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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I stopped by a Sears auto center as the usual place I took my car to had shut. I just wanted to have the tires rotated, oil changed and for them to check the alignment. I’d love to do all these things myself but I live in an apartment, space is tight and I just don’t have the tools, time or much experience to experiment yet.

Long story short... they say I need two new tie rods, alignment and labor comes out at $289.40. Seems about the same rate as most other places are charging for the same work. Why I took the car in, oil change, wheel rotate and check alignment, while checking the alignment they found they couldn’t as the rods need replaced so swapped the wheels around anyway.

Now when I drive I hear a clunk/rattle.. like two bits of metal tapping on each other from the vibrations of the road. I also hear a constant tick, tick, tick while at speed. The car pulls to the right quite a bit as well. I’ve never had these issues before I took the car in. I don’t as safe as I did before I took it in driving at speeds over 40mph. I’m being cautious and thinking is this related to swapping the wheels and checking the rods or is this a make it tick and pull a bit more to get em back for more business? They did mention one of the tires was quite worn on one side which is true as I replaced a torn tire with a used tire on the back right which should now be up the front right.

Anyone had any experience with Sears? My soon to be former wife took her car there before never had a problem with it. I’ve read good and bad reports online about Sears.
 

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Tell you what. If you want to check to see if your tie rods are really bad, jack the front of your car up. grab both sides of one of your wheels and shake it back and forth. If it feels like it has play in it, the outer tie rod end is bad. Do the same thing on the other side. Also grab the top and bottom of your wheel and preform the same check the ball joints. Then pop your hood and visually inspect the tops of the strut mounts for large cracks.

Take note that none of these are likely problems that sears auto center caused. You are probably just more aware of the problems now that you know they exist.

If you are mechanically inclined, you can change tie rod ends easily yourself.

You just need to take off the retainer nut from the top of it. Then using a fork you push the tie rod end out. You can also do it with a hammer, but it will be more difficult. Basically though the easiest way is to use your fork or whatever tool you have to wedge it apart, and drive it in over the boot on the tie rod. Hit the fork with a hammer till it comes off.

Now you unscrew the locknut on the tierod end. Then you unscrew the tie rod end from the tie rod, being careful to count the number of rotations you make unscrewing it.

Installation of the new tie rod end is the reverse of the removal procedure. Put the new tie rod end on the shaft, and screw it on the same number of turns you removed the old one. Tighten the lock nut. Insert the threaded side of the tie rod end into the same spot as your old one was, and tighten the retainer nut to seat it.

I dont remember if that nut on the top is a castle nut on these cars and there is a cotter pin, but yeah, do all that too.

Anyways, you will save yourself about 100 bucks doing that yourself. Then you just need good tires on your car to get an alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
escortrestorer said:
Tell you what. If you want to check to see if your tie rods are really bad, jack the front of your car up. grab both sides of one of your wheels and shake it back and forth. If it feels like it has play in it, the outer tie rod end is bad. Do the same thing on the other side. Also grab the top and bottom of your wheel and preform the same check the ball joints. Then pop your hood and visually inspect the tops of the strut mounts for large cracks.

Take note that none of these are likely problems that sears auto center caused. You are probably just more aware of the problems now that you know they exist.

If you are mechanically inclined, you can change tie rod ends easily yourself.

You just need to take off the retainer nut from the top of it. Then using a fork you push the tie rod end out. You can also do it with a hammer, but it will be more difficult. Basically though the easiest way is to use your fork or whatever tool you have to wedge it apart, and drive it in over the boot on the tie rod. Hit the fork with a hammer till it comes off.

Now you unscrew the locknut on the tierod end. Then you unscrew the tie rod end from the tie rod, being careful to count the number of rotations you make unscrewing it.

Installation of the new tie rod end is the reverse of the removal procedure. Put the new tie rod end on the shaft, and screw it on the same number of turns you removed the old one. Tighten the lock nut. Insert the threaded side of the tie rod end into the same spot as your old one was, and tighten the retainer nut to seat it.

I dont remember if that nut on the top is a castle nut on these cars and there is a cotter pin, but yeah, do all that too.

Anyways, you will save yourself about 100 bucks doing that yourself. Then you just need good tires on your car to get an alignment.
I've no doubt the tie rods need replaced as they do explain most of the minor issues I've had before. I was just worried the sales people at Sears got a cut for each job they did! The sounds are new that I'm hearing I've been keeping check on this car for any odd sounds as I plan on selling it soon. These sounds popped up after I had the car in at Sears... Maybe the did something or something came lose when they swamped the wheels.

I'm sure I wouldn't have a problem doing it myself, if I had a second car to take to work it I'd happily do it but this is it. No car no work no work no food! 8O
 

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So take it back to sears and when you get there walk around to see if they same guy is working if not. Explain the situation and be discrete on your details, don’t accuse them of tampering with your vehicle. Just be like I brought the vehicle in and now im hearing some odd noises I wasn’t hearing before and that the car feels like its pulling in whatever direction. They should relook at it for no cost and might just fix it for free. depending on the situation.

If they say nothing is wrong and you still think there is.. Take it somewhere else and never go back.

I personally have never taken any of my vehicles to Sears to be worked on.
But i have had a similar experiance with Less Schwab and will never take a vehicle back there nor will i ever refer anyone there again.
 

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im glad I never have to pay people to work on my car.

+1 take the car back to sears and tell the tech you have noticed a new issue since having it in. Don't get confrontational, but do make it clear that these issues are new since the service was performed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, yes that's what I plan on doing in as nice a way as possible. I'm thinking they swapped around the tires looked at the rods checked for alignment and who knows... something that was just hanging on in there weakened a bit more or came away. I'll explain let them check it while doing the rods. If I leave and it's still not right I'll go back and have them correct it without me paying anymore.. they refuse I'll complain never go near Sears again. I'll be glad when I can finally buy a house with a garage I think I might just get another Escort just to figure out what makes it tick! lol I'm hardly a mechanic but I'd like to learn as much as I can as I hate to pay for something I could do myself.

I know how you feel about paying for something you could do yourself.. only it's computers for me I know there are plenty of decent people out there that work on them and the odd one here and there that prey on people.
 
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