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Did my new mechanic lie to me?

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New User

Jun 13, 2017, 4:18 PM

Post #1 of 4 (746 views)
Did my new mechanic lie to me? Sign In

I have little-to-no knowledge about vehicles/repairs and I am hoping someone can help me understand a situation that occurred at an auto shop today. So I have a 2014 Chevy Spark that I have always religiously taken to my local Chevy dealer between 4,000-5,000 miles for oil change and tire rotation. I recently moved to a new state and had to find a new shop. There is a well-known auto shop chain right down the road so I went this A.M for a maintenance bundle including oil change and tire rotation. After a little while the guy called me up and said "We cant do a tire rotation today because your back tire is legally balled. If you replace your back tires then we will rotate them." He showed me my options on tires but I didn't feel right spending $700+ bucks without doing my own research on pricing and what not. The guy says they will leave the bad tires in the rear and not rotate them because they are "legally balled." I was kind of embarrassed so I just paid (for the entire bundle maintenance deal that included tire rotation and 2 silly filters that I always get talked into :-[) and left.

Now I'm sitting here looking at my papers from the shop and at online stuff and Im feeling like they should/could have rotated my tires--but again I am so clueless with everything auto that I could be totally wrong. My paper work says my Left and Right Front tire tread is 5/32, my Right rear is 4/32, and Left rear is 2/32. I am gathering from online the better tread should be in the back, no? Do mechanics typically refuse to rotate tires like these? I am definitely going to get new tires but I don't like feeling like I was deceived, nor do I want to buy my tires at that shop if they led me astray.

P.s. I did the "Penny Test" I found online and I could not see the top of Lincoln's head so I'm hoping that means my tire will be okay until I shop around and purchase new tires?

Thank you in advance!

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 13, 2017, 4:53 PM

Post #2 of 4 (734 views)
Re: Did my new mechanic lie to me? Sign In

The legal limit where you can actually get a ticket for defective equipment is 2/32. You state the measurement on one of the tires was 2/32 so if that was actually true and we don't know if it was, that means the tire was worn out. Even 3 to 4/32 could be the right time to change them.

The issue about rotating isn't so much about them being on the front or the rear, but the fact that the shop actually worked on them. It's a liability issue. Once they touch them, they can be held responsible if there is a failure.

It does look like they resorted to some scare tactics to get you to buy tires though. Unfortunately, that is what you can expect from the national chain stores. They all have to answer for their store's performance and they have a lot of pressure from higher management to get sales. Of course they are not advised to use those tactics but the pressure applied on them often results in that.

All I can tell you is that until you find an independent shop that is both honest and reliable, just get a second opinion when in doubt. Competitive shops are always happy to put down a competing shop and point out any dishonesty.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

Veteran / Moderator
Sidom profile image

Jun 13, 2017, 5:08 PM

Post #3 of 4 (731 views)
Re: Did my new mechanic lie to me? Sign In

Going off your tread depth readings, it looks like you have a little life left in the frt tires and could get by with just 2 tires for now. 5/32 isn't a whole lot of tread, so if you can get a good deal on a package price, 4 tires wouldn't be out of the question...

3/32 is the legal limit for tires......Now its not like you are going to get pulled over and thrown in jail for have tires under those limits.....Those limits are more for if something "bad" happens and the legal eagles get involved.....

As far as where the best tires should go??? There are 2 schools of thought on that.....Some say the best tires should be in the frt for handling purposes and some say the back, for the reason if there is a blow out that sends the car out of control, it's easier to bring a car back in control if the blow out happens on the frt and not the rear, you would need to be able to counter steer the car to bring it back under control if the blow out happened on the rear.
Personally I keep the best tires on the frt, the car handles better. More than likely the reason they didn't want to rotate you tires with one worn so bad, is it could have caused a handling problem (pull) or vibration......Then they would have an upset customer returning and they would be rotating the tires back to their original positions.

Personally I would have told that, instead of all that legal mumbo jumbo

New User

Jun 13, 2017, 5:17 PM

Post #4 of 4 (727 views)
Re: Did my new mechanic lie to me? Sign In

Makes sense! Thank you!

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