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Well, most of you are probably gonna say "Well, duh!" to this, but never, and I mean never take your car to Walmart for anything mechanical! I already knew I wouldn't let them do any actual work on the car, but I got my new wheels & tires on Sunday afternoon, and since they were the only place open I thought "Anybody can change a tire!" Well, apparantly not....

(Flashback Memory Scene)

A few months ago some friends of mine took their car there to get an oil change. They already knew it had a slight head gasket leak (beater car). The "mechanic", came out and told them that he would not do the oil change. When they asked him why he said it was because he did not want to be held responsible if anything was to happen to the car because after he had tasted the oil he was sure that somebody had poured sugar in their oil! Problems with this scenario:

1) Why in the world was he tasting the oil?!?
2) If there was some good reason for doing so, doesn't everybody know that antifreeze tastes sweet, and the easiest way to detect a head gasket leak is antifreeze in the oil?!? (My best friends wife knows this!)
3) Who would pour sugar in the oil?!? The gas tank I've heard of. It's right there on the outside of the car. Easy access. To pour sugar in the oil you have to get to the engine...under the hood...which has to popped...from the inside of the car...which happens to be locked.

(Back To Present Time)

Ok, yes, I knew this story before I went in there. All except for the key tidbit of information. The mechanic's name was Bob. So.... My friend had picked up the wheels for me and was bringing them up. Upon learning that Walmart was the only place open on Sunday, I called her and asked her to drop off 2 of them there (2 were mounted, 2 were not), ask them to mount & balance with sticky weights on the inside, and call me when ready because they had already told me they were so busy it would probably be 2 hours before they even got started on the phone. When she came back here to drop off the other 2 we found that they needed to be balanced as well. She said they told her it would only be 15 minutes and that she saw no other cars in their shop, so we put them in the 'Stang and drove it up there to have them balance all of them and they may as well put them on for me, too. Problems as soon as we arrive. I find out that none of them has ever used sticky weights before, but that hasn't stopped them from trying anyways, learning as they go, on my wheels! Then they tell me, "Well, Bob has done it before and he's the one teaching us." Bob looks like the older, more experienced of the bunch, so I decide to go with it. I asked if they warranteed the balancing and was told that they do not, but for an added cost I could purchase their "lifetime balancing service". After complaining that I was a little less than confident in the practice job being done on my wheels without my permission they decided to give me that upgrade for free. Gee, how nice! Then they ask me, "You did want those directional tires mounted one left and one right, didn't you?" "Of course", was my reply. "Good. That's what I did. I almost killed myself putting them on! Our machine won't work on those wheels without destroying them so we had to do it by hand." A few minutes later they inform me that they did not do that. Both tires were mounted on the left side and they couldn't fix it because they can't take the tires off without the machine. I told them they had to fix it because those were the rear tires and they are larger than the front tires. Suddenly, Bob appears and (literally) tells them that he will "save" them from this predicament. "I'll go punch in and flip it over for you." Ok, so now we're in business. We go into the store to get some things and end up (of course) in the magazine section killing time. A half-hour later they page me. Faster than I expected, but I'm happy to get out of there. As we walk back there we see Bob standing there waiting for us. "That doesn't look good", I said. Sure enough. Bob says, "Did you know those tires are bigger than the other ones?" "Yeah, I told you that already", I said. He answered, "Well, Walmart policy doesn't allow us to install two different sizes on the same vehicle." I stood there stupefied for a moment before asking why. He just repeated the policy to me. I informed him that I've been a mechanic for several years and worked in a few different tire shops. There is no real mechanical reason you can't put bigger rear tires on a strictly rear-wheel drive vehicle. It's not all-wheel drive. It's rear-wheel only. He repeated the policy again and then went on to ask, "Did you know that you have 2 directional tires and 2 aren't?" "Yes", was my reply. Apparantly Walmart policy doesn't allow that, either! He then voided my work order and told me I was out of there. Good thing he didn't ask me to pay for what they had already done! When I got out to my car I found they didn't even balance the other two wheels! The "mechanic" that helped me load them in the car said that after Bob noticed they were different than the others that he wasn't going to touch them. He wouldn't do any more work on my car. Finally, he did something right!

Unbelieveable? Unfortunately that is a 100% non-exaggerated true story! Happened yesterday. Please, let this be a warning. Don't make a mistake in your excitement with new parts! Wait till Monday and find somebody who actually knows what they are doing! I'll be dropping my car off at Kan Rock on my way to work this morning. Should have just done that in the first place!

P.S. The good news is there was some fun had yesterday. In anticipation of putting on new tires, we had some fun first. Long story short...for those of you interested in buying my old wheels advertised with the tires still on them....plan on buying new rear tires! BUT, if you get them at Walmart, you'll have to get all 4 so that they match!