morning to a flat tire. I was by a gas station and filled the tire up and the only place open to repair the tire at 6:00 AM was Walmart. They serviced the tire and remounted it. They drove it around the block a couple times and re-torqued the wheel. I was surprised that they did this properly with a torque wrench and that they looked up the correct torque setting. I was expecting them to just ram the bolts on with an air-wrench. I offered to tip them but they refused. I was more than impressed, both with the quality of the service and the cleanliness of the service area. This was in Mt. Vernon, IL. BTW. It changed my opinion of Walmart. Not sure all Walmarts are like this, but I wouldn't hesitate to go back to that one.

#5 Dan

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:56 AM

I agree with 15951's points. Costco might be a good alternative, if you have one close by. I have used them and they seem to take pride in their work. Getting them to mount 3rd party tires takes lots of convincing though.

That said, I also will no longer get tires mounted by anyone that does not have a road force balancer.

#6 Flash Gordon

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 05:27 AM

Wal-Mart is as good a choice as any IMO. They are heavily insured too ;)
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#7 Bill D

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:40 AM

I was impressed they seemed conscientious of torquing the lugs properly, probably due to the fact that they are a gigantic corporation and don't wish to take chances and their heavy insurance. I don't have a true beater any more, so I'll take my cars to the mechanic I have a trusted working relationship with, but in a pinch, in my area, I think it would be okay for someone to not rule them out.
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#8 Accumulator

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 08:03 AM

Two things that I see factoring in:

-What kind of equipment do they have?
-How good is the tech working on your wheels?

Besides making sure they are using something like a Hunter Road-force balancing machine, what kind of tools are they gonna use to get the tire on the rim? Not gonna mar the finish with some ill-fitting steel tool are they? Not gonna crimp some weight into the finish on the rim to balance it are they? Not gonna scuff the finish to get an adhesive weight to stick, are they (that was in a GM FSM!)?

I've had maybe....oh...over a dozen wheels either refinished or replaced by shops that had *sterling* reputations. IME this is something that's surprisingly difficult to get done properly. I've watched somebody *VERY* good (Chuck Mallett) do it (not a single mark of any kind) and I gotta say that *nobody* else I've ever watched did it with the care and precision he did, nobody. He even remounted/shifted the tires numerous times so I'd have the least possible weights on the wheels, and not one mark.

Just this Spring, I had a shop that does high-end GM cars (Cadillac V-series, Z06 'vettes, etc.) mount the tires on the beater-Tahoe's rims. Long-story-short, despite their assurances and the dealer's adamant vouching for them, they ended up buying me four new rims. I've had high-end Porsche/Audi dealers replace wheels more than once. I've had very few 100% satisfactory experiences.
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#9 animes2k

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 08:22 AM

I agree.

I had two wheels absolutely scratched to hell by a "reputable shop" because they didn't think to remove the wheel weights that were on the lip of the rim (factory WRX wheels). Posted Image

They had those two refinished as close to the original color as they could. Needless to say, I kept those two wheels on one side of the car and the other original wheels on the other...

#10 Flash Gordon

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 08:39 AM

The problem is the person working at the Porsche dealer, probally has a twin brother who works at Wally World

It really all boils down to if the person takes pride in their work

Probally wouldn't be a bad idea to address you concerns before you let ANY of them work on your wheels
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#11 Accumulator

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 09:25 AM

..Probally wouldn't be a bad idea to address you concerns before you let ANY of them work on your wheels


Check out the balancing machine and see how it grips the wheels. Check out the tools the guy uses to wrestle the tire bead over the rim. In both cases, ask yourself "do I want that touching my wheels in an aggressive manner?"

And if they give you grief over wanting to see such stuff, well....that's a clue.
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#12 Dan

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 09:44 AM

Check out the balancing machine and see how it grips the wheels. Check out the tools the guy uses to wrestle the tire bead over the rim. In both cases, ask yourself "do I want that touching my wheels in an aggressive manner?"

And if they give you grief over wanting to see such stuff, well....that's a clue.


Accum, I wish you lived in my area, I could just use your approved vendor list!

#13 Bill D

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 10:16 AM

For those of us living in less metropolitan areas, or areas with much fewer shops to choose from ,we can find ourselves up a certain creek rather quickly. In our case, all we can do is explain our expectations the best we can and hope for the best. We just might not have any other alternative. Might have to get friendly with a good body shop that specializes in or can at least do cosmetic wheel repair, or maybe we get lucky and the job comes back at least half decent. Glad I only really have one car to worry about concerning getting tires kind of on the same schedule as the average joe.
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#14 Accumulator

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 02:24 PM

For those of us living in less metropolitan areas, or areas with much fewer shops to choose from ,we can find ourselves up a certain creek rather quickly..


Like my having to travel over an hour to Stoddard (oops, I mean "Audi Willoughby" ) to get tires mounted on anything. Learned my lesson by trusting that GM place.

And yeah, Stoddard has messed up wheels before too, but at least they get 'em refinished to a nice standard with no arguing about it.

Accum, I wish you lived in my area, I could just use your approved vendor list!


I always feel like I live in some backwater...can't get anything done (to my satisfaction) locally, and I don't mean just vehicular stuff.

And my "approved" list was pretty expensive to develop; I wasted a lot of money at places that messed things up.

On the wheel thing, Mallett simply spoiled me, *nobody* has ever come close; that's one outfit that does *everything* perfectly IME, and I do mean everything. But they're awfully high-end, and they've moved to NC anyhow...
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#15 Dan

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 04:41 PM

I always feel like I live in some backwater...can't get anything done (to my satisfaction) locally, and I don't mean just vehicular stuff.


I'm with you there. It seems excellence is something no one cares about. At times, we are treated as freaks for daring to ask that someone renders a service without causing damage to the item being repaired. I just got a call from the dealer, the car I ordered was mistakenly detailed even though I requested SEVERAL times they stay away from it. Going to check out the carnage tomorrow. If its someting PO85RD won't take out, they'll be ordering me a new car.

#16 Brad B.

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 11:27 PM

I am soooo picky with my wheels that I only let one place touch them. They have the latest Hunter equipment and a full time wheel tech that is as picky as I am. I also always deliver just the wheels off the car so they don't have to deal with getting my cars on a lift. They also cut me a huge price deal because I bring them so much business. Win win!

Tip: I always super clean my wheels and remove all the old weights myself before leaving them at the shop.
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#17 Accumulator

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 10:09 AM

Brad B.- Oh man, yeah...you have me thinking that I really oughta take the S8 wheels up to Stoddard in the Tahoe for their new tires, but what a hassle that'd be since the S8 needs to go in anyhow. "Come on, man.... do it right!", huh?!?

Yakky- Oh gee, hope it's not too bad!

Get this- had the beater-Audi in for work last week. Stoddard has some new people working there what with Penske having bought the place. The service mgr. told them *DON'T WASH IT*, and guess what...the guy couldn't resist washing the BBS wheels that I'd spent forever layering with FK1000P. I don't think he stripped it all off, and I didn't see any marring but I was still mighty displeased. If they don't pass inspection we'll be having another, very different talk, as they were *just* refinished. When I told the mgr. he ripped the guy a new one, but by then it was done. Sheesh...of all the customers it coulda happened to I'm probably the only one who would complain, but both the mgr. and I are incredulous that "don't wash it" was interpreted as not including the wheels. Like, what?...the guy just couldn't resist some impulse to wash my beater car's wheels?!?
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#18 Bill D

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 10:32 AM

It could've been worse, the dealer could've had one of your cars on the lift, and somehow damage the lower rocker panel so bad it had to get repainted. Even me, the novice, hasnt done that. Happened two years ago to my father's E class. This was at the place I removed the rapgard from that CLK cabrio when it was bran new.. My father was assigned only the top mechanic and the dealer certainly paid for the painting. At least the body shop seemed half decent.
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#19 V3AutoDetailing

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 07:30 PM

I would never take a car to walmart for any kind of work. I refuse to even go in that store unless i have to. I would rather spend a few extra doller and give my money to another local small business. Plus if you go in give them a card they might send some business your way.

#20 Auto Concierge

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 07:59 AM

The good experience with Walmart was a fluke, you have to remember the whole premise of thier mission statement is "Roll back prices" and things are done with "The cheapness". Worse than a dealership flat rate tech, these guys are hourly @ sub $10.00 per hour rates without the specific training to do the job.

Here is a couple of things to ask the service advisor when at a tire store..........could you please define "Match mounting" or "Axial and radial deflection" and another one is how is "Reverse mount different from standard mounting and why depending on the drop center of the wheel?". One of the above posts also brought up a good point as per "Roadforce balancing" which duplicates the load on the tire dynamically instead of just the static force, and a experienced tech with a Hunter 9700 will utilize the machines capabilities of a dual plane balance and run-out to give you a smooth and proper wheel balance.

One more thing when you see tons of wheel weights this screams "quicky balance" a good tech will not need more than 5.5 ounces of wheel weights(Usually....)

Sorry for the longwinded (TOGWT style) tech laden answers, just go to a place that "Track guys" go to for all thier suspension and wheel/tire needs.

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