So my Toyota Camry has over 160K Miles and the handling was getting real horrible. The rear end was noisy and was bouncing all over bumps. I was a bit on the fence because I knew I need four new struts and not sure if I was going to keep the car. I probably waited too long. Anyway, I found some aftermarket complete assemblies with good reviews and decided to give it a shot. The rears went in fine, and resolved all of the issues back there. After 3 K miles being that I was happy with the quality, I ordered the fronts.
Now here is where the rant starts. As I am getting ready to do the work on the fronts, I am trying to loosen the lug nuts. Turns out, the tire place who put the new front tires on 3-4 weeks ago, managed to strip 6 out of the 10. Now being 430 PM, I tried and re-tightened them and drove very carefully to the store. A polite discussion on why they should fix it now (they are open until 7 PM) was not going very well. I was getting all sorts of excuses. I reminded them that on the same day, they gave me an estimate of $1100 for the struts and they said they can do it in an hour. So reminding them of that, I said you should be able to get the studs and replace them and the car is not safe to be driven like this. Finally when I told them I need a loaner car if they are not gong to fix it they agreed to fix it. When they were taking the lugs out, they decided to change all 10 (apparently the other 4 were not so good either).
On second thought, I had noticed some vibration when braking and was planning to check the brakes when doing the struts but turned out the vibration was also resolved with the proper studs.
I had used this shop before for tires and had gotten decent service and actually watched them use their torque wrench after putting the tires on. I just think some technicians are relying too much on the impact air gun to do all the work. I think 6 out of ten could probably be a new record.
So, one perfect afternoon wasted fixing this, Saturday morning I put the new struts and got an alignment and car rides like new. Say all you want about knock off aftermarket brands, but this one seems decent for an older car.
As I was doing the struts, I noticed the seepage from my steering rack has gotten a bit worse. This might be the last straw for me to get a newer car. I am really loosing faith based on the technicians I have used over the last 10 years. It seems like at least here in LA, it is either do it yourself or be ripped off with poor quality expensive work that needs a few return trips. I know there are a lot of good and honest mechanics on this site, I just can’t find them where I live or maybe their hours are very restrictive.
I just wanted to share my experience, rant over, sorry guys (& gals)