RALEIGH, NC - Kathy Huckabee thought it would be a quick trip to National Tire & Battery in Raleigh on Duraleigh Road to get her car inspected.
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Instead, it left her with many questions.
She says she drove into NTB with no problems with her car, but during the inspection, she was told the battery is bad.
"He says, 'yeah we put it on the computer and it failed, you really need a new battery,' and I said, 'well it's a brand new battery,'" Kathy said.
During the battery test at NTB, the voltage read 10.72V and the CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) didn't measure anything. According to the battery test, the battery failed to meet industry standards.
Besides a problem with her battery, Kathy says the technician with NTB told her that her car failed inspection as there was a problem with her power steering.
"The power steering pump was cracked, and that was leaking, and they made it sound like it was leaking profusely and there wasn't any fluid in the system," she recalled.
To fix the powering steering problem and install a new battery, the estimate from NTB was more than $700.
Kathy declined the repairs; her car failed inspection, she paid the $23.75 for the labor on the inspection and drove home.
Her husband took the car to Advance Auto Parts, and the same battery tested as a good battery, with the reading that the battery meets or exceeds industry specifications. During the battery test, it measures at 12.73 volts and 783 cold cranking amps.
Kathy says her husband went back to NTB to discuss the two different readings with the manager.
"I would just like to show you the two readings we received," Kathy recounted. "The one from you with the battery and the one we received from Advanced and he refused to come from behind the counter, and he asked my husband to leave."
Kathy says she also called the NTB that she went to and talked with the manager. She claims he hung up on her.
"At that point, I was furious," Kathy said. "And you feel helpless because where do you go from there?"
Since this was the Saturday of the New Year's Eve holiday weekend, Kathy says she had to wait until Tuesday to take it to a different shop for an inspection.
On Tuesday, Jan. 2, Kathy took her car to a shop that has worked on her Saab once before that she says is known for working on Saab's.
"He told me point blank there is absolutely nothing wrong with your power steering," she said. "There was no reason whatsoever that it should've failed for that."
Kathy's Saab passed inspection, and she took her message to social media.
Kathy also told me her story, and I reached out to NTB. No one from NTB would talk with me on the phone, but I was emailed this statement:
"NTB Tire and Service Centers is known as a trusted name in the automotive aftermarket for providing a broad range of automotive maintenance and tire services. We pride ourselves in working with consumers to determine appropriate services for their vehicles and ultimately developing relationships that can last a lifetime.
Local leadership is working to determine all of the facts to best assist. The customer relations team contacted the customer immediately after receiving notification and is eager to assist the customer."
Kathy says she did receive two calls from NTB and they emphasized they would like to regain her trust as a customer and they would do what they could to get to the root of the problem.
She said she was also told if she wants to come back as an NTB customer they will meet her at the shop to make sure she is taken care of.
Kathy says she will consider it, but in the meantime, Kathy says she is filing a complaint with the NC DMV License and Theft Bureau. They do inspect shops that perform vehicle inspections.
The best advice if you are getting your car inspected or checked out for possible repairs, always ask to see the problem you're told you have and ask for written documentation of it.
If you are not comfortable with the suggested repairs, get a second opinion.