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This is Why We Don't Like Dealerships [Update #2]

[Update 2] I just got back from the 1:00 appointment to replaced the airbag in the WRX. It took them just over two hours this time. Go figure.

I asked for and received the alignment sheet for our Outback. The left front and both rears were out of spec. Strange, the curb rash is on the right front. I’m wondering if it was on the right rear and they rotated it to the front when my wife took it in. I have no idea where she put the paperwork. The world may never know. Anyway, everything is in-spec now. Either the tires are wonky or I’m just not used to the squishiness of an Outback. I’ll give it another thousand miles and see where things stand.

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Before I left, the adviser was trying out a new toy on my car. It’s a hand-held laser scanner for checking tire depths. If everything goes right, the results are printed out and show you exactly what the tread depths are across your tires.

The results indicate the right-rear tire on my WRX is worn and should be replaced IMMEDIATELY. The truth is that the guy needs more practice before his results can be trusted. See how the grooves are evenly spaced on the graphic? Three of my tires look similar, but the fourth, the right-rear one, is way off. All of the grooves are skewed to the left side of the graphic and the outside one is half the width of the others. I’m sure he’ll start getting good results eventually, but practice makes perfect, right?

 [Update] I drove the car home after their airbag replacement and alignment service. I’m not convinced they really did an alignment. It’s not pulling the same, but it’s a little vague in the front end, so I wonder if they just tweaked one wheel a bit and called it good. The whole process took less than an hour, including the airbag replacement, the alignment, and the “free wash” that is included with every service. I’ll be requesting the alignment sheet when I go back for the airbag replacement on my WRX this afternoon as benn454 suggested. I did check all four tires for tread depth. It’s getting close, but they all match. I’m betting we’ll need to replace them before the end of the year. The only evidence that they did the airbag was the radio losing all of its presets. They had to unplug the battery so they didn’t accidentally set off the airbags, so I’m guessing they actually did that work.

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[Original]

About a month ago, I had a chance to drive our Outback for the first time in a while. It was pulling a little to the right, so I asked my wife to take it to the dealer and ask them to check the alignment. They told her that it needed an alignment but they wouldn’t do it without putting new tires on it first. They said the wear was uneven and they couldn’t align it without new tires. I told her to thank them and take the car home. I planned to check on the tires and get an alignment done at an independent shop.

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Last week we received airbag notices for both the Outback and my WRX. Since I planned to work from home this week, I scheduled airbag replacements for both cars. I’m sitting in the waiting area while they are working on the Outback and they came to me a few minutes ago with their recommended 60,000 mile service list. Guess what’s not on it. Right. Tires. They also said that they would skip the alignment since the tires are all in spec.

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What the hell?

I was shopping for tires because they said it needed tires. Now they say the tires are fine. I’m going to have to check them myself when I get back home. I think the difference is who is sitting in the waiting room, me or my wife. That’s just shady, Subaru.

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Other items on the list include filters, spark plugs, an intake cleaning, an oil change (we just did that), and a brake fluid flush. All of these are items we can do ourselves for a lot less than $750 (it was $850 with the recommended alignment). Time to hit up Rock Auto.

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