Is it just me? Tyre fitting

Morning everyone. Thought I’d share me experience yesterday with ATS at my local branch. Earlier in the week, Mrs B managed to kerb her Audi A6 Avant and damage the near side tyre beyond repair! We were only half a mile or so from home and after remonstrating with her about this, I inspected the damage to assess the cost of repairs, etc. I put the space saver on the car and set about getting replacement tyres sorted. Black circles in the end, fully fitted with ATS being the nearest open fitting shop. Booked in for 8.30am yesterday (Saturday). Fist off, both an invoice and a booking confirmation sent by Black circles, with both the 8.30am slot and 13.30 to 14.00 slot? Rang ATS to confirm which and they said they only worked half day Saturday so make sure I was there prompt at 8.30am, fair enough.
Saturday morning, 8.30am on the dot, along with another 5 customers! All 8.30am slots :thinking:
Social distancing confusion, shop hadn’t even opened up etc, so we were on our way, leaving the car with them, by 08.45, again, fair enough. My wife’s phone number on the order, they asked for further confirmation as they would ring when ready but no more than an hour max. Off we went with the dog for a walk.
Almost 2 hours later, no call so we rang them, car was ready. OK, back to shop, no one on reception, Mrs B had to go into workshop to get someone to attend. No handover whatsoever, just gave her the keys. Car has TPMS and it was going haywire, TPMS light on, message display showing under inflation of tyres etc. :slightly_frowning_face:
I went back in to workshop eventually attracting someone’s attention and explained the problem. Having paid ATS price for fully fitted service, I wanted it right. I know I can reset it myself after checking adjusting the pressures but that wasn’t the point. So, the guys response was that I might have had a puncture? I explained that was why the car was there in the first place? He eventually, got hold of the supervisor who suggested we go back to reception to sort. He said that the TPMS just needed resetting in the car, so I asked why they hadn’t done this as part of replacing 50% of the tyres on the car? He didn’t have an answer but offered to reset it there and then. Out to the car, pressed the buttons, reset it. There you go Sir!
Now, my understanding is, the TPMS system monitors a drop/increase in tyre pressures from the level they were when a reset is done, it doesn’t know if those original pressures are actually correct, just that if they alter, a warning is given.
We left the garage, went home and I first of all checked the pressures myself. As suspected, there was 3 psi difference between the two new tyres and both were higher than the two rear ones which were both set at 35psi. Adjusted the pressures, reset the TPMS and good to go.
Sorry for the big rant this morning but how easy would it be, to do the job correctly in the first place? Even a little crib/check sheet on completion of the job?

Have you checked tyre pressures?
Have you set them to manufacturers specs
Have you reset TPMS (if fitted)
Ring customer
Etc.

None of the above were done :anguished: Now, anyone not knowing about pressures, accepting that ATS were the experts, could have issues further down the line with uneven tyre wear, possibly safety problems etc. The TPMS would not indicate a problem unless tyre pressures altered, not that they were wrong.

The icing on the cake, it’s called customer service, where has it gone?
Barrie

I rather suspect that your first and main problem was in trusting ATS to be able to do anything remotely constructive on your car.

Some garages will aim to do a good job and charge a smaller price, hoping to keep your business and making their money from you over the longer period. Big box tyre shops such as ATS and the like will charge you a premium for a crap job, expecting not to keep you as a returning customer.

Having had a similar experience myself, of dire workmanship, I won’t darken their door ever again.

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That’s not a good experience Barrie. When I had company cars they used Kwik fit mobile and I’ve continued to use them with both my private cars. Always been good and ring 20 mins before arrival at my house, no scratches to the alloys which is important to me. TPS reset without me asking and pressures accurate. Prices competitive and free fitting for two or more tyres includes balancing, new valves and disposal.

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For a balanced view, I use the Blackcircles / ATS combo for all my cars including full sets of KUMHO on the 5 and the wife’s VW UP. Also puncture (split at 12000 miles, likely pothole damage) on my BMW run flat. Every time I received great service at a great price. They handle my MOT ‘s too.

I guess the difference is they know me as I have become a regular. They know I expect to get what I want. I am very specific with my instructions both before they start and checking once they claim the work to be complete. I get to see everything I need to so there is never a debate over work done.

Would I trust them if I wasn’t so specific with my instructions? Maybe not.

They also over inflate everything, every time!

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I live directly opposite an ATS. I use them for all of my tyres and have nothing but good service from them. I book through black circles or their own website usually because the prices will be cheaper and they won’t price match with online. Because of their location (and having a spare car or two) I am very laid back about how long they can take because I can sit in my living room while they do it and as long as its finished by the end of the day I’m happy. They’ve had the same staff in there for a good while so I think that makes a difference to the service you receive and its always nice when you walk in and they know who you are.

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Thank you everyone and indeed, a balance of good and bad! What I’m really offed about, is that most normal folk that don’t have a mechanical leaning in any way, would think they’d had a job done, TPMS reset everything’s fine, which it wasn’t. I am capable of doing what I did, other folk maybe less so. :pleading_face: Personally, and having a conscience, I would not or could not, let vehicles out onto the road without ensuring they were OK. The other thing, did they miss a trick? Negatives into positives and all that. A possible opportunity to sell me 2 more for the rear in the future. Nothing doing, apart from my bad experience. I do take on board regarding more long term use and being known to the shop etc, that goes without saying. Unfortunately with lock down, not all tyre shops are open and my ATS was, also local (ish). Well, experience is a great teacher! :nerd_face:

Barrie

I always check pressures on new tyres when I get home, whoever fits them always over inflates, some by a considerable amount. Whoever I use I am usually dissatisfied with in some way, but that’s the same with restaurants, shops, airlines, and anyone else that provides me with a service or product. Perhaps I am too fussy?

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I’m finding it increasingly difficult to trust some places now. On the theme of tyres my local go too place has let me down twice so I ditched them long ago. They also fit exhausts and had to go back twice for them to stop a leaky one they had fitted, after that a rather mixed affair with a wheel removal. They claimed they couldn’t take a locking wheel nut off, I suspected the young lad on training had chewed it up trying to remove it.
I moved on to my other more local garage and they got the chewed up nut off ok (long story there cut short) so I stuck with them for servcing, MOT and tyre fitting on my daily driver. I’ve since had a couple of incidents with them after around 4 years dealing with them, lost screws on the air filter box and a wrongly fitted oil fiter. Luckily the oil filter did the job ok but just shoddy work all the same.
I’ve recently had a quote from them to fit and balance my own sourced tyres, they used to be a fitting station for Black Circles but stopped as just hadn’t the time to spend fitting tyres all day and sometimes they were over booked. They will do mine though for a set charge, I arrange to get the tyres there or I can buy of there suppliers.
Lockdown has put that on the back burner and I may try another outfit first when I can get out and about for such things, the ones I have are ok and legal for now.

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I suppose at the moment, you probably have to go to whoever is able to fit, especially when the new tyres are not a planned replacement. Not setting the pressures correctly and resetting the TPMS is bad form though.

I only trust a couple of places locally to fit my tyres as they’ve never let me down, always taking time to do the job properly with one place even starting again when a tyre wouldn’t balance properly without putting a stupid amount of weights on.

I did have to use Kwik Fit about 8 or 9 years ago in an emergency. To be fair, they did an alright job, but the price was much higher than I could have paid, had I had time to shop around.

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I’ve never used ATS.
And I’ve generally concluded that the likes of Blackcircles, Mytyres etc…, don’t really add anything to the tyre purchase experience. Certainly not, generally, on price.

What I do is order online, at the website, Malvern Tyres in my case, or more recently, Halfords. I choose, as you have done, a first thing in the morning slot, or first thing after lunch. Those are the 2 options. In doing so, I accept that I join the others who have chosen that option, at that time. That’s the trade-off for the ordering online price of the tyre. Someone who shows up at the place, and orders at the counter usually pays more. Ditto, someone who phones up and asks about coming in to have a tyre(s) fitted. And, I think , they have priority for fitting.

I’ve always considered ‘fully fitted’ price / service to mean…
Fitting the tyre
New valve
Balancing
Disposal of the old tyre.

Tyre pressures. I’m never too bothered about whether they’ve got the pressures totally correct.
I check them with my own gauge when I get home anyway. And having bought, in the space of a year, 3 different gauges till I found one that I trusted, that’s the one that I trust rather than any at a tyre fitters.

TBH you do seem to be having a long moan about something really minor. Long ago, I pumped petrol, fitted batteries, repaired and fitted tyres as a part time job at a garage ( Blue Star, if anyone here is old enough to remember them ). I hated the tyre fitting. It was hard, grubby, and the tools supplied by the garage weren’t much more than a tyre lever, and an air line.

And I’ve got considerable sympathy for those in public facing jobs at this time of plague.

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I too empathise with those customer facing folk at this time but I get the feeling that my experience here would be the same at anytime. I do remember Blue Star garages, the one on Armley/Stanningley Road in Leeds, specifically. Long gone now. I did apologise for the length of my rant, but in order to articulate exactly how and what occurred plus my own point of view, is how it ended up. Folk dont have to read my posts after all if they are too long for them, or appear to be out of proportion with the actual event. Oh well, have a good day everyone, stay safe and look after yourselves.
Barrie

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I bought my last lot of tyres from tyres on line they use National Tyres. Just as you reported from black circle. I couldn’t match the price & ease of use. No marks on wheels brilliant price good appointment system. Never even thought of buying tyres online till I tried locally to get them for my Yaris and was so restricted cause of the size.
I think you were lucky being able to get tyres in this present situation.

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I disagree. It does seem a minor point but a 3 psi difference on the same axle when fitted is poor form. Not reseting the tpms after is also less than stellar.
Most people would not have checked the pressures until the tpms warned them something was wrong which could have been months.
When I receive a service like this I always ask myself how this would work if it was my mum receiving it. I can check things and generally am not completely clueless but my mum would implicitly trust the experts at the garage because they know what they are doing. Its such a simple thing to put the same amount of air in a pair of tyres when fitting that to not do it is unacceptable.

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There would be lot’s of folks unaware that they have had slapdash work done to their cars. I pay for a service so expect it done correctly irrespective of these trying times. I realise things could have been rushed in this case but still it’s not on to not get it right.
I mention my case of the oil filter above not fitted correctly. They left the old sealing ring in the housing, so when I did my own service I found the two sealing rings in there, they are pretty thick seals too.
Now if I can it’s DIY for me but that doesn’t apply to everyone, they trust others to the job.

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While this will probably not be a popular reply I see this sort of situation a lot across a lot of different forums. The common theme seems to be, shopped around to get the cheapest price, unhappy with the service that came with.
There are a number of issues usually involved. It starts with, like everywhere, different people will have different attitudes to work, but also influenced by work load. Tyre fitting is physically brutal, modern cars wheels and tyres get bigger and heavier with many weighing in excess of 30kg. The difference is are you asking for a new tyre or a tyre service? Setting exact pressures takes time, which might seem a silly and obvious thing to say but dropping a tyre down from the pressure at which the tyre blows onto the bead can take a long time, even just dropping 3psi on large capacity tyres can take over a minute. So you either need to take the valve core out or wait. If you are doing 4 tyres then again that time adds up. Given that 5 customers turned up at the same time, which is Black Circles booking system, then there are 5 people all wanting to be away in that first hour along with anyone else that decides to come in, phone up and add extra work, then the pressure is on. People get miffed at having to wait. To then start going round the car checking the remaining pressures again takes time they don’t have for a job that has not been paid for. Also how is the guy fitting tyres going to know if you have particular pressures set? Maybe their guage is different to yours.
I am a registered fitter for My Tyres, but have not had work for years as I refuse to work for the rate they want, which is £5 including vat per tyre with an extra £1 for alloy wheels! Take out disposal, consumable cost and overhead and there is nothing left. If I back track from Black Circles costs, a garage is getting between £10 & £14 per tyre of which they still have to cover disposal, and there has been a doubling of that price in the last 6 months, consumables, overhead and wages. So now the only way to be viable at those rates is to be busy and get through the queue. You now have someone doing a physical job under time pressure with a customer wanting the lowest price and shortest time but with all the care and attention to detail that comes with far more time and money.

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Not even Main Dealers get delivery Mx5 tyre pressures right, as they cannot spell P.D.I.
Every knows this. How often have we all read about new owners bouncing off with 40 PSI plus and wondering what the hell is wrong with their new pride and joy?
I never ever have nor ever will trust a multi franchise to get it right and in any case, there is a hell of a PSI variance that occurs depending on ambient weather temps…easy + or - a few PSI.
I’m not bigging NickD up, but he is the sort of niche expert specialist that you can trust, and you’d hope to be able to. A lot depends on whether these businesses value their reputation, or just play the numbers game and don’t really have to give a toss. Privateers need to give that toss…bad news travels fast.

Hmmmmm🤔 thanks Nick for contributing and furthering the discourse surrounding my experience.
Lowest price certainly wasn’t the issue here. P7 cinturato’s aren’t the cheapest tyre to source. Neither were they the cheapest P7’s available. Time wasn’t the issue either, being told it would be done in the hour was taken onboard, along with “we will ring you as soon as its done” neither of which were achieved by ATS. Convenience of having the tyres fitted was however, the main consideration here. Compounded by the extremely poor service overall. I can understand the fitting element being paired down price wise so corners are then cut. Happens all over industry these days, not just tyres. Come on though, tyres, the only contact point of the car with the road? You are one of the experts here, or doesn’t tyre pressure actually matter? Surely, no one can condone what they did? Yes, I can and did, sort it myself in the end but not something everyone has either the knowledge or equipment to rectify. Perhaps Nick, you could clarify tyre pressure differences and whether in fact it makes any difference in the end?

Barrie

I understand NickD perfectly, I’ve seen it from the service side on a student holiday job in the 1960s (Bristol Blue Star, that site has now been completely redeveloped a couple of times over). I’ve never worked so physically hard in my life!

In the past whenever I had my tyres done at a franchise I was very happy for them to be overinflated, and I then did a very gentle short run (very light right foot) for ten or fifteen minutes to warm them, and settle them on the rims while there is still a little bit of lubricant to ease them into final position. Then once back home again I set the correct pressures in the evening after they have had time to cool down again.

These days with considerably lower annual mileage, I’m also prepared to pay for it to be done properly, and wait (weeks if necessary) for the right person to be available to do whatever is required. But then I am a bit OCD about tyres, thanks to my Blue Star experience (both positive - super people, and negative - carp products).

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I always recheck tyre pressures after someone else has fitted them. If someone else services my car (which tbh is very seldom these days) I check the oil level at the next suitable opportunity.

If you go for the cheapest deal, chances are you’ll get what you paid for. Even the best folks, in ideal circumstances, can make a mistake.

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Barrie, the tyre is a commodity though and has no bearing on the profit margin. ATS can get the same tyre for the same money, maybe less than Black Circles and because that Tyre is sold many places on the Internet, the public know what that is. Black Circles and all the other on-line sellers then get in to the race to be the lowest price. So when, as has been said in this post, you get better deals on line, it is the fitter that’s margin is squeezed not the tyre supplier as it costs the same to fit a £30 tyre as it does to fit a £300. The customer naturally sees the larger purchase cost as being more profit.
This is a scenario that happens to me all the time, I’ll use made up figures. Customer phones up and says they have a puncture and need a new tyre, “what’s your best price?” Not best service or best attention to detail. So if my business needs £60 per hour to be in business, that means I need £20 for the expected 20 minutes it is going to take me. So I give them the price based on that. So the price they are going to pay is the price I pay for the tyre plus the £20 + vat and say it comes to £100.
They turn up and apart from the British Standard 5 minute wait while they search for the locking wheel nut, then I jack the car up take the wheel off the front, do the tyre bit and as I come back to refit it, they will say, "can you swap the fronts to the back please as I want to rotate them and I think that right rear is a bit low, can you check the pressures as well. So now it has gone from a 20 minute job to 45 minutes and I’m loosing money. The customer thinks I’m making £100 out of them, not effectively losing £25.
As for pressure, I am aware that the feeling is on this forum that the car is “very sensitive to pressure” It is actually not that critical in absolute terms. If you can tell the difference between 26 and 29 then that is a good thing. Is any damage occurring a 26 rather than 29 or 32, probably not and certainly not in the short term. Altering tyre pressures can alter the handling of the car but not drastically as you would notice in road driving and you need to find your own sweet spot. We won the last Citroen C1 24hour race at Rockingham using 50psi front and 70psi rear cold pressures. An MX-5 race car will typically start at 24 to 25 cold pressure. I know people that run 45 in the wet. I typically run cars on manufacturer demo days at 50 or 60 to protect the tyres shoulder.
Regarding the Audi, they are typically something like 32 but you will find a fully loaded or high speed running pressure as well which may well be as high as 46.
Bottom line is you should be checking your tyre pressures at least once a month and ideally, as many company car owners are finding, you should do a walk around each day, just to look for problems.

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