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From A to Ziegler

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From A to Ziegler

Driving 4,000 miles to the Grand Canyon and back in a 30-foot RV has the makings of a memorable trip. Karen Bethel wanted to make sure the memories were good ones.

So she took her vehicle in for service, first to the recreational vehicle dealership to fix the roof and change the oil.

“That’s when they told me the tires needed to be replaced because of dry rot, which I understand is common for motor homes when you are not using them eight or nine months a year,” she said.

The RV dealership checks and adjusts air pressure as part of its service, but doesn’t sell tires. Bethel called a Ziegler Tire dealership in nearby Canton, Ohio, for help.

The combination retail-commercial dealership had two 53-foot bays and an alignment pit designed for large vehicles. She decided to take the vehicle in for tires after talking with Retail Service Manager Scott Schwab.

“He just explained what happens to the tires and the different tires available to me,” she said. “And he was very nice when I showed up.”

According to a recent automotive service satisfaction survey by “Consumer Reports,” 30% of the female respondents who had stopped using a repair shop said they felt the staff tried to take advantage of them because of their gender. Bethel said just the opposite about the Ziegler Tire staff.

The RV was new in 2004 and had 14,000 miles on it. The six original equipment tires that needed to be replaced were Michelin LTX M/S radials, size LT225/75R16, 10-ply. They were manufactured in the ninth week of 2004.

“Holy mackerel, that’s the worst dry rot I’ve ever seen,” said Schwab as he inspected the tires. (For the record, Commercial Service Manager Mike Randolph said he had seen worse.)

Schwab said the tires would have been “a ticking time bomb” had they been driven in the heat out West. The casings would have gotten hot, and with the dry rot, he thought the sidewalls would have zippered.

The full spare, which was stored under the RV, was deemed fit by Ziegler Tire.

Ren Kamph, the tire tech who replaced the tires, said he once worked on a motor coach that had been kept out of the sun. The seven-year-old tires showed no signs of dry rot or wear.

According to Schwab, Ziegler Tire uses the same undercar service checklist for RVs that it uses for passenger cars and light trucks (see page 44).  The free inspection was performed while the RV was being aligned.

The technicians also looked under the hood to make sure the battery, filters, fluids, belts and hoses were in order. The brakes were checked while the tires were being mounted. Accessories such as wiper blades also were examined.

Schwab gave Bethel two tire recommendations: the Michelin LTX M/S or the Firestone Transforce HT. The price difference was $61 a tire, or $366 for six tires. Bethel chose the Michelins because she liked the ride of the OE tires.

“He said, ‘You’re driving 4,000 miles. If you like how it rode with the Michelins, that’s what you should get.’”

Bethel added she was satisfied with the overall experience, even the price. The out-the-door cost for the six tires, including valve stems and mounting and balancing, was $1,498.12. The alignment was an additional $63.75.    ■

Independent retail tire dealership profile

Did you know that 21% of all independent retail tire dealers have a “perfect” technician rating? One hundred percent of their techs are ASE-certified.

•  Average number of techs per outlet: 5

•  Average number of service bays per outlet: 7

•  Average annual income, entry-level tech: $27,425

•  Outlets that offer alignment service: 87.2%

•  Average ticket price/alignment job: $80.45

•  Average number of alignment jobs/month: 67

•  Outlets that offer mounting/balancing: 95.3%

•  Outlets that offer oil/lube service: 94.6%

•  Outlets that sell windshield wipers: 92.6%

Source: 2012 Modern Tire Dealer Automotive Service Survey


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