Pep Boys - PepBoys & Tires: What Went Wrong?
I can remember being 7 years old at the Pimlico store back in 1962 when PepBoys had 3.5 HP Briggs & Stratton-powered lawn mowers on sale for $23.95, man those were the good ole days.
Jump ahead to around ????, I got a job as a mechanic as the brand new store on Liberty road in Randallstown Maryland opened it's doors. We each had a brand new tool set and a box with numbers stamped on the tools, like BAY 3, TOOLS all stamped with "3" on them, cool concept.
One day I sold a customer on a complete exhaust job. I got out the air chisel and started on the system when I broke off a section of the customers exhaust manifold where the head pipe attaches!
I went to the head mechanic for help, a big black guy everyone called "JUNEBUG".
He asked me for the piece of intake that cracked off, I found it on the floor, June-bug showed me a trick I'll never forget!
He showed me how to repair the broken-off manifold flange buy using a radiator hose clamp to hold it together, and believe it or not it worked! I was able to bolt up the new head Y-pipe and the customer never knew that I screwed up his manifold.
I also recall the time when another "new" mechanic like myself unbolted the rear of a BMW and allowed it to drop to the hard concrete shop floor and it broke on contact costing Manny, Moe & Jack $1275.00 for a junkyard replacement rear housing!
Later in life I worked as a service manager at the Uniroyal Company Store across from the Reisterstown Road Plaza, and also as a manager at Reliable Tire Company at 1013 Cathedral Street, Baltimore MD.
When it comes to tires, I learned allot at Uniroyal and Reliable. I attended the "Michelin School". I also learned how to get a new set of tires on my car/s at the customers expense,... the art of "ADJUSTING" Uniroyal OEM tires.
I also learned allot about tire construction and when it comes to tires today, I spend allot of time and research before making tire purchase decisions.
One thing I can say, forget about brands and brand names, What it comes down to for me when shopping for tires is #1 PRICE. Price meaning bottom line price regardless of vendor or brand.
#2 CONSTRUCTION. Construction to me is a simple test of sidewall thickness. If you press your thumb hard into the sidewall of say a CORNELL 300, it will feel like you are pressing against a single slice of ESKAY BALONY, it will feel thin, very thin.
On the other hand a well built tire will have a much stiffer feel. If you find tires that offer plenty of resistance when you press on the sidewall, chances are it is a better built tire and when it comes to ROAD HAZARDS, particularly IMPACT BREAKAGE, you definitely want a very stiff, thick, well constructed sidewall on any tire you choose, including any Pep-Boys "house brands".
#3 THREAD DESIGN. I am very picky when it comes to tread design selection because I sold well over one million dollars worth of tires in my life and have come to realize that thread design does matter when it comes to overall thread life of the tire.
#4 BRAND. Brand names are pretty much worthless when it comes to making a tire selection. This is do to too many manufacturers currently in the game and the increasing number of import tires from China and other countries that are just starting to gain a reputation be it good or bad. One thing I do know for sure, MICHELIN is still number one! Michelin uses a different type of rubber then other tire manufacturers and their quality control is superior as well, BUT, if you want Michelin you have to PAY FOR MICHELIN and they do not come cheap.
Do not be afraid to buy and run a "no-name" tire on your vehicle and here is why: Because most every generic tire out there is made by one of the large tire manufacturers. Not only that but you have to take into consideration that companies like COOPER for example, make ZILLIONS of generic tires for just about everyone including PEP-BOYS. Cooper started out making AIRCRAFT TIRES and one would think that aircraft tires take more abuse then passenger car tires and that Cooper knows how to make great tires, they do in fact, however not every tire Cooper makes is going to have thick sidewall so be very careful. Use my order of priorities when looking for great deals on tires.
Now about PepBoys.
PepBoys has gone down hill and here is why: 1. They care more about profit and things like "loss prevention" then they do about being competitive. Have you checked out the prices of the products PepBoys sells lately? They are insanely high. In fact virtually every product I have checked the pricing on, everything from a can of Chevy orange engine paint to a set of after-market truck mirrors, to rims, tools, EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING Pep Boys regular shelf price is way jacked up. It's like SEARS. The only thing keeping Sears alive today is probably the kick-back they get from the banks from the KAZILLION DOLLARS worth of credit card debt in existence and I suspect the same with Pep Boys and their relationship with GE Money.
UNFORTUNITLY, Pep Boys is not even competitive with tire sales and here is why: Check pricing on just about any tire size at TIRERACK.COM or DISCOUNT TIRE.COM. Then call any PepBoys and try to get them to beat (or even match) the price, THEY CAN NOT OR WILL NOT!!! It makes no difference WHO makes the tire, PepBoys can't compete.
It typically cost around $15 EACH to mount, balance, install a new tire with a new valve stem, and dispose the used tire here in the EAST. If you are paying more then that, THEN you are paying TOO MUCH! Therefore PepBoys can try to convince you that your price for any given size tire at TireRack or DiscountTireDirect is not comparing apples to oranges because PepBoys provides the "complete" package. That is total BS.
All you need to do to be certain you are getting a good deal at your local PepBoys the next time you want to buy a set of FOUR NEW TIRES, is to get the lowest price per tire (for the size you are shopping for) from DiscountTireDirect.com, (because DiscountTireDirect is usually a little cheaper then TireRack when you add in the shipping factor), and remember to FORGET about BRAND NAMES HERE!!!! Multiply that by FOUR (for 4 tires) and then add $60 for the "service" aspect of the deal, ($15 times 4), and use that number as your bargaining chip when in PepBoys.
If the Service Manager, Sales Manager, Tire Salesman, or WHOMEVER at PepBoys can't beat the number you have from using my formula they are just plain ripping you off, NO IF'S, AND'S OR BUT'S ABOUT IT,...END OF STORY!
Not only that, but even if PepBoy's is able top beat your number (from my formula) chances are the "product" they will be selling you is a piece of *** BALONY-SKIN thick tire like a Cornell 300 or some such JUNK tire that simply will not hold up to road-hazards like a MICHELIN, DUNLAP, PERELI, or decently built COOPER tire will! And the ROAD HAZARD PROTECTION PLAN that DiscountTireDirect.com offers is TEN TIMES BETTER and even cheaper then anything PepBoys can offer, don't believe me? Go to their web site and read it for yourself.
I have called 4 different PepBoys in the last 2 years,... spoke to Tire Managers, even General Store Managers,.... not once has PepBoys been able to even come close to the total cost of 4 new tires installed USING MY FORMULA!!!!!!! To be fair, I will list the tire sizes that I was shopping for. They were (in order of biggest to smallest) 315-75-16, 285-75-16, 275-70-16, 265-70-16, 245-60-15, and the most recent was 215-55-16 for my wife's 98 Sebring convertible. Amazingly,...I ended up buying Hancock (with a generic Michelin Pilot thread design), at Discount Tire Direct for OVER $100 LE$$ then PepBoys best offer on their lowest cost product tire!!!
I could go on and on but won't.
PepBoy's may be currently in the green,...but it will not last. The economy has become so weak that it has the effect of forcing consumers to become better shoppers and sooner or later it will bring PepBoys tire sales down. Tires is what PepBoys (at least at one time in history) relied on to bring in new customers. We need to go back to the old days. PepBoys could be the leader if they would simply provide great deals and concentrate more on customer relations rather then the old method of bait and switch, over-pricing junk tires, inflating labor cost on tire-related installation services and road-hazard plans, and confusing would-be tire customers with insane mileage Pro-Rated warranties.
Mileage warranties on ALL TIRES are COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS because every consumer is different. They have different type vehicles, different driving styles, different levels of maintenance they are willing to spend $$$ on such as alignment, rotation, balancing, shock/strut replacement, road conditions where you live, etc, etc.
I am about to buy a new set of tires for one of my trucks and have my price per tire via the formula I suggested earlier in this post. I will be calling PepBoys tomorrow to ONCE AGAIN give them the opportunity to earn my business but only for one reason. I received a letter from G.E. Money Bank last week concerning my PepBoys credit card. The letter states that if I do not use my PepBoys card in the next 90 days "My account may be closed."
So maybe I'll go buy some valve stems there tomorrow... LOL! I can probably buy the chrome-plated all-metal ones CHEAPER off the schelf in PepBoy's then what they charge you for the rubber ones at the tire sales counter!!! The rubber ones that are made in China and that PepBoy's buys a case of 5000 of them for $800.00 !!!!