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A National Company That Changes Tires and Batteries

Today I bring to you my review of a company based on the service I received.  I’d like to think I hold the power of life and death over every company I review.  Therefore, the actual name of the company will not be used.  I’ll just say it was a “national” automotive center that specializes in “tire and battery” work.

It all started Saturday night when I arrived home around midnight.  As I opened my door to exit the vehicle, I noticed my dome light didn’t come on.  I tried activating my headlights to no avail, and when I attempted to start the engine, it would not even turn over.  I knew not to panic because:

a) Panicking would not help

b) I was at home, and not stranded at a run-down mini mall with like 3 flea markets in it.  Those are the worst.

c) I knew how to diagnose the problem, if not fix it.

Leaping into action, I fumbled with my car’s hood for a good 2 minutes before I remembered how to get it open (pull up).  The one thing my dad taught me about cars (other than where to find the phone number for the mechanic) is how to tell if just your battery is dead, or if it’s a sign of something more sinister, like a failing alternator.

Long story short, I used my other car to jump the suspected dead battery car, then removed the jumper cables to see if the engine would continue to power the electrical accessories in the car (headlights, CD player, dome light; I turned everything on inside the car to make sure).  The electrical stuff continued to run, which told me the alternator was not pooping out and deferring to the battery for electrical power.  After speaking to my father the following day, I realized I could/should have taken it a step further by removing the positive battery terminal cable after jumping the car.  This is mitigated only by my running about every accessory in the vehicle, thus negating any charge I could have put into the battery during the jump-start process and would have caused the lights to shut off had the alternator been the culprit.

Hey, I just used the word “culprit” in a sentence.  That’s the word of the day!

Since it was after midnight, I decided not to drive to the evil giant (Wal-Mart) to pick up a brand-new cheap battery and install it myself.  It’s really quite simple; again, my dad showed me a few years ago, the last time my battery went out.

I woke the next morning feeling especially lazy, and so refused to install any power-supplying  devices into any automobile (until further notice).  After doing a little research (names changed to protect the idiotic), I decided that  NBT (National Bire and Tattery) (not a tattoo parlor) would be the best place to which I should take my car.

I promptly jumped my car again and set out on my adventure.  When I parked my car at “NBT”, I did not turn the engine off because of the battery issue.  I walked inside and was greeted by a clerk who apparently has won a competition to see who can look the least interested in customers.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: I need a new battery installed, please.  Mine’s dead.

NBT Guy: Have you had it tested?

Me: Well, my car won’t start, plus I jumped it and removed the cables to rule out the alternator.

NBT Guy (caring even less, if that’s possible): Okay, we’ll take a look at it.  Can I get your keys?

Me: Well, no.  They’re still in the ignition to keep it running because I have a dead battery.  (With an implied “When they bring my car into the service bay, please do not touch it.  You’ll only break it.”

NBT Guy: Oh, yeah.  Good idea.

I knew it was only going to go downhill from here.  I signed a couple papers and took a seat in the waiting area.  Within minutes, the NBT Guy walked over to the waiting area and informed me that the cheapest battery they had would have a cost approximate to this algebraic equation:

2 X (Core Disposal Fee + Auto Zone Battery Cost – Core Recycling Credit) + Labor

The craziest part of all is that it took them an entire hour to replace a car battery.  (Maybe they spent 20 minutes trying to figure out the hood latch.)  They pulled it right in after my discussion with disaffected NBT boy and began work (ha) on it.  So, one hour later, I climb back into my car with less money than expected and a feeling of disillusionment and betrayal.

So, to recap, the cost of replacing a battery from Auto Zone yourself:

$40 + 15 Minutes of Your Life = A Personal Sense of Satisfaction

And now from the “trained technicians” at NBT:

$70 + 60 Minutes of Precious Life That You Can Never Get Back – 3 Cups of Decent Coffee + Putting Up With NBT Employees Who Apparently Don’t Know All That Much About Cars = Kicking Yourself for Not Buying a Cheap Battery From Auto Zone and Installing It Yourself

Given this, it is worth taking 2 minutes to look on the Inernet how to change a car battery, if you don’t know already.  Going to any national tire and battery place will most likely yield unwanted results.  Like Levar Burton said, “You don’t have to take my word for it.

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