Ferrari 288GTO Wheels Continued…

About a month ago, I went to my customer’s house to take the wheels and tires off his car to put on a fresh set of tires. The plan was to clean the wheels, mount new tires, bring them back, and have the car ready for driving when Spring arrived in the Northeast. It seemed safer for me to do the work than to ship the car back and forth just to change tires. I normally take wheels like these over to a local dealership next door to my shop for modern wheels like these because their tire machines are more than capable of doing the job. They have been pretty busy, so I didn’t get a chance to send the wheels out for new rubber before I left for the Amelia Island Concours, but dropped them off the morning I got back in town and was told they were ready to pick up that afternoon.

The next day, I drove all the way back to CT to mount the new tires on the car when I noticed something strange: No wheel weights. Occasionally, one tire will balance out with no weights, but not all four! I called the dealership and asked who balanced my tires. When they called back, they confessed the tech (not the tech I requested to do my wheels) who mounted the tires never balanced center lock wheels, didn’t balance the wheels, and forgot to tell the service writer he didn’t do it. The Service Writer never looked at the stack of tires, and told me they were done. I was in such a rush to get these wheels back to the owner, that I didn’t check when I picked them up, but I shouldn’t have to check work that should have been checked by two other people before me! Needless to say, I blew a gasket on the dealership. To add insult to injury, they charged me for both a tire mount and balance! When the service writer’s boss told me they would make it up to me, I told them they just cost me several hours of my time needlessly returning tires to my customer for what amounted to a $120 dollar job the dealer screwed up. Sorry and a refund really wasn’t helpful.

Bringing the wheels back to the dealership was not only a waste of time, but also not worth the travel back and forth, so I decided to call a friend on mine with a shop 30 minutes from the car to balance the tires. Instead of losing two days traveling back and forth, I went early in the morning, removed the tires, had them balanced, and reinstalled them a couple hours later. Thanks to Steve and Dan at Auto Turismo in New Milford, CT.

I used my 4 door sedan to shuttle the tires to Auto Turismo to save the cost of fuel. Have you seen the cost of fuel lately!?

Many shops have all their own tire mounting and balancing machines along with a whole host of equipment, and when things go wrong like they did for me this past week, it’s tempting to go out and purchase all the machinery to control stupid mistakes and bad management, but I keep fighting this urge. Thousands of dollars of equipment has to be paid by each job that utilizes the gear and Ferrari work is so limited, it may never pay for the gear. These mistakes happen and my customers look to me to fix them and find solutions. This is a prime example where the lowest level tech in a multi step process can screw it all up. I’ve since had a constructive discussion with the Dealership (after apologizing for blowing a gasket) and we have an understanding on who and how I want my work done in the future.

Rant off!