Speedy lube and tune up

Not sure if this will help anyone or not, but here it is. I went to the Speedy lube in Garland Tx for an inspection and while I was waiting the tech came back in and told me that they would not be able to perform my inspection because of a cracked drive belt. I asked him to show me, and so him and his manager proceded to shine a flash lite at the belt trying to convince me that my belt was cracked. The belt had no cracks, but out of curiousity I asked how much they would charge. They quoted me between $275 and $350. I told them politely that I’d go elsewhere, 15 minutes later my car passed inspection at a shop 5 minutes down the road. Now last week I’m talking to my mother and she’s telling me about the Speedy lube and tune by her in North Richland Hills that she normally brings her car for oil changes, but was in for an inspection… guess what happens next… the tech is advising her of a cracked belt that they need to change. She says no, proceeds to the dealership… hmm no cracks in the drive belt. I hope this helps at least one person keep from getting scammed.

I’m pretty sure that every customer that walks into any kind of “speedy lube” place has “SCAM ME” and/or “RUIN MY CAR” painted right across the forehead. Its simple - don’t use them - for anything. Ok, maybe if you needed a bathroom and it was the only place around.

I have to guess here that a drive belt is a serpentine belt that is showing cracking due to age. I am always one to believe in proper diagnosis and repair no matter where it comes from. There could be small cracks in the belt a precursor of imminent failure, but mileage and vehicle year would be important in making a determination. I have an independent shop I use for repairs and analysis, and it might be good for you to find one and get a second opinion.

If you go to a reputable dealership…they will most likely tell you that you can have a certain amount of cracks (minor of course) on a serpentine belt. They count how many you have in an inch or so, but they can explain it better to you. Serpentine belts or not as prone to failure as the old “V” belts, many will go 100k with no problem.

Welcome to the Speedy Lube business model.
A number of tiny cracks on an aged serpentine belt is normal. The trick is determining at what point they’re too many and too severe because you never want to get to the point where a belt breaks and the engine is barbecued due to an inoperative water pump, etc…

At roughly 300 bucks for a serpentine belt? Ouch. A bit much on a garden variety vehicle; maybe normal on a Ferrari.

Consider telling this story to the consumer fraud division of your local district attorney’s office. They dig this sort of thing, and may send a “sting” crew in to investigate. They’ve done it here.

One of my customers took his Taurus to a local Meineke center for an advertised oil change special. He looks like an easy mark because he has a bad speech impediment and seems a bit slow. They recommended new front brakes, a new pan gasket (because there was dirt encrusted oil on the outside of it) and several other things totalling $900. Well, he knew his brakes were only six months old so he figured something was amiss. When he got to me, the first thing I did was pop the hood. I noticed a dirty oil filter, so I pulled the dipstick. It showed dirty oil, about half a cup low in 3000 miles. THEY DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO CHANGE HIS OIL. To their business model’s credit, they did charge him for it. He went back and got it changed, but will never darken their door again.

We see these stories here every day. If they were to provide what they promise and did not push for often unneeded services, they would soon be out of business.

Another in our ever-growing list of Scam-me Lube stories. Thanks for sharing yours.

I’ve had this stuff pulled on me at Sears Automotive, whose guys are on commission. They told me I needed new front ball joints at 30,000 miles when the car was in for an oil change. I politely declined and had another shop later check them for me. No excessive wear! I did change them at 50,000 miles 2 years later.