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Thread: Props to AAM Competion and mixed news Firestone Elkton.

  1. #1
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    Jun 2002

    Props to AAM Competion and mixed news Firestone Elkton.

    I have previously given Firestone Elkton good marks as can be seen in this previous thread.

    Their service advisor John is professional and extremely knowlegable especially for someone outside a major dealership service dept and a pleasure to deal with.

    However this week I was not impressed with the events on the shop floor surrounding my (very) bad passenger side front ball joint on my 2009 Chevy Malibu (daily driver until I buy a used Q or G or..).

    I recently purchased a set of new tires from them (3 weeks ago) and was very pleased with the quick installation, the good alignment, great price and the perfect tire balancing which caused me to write my previous postive review.

    However when I got the car back, I noticed it handled real rubbery in left turns, especially fast sweepers where the right tire gets slowly loaded and suddenly the car seem to steer extra in an immediate way for little apparent reason.

    Sometimes this would happen on braking too.
    And I was not feeling safe with the car.

    I brought it back and asked them to check the car out thinking maybe it might be a bad alignment.

    I took it bad they proceeded to realign it no problem but also said to bring it back if problem persists.

    It did persist, but i live 115 miles way from them (they are near my old house which I am fixing up) so I didnt have a chance to check in withthem again.

    And also they had had their shot so I made an appt w/ the Chevy dealer thinking this might be a hard problem needing the Chevy dealer.

    On Wednesday I was at a confernece for work and AAM competition my tuner was nearby.

    And even though they dont exactly focus on FWD Chevy's ,..:DI figured , why not?

    They found the problem in about 2 seconds (literally!!) afetr putting the car on the lift.

    Left front Balljoint was so bad you could hand wiggle the tire by an inch(!).
    A huge safety issue the thing coukld have collapsed any minute of driving especially if hard turning were suddently needed.

    I dont know whay something so obvious was missed that at Firestone,.. partially negating my previous very good (for what they offer) impression.

    AAM was running a special 15% off labor for winter, got the part from autozone right away and I was on my way later that afternoon w/o too much out of pocket.

    Next day (yesterday) I go by autozone , since i now need to be realigned very badly on the left front wheel.

    John at Firestone offered it up for free and in the car goes...

    when I get the car back I am in a hurry to get going but notice a little softness in the handling but think nothing of it.

    A couple minutes later I check my tire pressures and they are at 31 psi all around..

    Remeber this are fully warm tires and it was unsually warm day for December.

    So 31 hot is really like 27/28 psi on cold check.
    The door jamb says minimum cold inflation pressure is 30 psi all around.

    So you add to that 5 psi for fast hiway driving (which I was doing and even the Chevy owners manual recommends it plus its common sense) and it should have been 35 psi cold all around which since the tires were very warm should have read about 38/39 psi when fully hot coming from 35 cold.

    (And I am of the school of thought that like to add an extra 2 psi up front for control and also to account for the extra weight on most front engined cars but lets not consider that right now, and just go with 35 psi cold all around as a standard)

    I spend a lot of time, effort and thought of having my tires perfectly inflated at all times so I a not pleased.

    Also I am in a hurry since I have to drive back through Baltimore AND Washington DC , to Fort Belvoir,VA from Elkton,MD and am trying to beat rush hour through both (my conference had been over early)

    So I go back and John has me pull back around to top of the air i the tires.

    As I come back the "technician" in a mildly unpleasant manner asks me why I want to put so much extra air into the tires.

    Apparently it was him who pulled the air out of the tires and he did not think this judgement was wrong.

    I am always up for a good car discussion but was kinda flabbergasted (and in a hurry and not now in a good mood)

    I try to tell him I am doing hiway driving and that the tires are warm and he says "if you over fill the tires they will wander and the OEM recommendation takes into consideration everything like fuel economy and safety"

    I told him that the tires are hot, its a warm afternoon on an unusually cold day and tomorrow morning the tires will be at 27/28 psi in the morning and he there fore underinflated them.

    He keeps arguing with me" yes but the tire pressure will go up during the day as the tires warm!" aargh

    I am not sure the man fully understands tire inflation and what "cold minimum inlfation pressure" means when he makes a statement like that.

    you do NOT use the warmth of the day or the drive to meet your pressure spec!!!

    I mean " No ******** Sherlock , thats why you call the standard the COLD inflation pressure." ( I said this much more politely though as i eel kidna foolish arguing with a man who does this for a living....

    And I didnt really want ot argue with him.

    I didn't have time to explain it all to him, but now I see why everytime I buy tires there they are underinflated by 2-5 psi.

    I can concede he didnt know I was doing fast highway driving, but even so they call the minimum inflation pressure, the minimum, for a reason and he can see from my appearance (I was in uniform) that comfort is not a big priority for me and <even if it where> a hot 31 psi is signifanclty underinflated on a car with 30 psi minimum COLD inflation pressure.

    What made it worse , (its ok in my mind if PPL make mistakes).. but the man argued with me about the most basic tire science.

    But he obviosuly thinks the cold minimum inflation pressure is the standard the cars should be inflated too w/o allowing for car use, or the fact that a car brought to him on a warm afternoon must be more than that by 3-4 psi just to meet that minimum standard.
    I can also imagine when he installes new tires and uses that standard them coming out of an not aircondtioned warehouse in summer, or a room temp warehouse in winter, will cause consistent and sytemic underinflation how they let tires out the door.

    I shudder to think how they let cars underinflated out the door before, with that approach.


    When going there, even though they give good deals on decent tires and do a good job balancing always be sure to check your tire for underinflation.

    PS: And Kudos to AAM competition for a fast and professional job on a car they would never usually deal with.
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

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    2x91,92,94 Q45s, 2x 350Z, 1x 240SX w/ SR20DET, 1x Sentra SER SPEC-V, 2k2 Maxima, 2x03 G35, 09 Maxima, 2k2 Maxima, 2015 XTerra, 2005 Xterra, 2012 Pathfinder,

  2. #2
    I don't understand some of their thought processes either. In a previous thread I posted about having my snow tires mounted and the tire shop over inflating by 5 pounds and over torquing the lug nuts. I'm kind of paranoid about my car and won't even let the dealer wash it after service. I've only found one other place that I will let wash my car if I can't do it myself.

    I imagine that Nissan spent a lot of hours tweaking and tuning the Z car suspension and I reckon their recommended tire pressure is based on their testing. It would only take a few seconds to ask the customer if he had any special preferences for tire pressures and would greatly improve customer relations. I'm sure that a lot of people don't care one way or the other but they should ask anyway.
    I was sent to the hospital for observation. I didn't observe anything so I left.


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