Travel Journal

Getting Ripped At The Dealers

(Sunday 19 March 2017) by Rick Clot
Here's another one of life's many mysteries. My last post was concerning my trip to the Ford dealership last week to have some scheduled service maintenance done. One of the things I needed was an oil change and included as part of that service was a tire rotation and brake inspection which obviously involved removing all four wheels. See, I do know something about cars. The service manager told me that the mechanic had problems getting the wheels off because the lug nuts were "swollen". He must have felt the need to explain himself probably because I'm sure I had a look on my face that begged the question even without asking, "WTF? How does a lug nut swell?" It was explained to me that apparently Ford designed a lug nut that has a cap over the top of each one and it's the cap that gets disfigured over time. He recommended that the lug nuts be replaced with the more conventional one piece lug nut to the tune of $130 which amazed me that he could tell me that with a straight face and not a hint of remorse in his voice. The beauty of it all was that he didn't even have a gun and mask. Since I was getting new tires put on two days later I declined his generous offer and thought I'd let Discount Tire worry about it. Sure enough the Professional Road Rubber Specialist (a.k.a. the tire changer in layman's terms) at Discount Tire confirmed that the lug nuts were in fact out of shape but his cost was only $40 for a complete set. So now I ask myself, A) Does Ford purposely use flawed lug nuts to extract an additional $130 from the car owner over time or, B) Does the dealer switch out factory installed lug nuts with substandard ones for the same purpose? Or maybe I'm just a conspiracy theorist.

Until Next Time,
No more dealers for me,


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